Sunday, April 2, 2017

How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend Vol. #04 Manga Review

Let's find our happiness together!

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:
Game script aside, Aki's dating sim is getting nowhere. And in a fix like this, who has time to think about stuff like background music?!!! With the finished product but a dream, the usual chaos continues. But when Aki's beautiful runaway cousin, the guitarist Michiru Hyoudou, suddenly joins the fray, the surprise appearance of a new rival forcing her way into Aki's life throws the other girls for a loop! Is she the solution to the game's soundtrack troubles? Or will Aki's otaku tendencies send her running for the hills?

The Review:
Content: (Please note that the content portion of the review may contain spoilers)
Considering that volume three of "How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend" was [in my opinion] a masterpiece in terms of both quality and content, volume four has a lot to live up to. But considering Saekano has yet to let me down (In both the animation and the manga), I'm sure it will be able to manage. Now that our circle has been established and named [Blessing Software], there is plenty of work that needs to be done if the team is going to make it to Winter Comiket. But there's one thing that Tomoya has overlooked in terms of development -- the music. Luckily for him, he has yet another chance encounter with a beautiful girl that will go on to shape his future. This time, it's his own cousin, Michiru Hyoudo.

Michiru is the kind of girl that can never stand still. For as long as Tomoya has known her, she's been swapping back and forth between different clubs and groups of friends. That said, when she announces her latest passion of becoming a musician, our protagonist is a bit dismissive -- until he hears her play. There is something about Michiru's music that instils a sense of nostalgia in Tomoya. And this feeling is something that he isn't just going to let slip away. From this point on, he is dead set on getting her to join the circle. The only problem is that she has an immense distaste for otaku culture and the anime community as a whole. This, meshed with the fact that she's totally hiding some feelings for Tomoya, sparks quite an interesting development in a group of girls that all want to jump on the same main character.

It's clear that Kasumigaoka and Eriri dislike Michiru. I mean, she's the ultimate childhood friend. Not only is she a blood relative of Tomoya, but they were literally born in the same exact hospital on the same exact day. And is if this wasn't a sign of fate itself, they've even started living together after Michiru ran away from home. However, Michiru has made it clear that she has no intention of joining the circle and, instead, wants Tomoya to become the manager of her band. And, after consulting with the heroine of his game, Tomoya decides to do just that. Of course, he has a bit of an ulterior motive in doing so. That motive winds up being fed and nourished as soon as he discovers exactly what kind of band Michiru has joined up with.

As it turns out, Michiru has somehow managed to get herself wrapped up in an anime cover band. Her band members, however, had been hiding this from her, knowing well her disposition toward the culture. But after Tomoya books them a show at a cosplay club in Akihabara, the truth comes pouring out. Michiru, not wanting to throw aside her new friends and her cousin, plays the show and comes to terms with otaku-dom not being all that weird after all. Now, Tomoya should have a much easier time in getting her to join up with Blessing Software.

In Summary:
This volume, while offering a bit less in terms of content compared to the ones preceding it, still has plenty to offer in terms of quality and comedy. I've said it before and I'll say it again -- How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend is one of the underrated and overlooked franchises on the market. We're four volumes in now and I still do not have one complaint about the series. Not only are each of the heroines absolutely lovable in their own, unique ways, but we have a protagonist literally created to tailor to each and every one of us hardcore otakus out there while [somehow] managing to not look pathetic or hopeless. Tomoya is simply just a guy dead-set on doing what he loves. That relatable passion combined with next-level artwork blend together to formulate one of the most clear-cut, hilarious slice of life series to date. 

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

Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 25, 2016
MSRP: $12.99

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