Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend Vol. #02 Manga Review

Say, Katou...Wanna go on a date?

Creative Staff:
Original Story: Fumiaki Maruto
Art: Takeshi Moriki
Character Design: Kurehito Misaki
Translation: Kumar Sivasubramanian
Translation Consultant: Chitoku Teshima
Lettering: Phil Christie

What They Say:
Aspiring visual-novel game designer Aki Tomoya thinks he's just met his dream girl, but reality comes crashing down when he finds out that this girl is none other than his beautiful but boring classmate Megumi Kato! Fueled by a desire to make Megumi the heroine of his dating sim game, he recruits two more beauties - Eriri, his artistic childhood friend, and Utaha, a genius writing prodigy - to form Blessing Software. The road to making a dating sim game is full of fun and romance - especially when life begins to imitate art!

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Things rarely go as planned when it comes to developing video games. That being said, developing a game without an idea of the story or even the characters seems virtually impossible. Despite the odds not being in his favor, Tomoya Aki is not planning on giving up. In the last volume, we witnessed Tomoya attempt to recruit three different girls for his doujin-game circle -- Kasumigaoka Utaha (The writer), Eriri Spencer (The artist), and Megumi Katou (The heroine). While Utaha and Eriri are both phenomenal at their respective jobs, Katou is...a bit off. As we uncovered in volume one, she's essentially the most average girl ever. In volume two...she is exactly the same.

Considering that no one (As of yet) has officially signed on to make Tomoya's game, this volume begins with the continuation of his proposal from the last issue. As it turns out, the project proposal is absolute garbage. But what do you expect when you have no idea what you're even trying to make a game about? Katou, even though she is entirely average on all fronts, remains supportive of Tomoya when the other girls do not. So when Katou leaves town for the weekend, Tomoya is left all alone with no one and nothing to keep him company other than the proposal- which he needs to start from scratch. After spending a solid five days in bed and having a grand total of zero ideas come to him, Tomoya is ready to give up. However, just before he pulls the plug, he remembers Katou and his desire to turn her into a mesmerizing heroin. So...he envisions a fake conversation between himself and her that winds up transforming her average persona into a moe dream girl. Proposal: complete.

Surprisingly enough, the proposal is actually accepted by Utaha and Eriri this time around. Unfortunately for Tomoya, this means he needs to take on another job in order to fund the project. After starting at some restaurant, one thing leads to another and Katou walks in with ANOTHER MAN. Gasp. Oh, wait, nevermind. It's just her cousin. Of course, Tomoya isn't cool with that at all (Which is made evident by a short onii-chan anecdote) and makes sure Katou is aware of that. In fact, he even goes as far as making her cancel her plans with her cousin to visit the grand opening of a new mall so that he can go instead. But, instead of accompanying little miss average to said mall, Tomoya gets sick and stays at home in bed -- only to be visited by Utaha and Eriri. It is at this point that the two officially sign on to the project. Hooray, everything is finally moving along.

Eventually, Tomoya works up the courage to accompany Katou to the mall, albeit just to ensure that she becomes heroin material. Not fully appreciating the wonders of the real world, Tomoya grows anxious quickly and seeks refuge at a table in the central food court. Katou, being the average (Yet adorable and caring) girl she is, asks if Tomoya would rather just go home and try some other time. This winds up igniting a spark somewhere inside him and sends him into Comiket mode as he asks Katou to circle everything she wants to do so that he can properly lead her through the masses. I feel you, Tomoya. I get it. After they finally reach every store on Katou's list, the two migrate back to the central court, where Tomoya confesses that he must leave Katou behind because he has...something to do? And that something involves Utaha? Gasp.

In Summary:
How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend remains one of the most well-executed manga series currently out with this installment. With some of the cleanest artwork and exponentially more words per page than an average manga, there is never a dull moment in this series. It's exciting seeing how much Katou is growing already and, it hurts me to say this, but she might even be my favorite girl in the manga (Which is a huge thing for me to say considering how much I loved Eriri in the animated series). Regardless, I continue to urge anyone and everyone on to this series. It's relatable, it's funny, it's incredibly well drawn, and each character seems like their dialogue was written by an entirely different person. This manga is overflowing with life and would be a shame to keep off your read-list.

Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A+

Age Rating: 14+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: April 26, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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