- Mangaka : Hiranishi Mieri
- Publisher : Viz Media
- Genre : Romance, Slice of Life, Yuri
- Published : February 2023
Real life isn’t like the movies—or, in this case, like shojo manga.
In real life, the story doesn’t cut to black after a passionate confession beneath fireworks. Relationships are complicated and messy affairs, a give-and-take situation that isn’t always balanced. When a relationship is going well, we can’t possibly imagine it ending—nor could we imagine the emotional damage it would cause.
Hiranishi Mieri’s autobiographical manga, Kanojo ga Dekinai Onna (The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend) is hilarious, self-deprecating, moving, and heartbreaking. From humble origins as a webtoon posted online as a form of self-therapy, Hiranishi’s brutal honesty and her engagement online through both Twitter and YouTube connected her experiences with a wide audience who understood exactly how she felt.
Now coming in a beautiful 200-page standalone volume, The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend spans a wide range of emotions—from the highs of new love to the crushing lows of break-ups, and the growth that comes after your toughest moments.
Join us today on Honey’s Anime as we review The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend!
We follow Mieri—self-professed otaku—throughout her college years and all the way to graduation. This is a transformative time that takes our nerdy girl from “forever alone” status to getting the androgynous girlfriend of her dreams. After struggling to find a partner in the U.S., a trip back to her homeland of Japan results in finding Ash—a butch girl who’s almost too perfect!
Determined to live up to Ash’s beauty and the standards that Mieri has placed on herself, she begins changing and improving herself little by little. From first dates to awkward hand-holding, Hiranishi’s story weaves together the squishiest and most awkward parts of new relationships with a comedic skill that often had us laughing.
Unfortunately, as mentioned earlier, real life isn’t the perfect romance—and when Mieri moves back to the U.S., it sets off a break-up that’ll take four years to overcome. Anyone who’s suffered a breakup—particularly one that you feel was one-sided—will know the emotional and physical pain that Mieri goes through.
It’s here that Hiranishi’s autobiography truly excels—the unbridled, raw truth that comes from somebody telling their own story. Fictional characters always exist beyond a veil, like actors on a stage—we empathize with them, but we understand they’re a construct. The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend reads like an illustrated diary, bringing out the lowest parts of Mieri’s journey, before building her back up again in a beautiful and motivational finale.
1. The Reality of Queer Relationships
We’ve seen more LGBT+ stories in manga and light novels in the past few years, but there’s something extra-special about having real people tell their own stories. From dodgy dating experiences on Tinder to the various ‘common’ pairings of lesbian archetypes, The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend is refreshingly honest.
It’s important that we have all types of queer narratives available to help readers find themselves in the pages, and Hiranishi’s exploration from clueless virgin to heartbroken mangaka is just as important as any fictional coupling.
2. Love Sucks—But You Don’t!
If it’s not obvious by now, The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend isn’t a terribly happy tale. It’s funny and raw, but Mieri’s experience from first love, to heartbreak, and finally to self-acceptance, is heart-wrenching and oftentimes bitter. And we absolutely adored that!
A crucial part of Hiranishi’s self-examination is realizing that changing yourself for another person is the worst possible way of approaching a relationship. Mieri’s story reminds us that life is big and complicated, and that ultimately, only you can figure out how to live your best life!
Relationships aren’t always perfect, and The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend teaches us an important lesson about embracing the best parts of ourselves and knowing that love is only a small part of life—one that should enhance our lives, not make us miserable.
It’s possible to be a successful manga artist living your best life without having a partner—and if that right person comes along, you’ll be better placed than ever to accept romance, lumps and bumps included!
Are you going to read The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thanks for reading!