So this anime was pretty self-aware in a smart funny way, which is why I was able to watch the entire thing. Ecchi isn’t really the anime genre I like to frequent because it’s generally full of holes and annoying fanservice that serves little purpose beyond pure fanservice. Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend was completely aware of the industry’s flaws and poked fun at them in a brilliant way.
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata
Harem | Comedy | Otaku Culture | Ecchi
Winter 2015 | 13 Episodes | PG-13
In Seakano, a famous otaku high school blogger, Tomoya Aki, has an inspiring moment between himself and a distant girl which inspires him so much that he decides to make his own dating sims game, his heroine inspired off the girl. Aki-kun hounds the talent at his school to help him out: A famous writer who happens to be top student, and his childhood friend, a talented artist. He even meets the girl, and despite her being virtually invisible, he enlists her to help out as well. With their begrudging help, Aki-kun sets out to make the best gal-game on the otaku market.
Saekano was quite good. The first half the series focused solely on building plot momentum and character dynamics, with zero fanservice. It was very refreshing. I really appreciated getting to meet the female cast that way. While Aki-kun was a bit of an d*ck, I really liked his character as he seemed genuinely driven to make his inspiration come to life.
I have only one complaint when it comes to the characters, and it’s that we met Aki-kun’s cousin too late in the series (and when she was, her personality/interests where nearly smothered by the blatant fanservice she exuded.) For being featured so heavily in the opening, she was barely in the series; a shame, because I really liked her guitar music and purple hair style!
Sadly about half way through the season, the fanservice slowly made its way back into the story, going to extreme levels during the final episodes when Aki-kun’s cousin was introduced. Even though some of it was used in a metaphorical way, some of it was just too much. It leaves an overall stain at the end of the series that I wish wasn’t there.
Even if the fanservice got heavy at the end, I still really enjoyed the entire series! Since the story didn’t fully resolve at the end (and the final moments had hints) I’m really hoping for a sequel. I would love to see more of these girls and Aki-Kun! EDIT: Saekano is getting a second season! Hooray!
I really liked the plain and nearly invisible Megumi Kato–she’s my favorite of the girls. She accidentally inspired the idea of game by simply loosing her hat. Aki-kun is blown away that such a boring person had inspired such a vivid heroine in his mind–whether he can see it or not, Kato is a complete gem.
While she seems a bit bland (even her facial expressions and voice range seems limited!) she’s very sweet and wishes to be helpful to the project, even without special skills. While the other girls have more personality, she’s the best girl of the show for me.
The humor in this series was incredibly meta, which made the harem/creating a game elements very enjoyable to watch. The girls, most of them experts in story building and character development, would often chide Aki-kun’s actual narration of the show, nearly aware that they’re in an anime themselves! There was some fun commentary the work of creators, as well some poking fun at the overused tropes and story elements overused in manga, anime, gal-games, and stories in general.
The humor was definitely the highlight of the show. It especially sharp during the first half when there was less fanservice to distract from the smart dialogue.
On an overall scale, I really enjoyed Saekano, even though it wasn’t perfect. I wish there hadn’t been so much fanservice at the end, but the meta humor and fun character interactions of the first two-thirds of the show was definitely worth watching! I’ll happily watch the another season, if it would please get made!
Star Value: 4/5 | Re-Watchabiliity: Medium | Definition: Let’s Make a Gal-Game, Gals!