Saekano

Saekano

Saekano anime cover art featuring Eriri, Utaha, Michiru, Megumi, and Tomoya
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Cover Art

Overview

I just watched through the second season of Saekano yesterday, so that’s what we’re going to be looking at today. The first season, however, I originally watched maybe 6-12 months ago; I don’t remember how long ago exactly.

The general plot of this anime is that the characters are all part of a school club through which they are creating a dating simulation video game (think Doki Doki Literature Club if it stayed normal throughout). There’s a programmer, a writer, an artist, a musician, and of course, a model for the main heroine of the game.

While in the first season there is extensive work done on the game the characters are making, the main focus is on collecting all the right people for the job. If I remember correctly, the final character is introduced with only one or two episodes left in the season.

The second season is where the series really hits its stride. All of the main characters have been fully introduced at this point and the focus shifts from introducing them, to the interactions between them; not that this wasn’t in the first season at all. The second season also sees the completion of the game the characters have been working on for the past six months.

Besides the two seasons, there are also two bonus episodes; one for each season. These bonus episodes, however, are simply fan service episodes and add nothing to the plot or character development whatsoever. The first is a trip to a hot springs hotel and the second is a trip to a hotel pool.


Characters

Tomoya Aki is the protagonist of the series. He’s an Otaku who is obsessed with manga, anime, light novels, and dating sim games. Creating the game the rest of the characters are working on was his idea and he was the one who brought all of the other characters together to form the club.

As the leader of the club and the one who came up with the idea to make the game, Tomoya serves as both the director/producer of the game as well as the programmer.

Eriri Spencer Sawamura is the artist for the game. She’s Tomoya’s childhood friend who secretly works as an adult manga artist. Eriri is the classic tsundere type character, complete with blond twin tails for added effect.

Utaha Kasumigaoka is the author of the script for the game being made. She is already a professional author who has released several light novels, but puts her work as an author on hold so she can help write for the game. Her character type is the older student who serves as a romantic rival for Eriri by using her looks.

Michiru Hyodo is Tomoya’s cousin who is part of a school band. She is convinced to write the music for the game although she does not have anything to do with the Otaku world and finds it weird. Eriri dislikes Michiru because Michiru has known Tomoya for longer, and Eriri’s whole identity is “the childhood friend.”

While not actually a member of the team creating the game (yet), one other character is Izumi Hashima. She serves as a rival to Eriri as well because she is also a childhood friend of Tomoya’s, although from not as far back. She is also an artist who wants to compete with Eriri. Izumi’s character type is the little sister even though she isn’t actually related to Tomoya.

Finally, I saved the best for last, we have Megumi Kato. Megumi (you can tell she’s the best character by her name) is the model for the main heroine of the game being created. She also serves as the assistant producer for the game since there isn’t really anything else she can do to help.

Even though Megumi is the model for the main heroine, she has a distinct lack of both personality and presence, which is the opposite of what is needed for the main heroine. The job for the rest of the team is to sculpt Megumi into the character needed for the game.

Unlike the rest of the characters in the series, Megumi doesn’t follow a standard character trope. However, this actually works in her advantage as she’s the best character in the whole show. Who knew that by not turning a female character into an easily replicable trope, you could actually make a good, realistic, character?

While the rest of the characters have some trait that serves as their main source of appeal, Megumi’s lack of this defining trait is actually what makes her so appealing. She just acts like a regular person instead of a character.

I’m also a fan of her usual lack of enthusiasm and flat responses because they contrast well with the few times she actually shows emotion.

Megumi Kato (from the anime Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend)
Megumi Kato

Conclusion

After watching the first season, I had rated it a 7, and even after watching both specials, I rated those as 7 too. However, the second season did such a good job of building on what came before it that I ended up giving it a 9/10 and this is the rating I’m going to give the series as a whole.

The characters continue to be built upon and become more complex as the series goes on and their interactions with each other become a central focus of the series. While there is a plot going throughout the whole series, it almost becomes like a good slice of life in which plot isn’t necessary simply because the characters and their interactions are so well written.

The ending of season two included a setup for a third season and I’m very much looking forward to that. I’m not expecting the third season to become a 10, but I have high expectations for it and would be surprised if it’s below an 8.

I couldn’t find a good version of either OP for this anime, so instead I have the character song for Megumi Kato available here.

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