This summer season we’ve been gifted with an interesting romantic comedy! Kanojo mo Kanojo (Girlfriend, Girlfriend) is a wacky series that may be one of the few anime featuring a non-monogamous main couple, so there’s a lot of exciting things that this show could do; however, so far into the series, we’re not watching this show to get something serious or particularly dramatic, but a ridiculous slice of life that would best be watched after a long week at work doing serious things. The characters are all off the rails in some way, and it’s not going to really impress you with plot, but let’s get into the nitty-gritty aspects of Girlfriend, Girlfriend.
The story of Kanojo mo Kanojo is about a high school couple, Naoya and Saki, who grew up as childhood friends and next-door neighbours. While Saki initially rejected Naoya’s confessions of love, she eventually fell in love with him too and they became a couple. As a result, Naoya is incredibly earnest when it comes to Saki’s happiness in their relationship and can get into his own head about it too. For a long time, Naoya is seen as the reacher in their relationship, forever striving to gain Saki’s attention or affection. Saki herself seems to be fully secure in their relationship, until their junior Minase Nagisa confesses her romantic feelings for Naoya. While this would be a pretty simple situation to resolve for Naoya, he’s caught in a bit of a bind when she tells him that she doesn’t even mind that he has a girlfriend. He finds himself so charmed by her that he can’t bring himself to reject her. Naoya feels obligated to respond to Nagisa’s earnest confession in kind, coming up with a simple solution - he’ll just date them both!
Naoya, wanting to sincerely and earnestly respond to Nagisa’s sincere and earnest confession of love, decides that he can’t reject Nagisa’s confession, nor can he bring himself to break up with Saki because he loves her, so he decides to go down another route. However, he has to talk to Saki first and knowing his girlfriend, Naoya is aware that this isn’t going to be a simple conversation! However, Saki, upon meeting Nagisa, finds herself charmed by the younger girl and reluctantly accepts Naoya’s proposal for them to figure out being in a relationship with her too. Things get wackier when Naoya tells them that he thinks it would be best for their relationship if they lived together, and he very conveniently lives alone because his parents work away from home. So by the end of the first episode, two things have happened: 1) A confession, and 2) A non-monogamous anime relationship!
Kanojo mo Kanojo is focused on the now overlapping lives of three characters - Naoya, Saki and Nagisa.
The show’s protagonist and resident lover boy, Mukai Naoya, has been in love with his girlfriend, neighbour and childhood friend Saki for years! After all this time, Naoya gets to date his childhood crush, but things get messy when a younger girl confesses her romantic feelings for him and he finds himself attracted to her too! He’s shown to be a straight-laced guy with an outgoing personality. He is also completely straightforward, saying what is on his mind and expressing his feelings no matter the situation. While the show positions him as someone who is a bit selfish because he asked his girlfriend if it would be alright for him to take on another girlfriend, Naoya is also shown as someone who tries his best to take responsibility for the things that he does. He’s also committed to making sure that both of his girlfriends are happy, but he can be very, very stupid at times.
Saki is Naoya’s childhood friend, neighbour and crush. He has been in love with her for years, but she only began seeing him that way a lot more recently. She’s incredibly emotional, and while she seems like she has everything together when she’s at school, Saki can be extremely insecure. At first, she has qualms about how expressive Naoya can be of his love for her, sometimes going as far as unknowingly embarrassing her in public. When she, Naoya and Nagisa move in together, Saki gets particularly worried that Nagisa and Naoya’s relationship would progress and come to eclipse her own relationship with him.
Adorable, sweet and very much in love with Naoya, Nagisa is a curveball in Naoya and Saki’s relationship. She is everything Saki is not, and that adds another dimension to Saki’s insecurity regarding their relationship configuration. Nagisa approaches Naoya knowing that he has a relationship that he would never give up, so she is aware that she could be rejected. However, she is surprised when Naoya accepts her confession and is fully okay with being “the other woman” or someone with a relationship that is peripheral to Naoya’s relationship with Saki. She wants nothing more than to have a relationship with Naoya, and will accept various aspects of his own life even if they complicate things for her too. She’s so nice that even Saki finds herself falling in love with her.
Not Great, But Not Awful Either
If you were looking for a serious depiction of a non-monogamous relationship in anime, this anime is not that. Kanojo x Kanojo is here for the banter! It leans pretty well into being for gags and exploring the various joys and challenges of being in a non-monogamous relationship. The humour is light and fun but can sometimes be rather derisive of the relationship structure and heavy on the shaming of Naoya for even suggesting such a thing. This particular relationship configuration is not one we typically get in romance anime, so it is really interesting that it decided to go that way. However, perhaps we might get a more positive understanding of the relationship in the show as it progresses, and there have already been some very wholesome moments.
This includes the friendship that develops between Saki and Nagisa, as well as the times when both Naoya and Saki opt to spend their lunch times at school with Saki, instead of allowing her to eat somewhere in a corner by herself because she doesn’t want to make things difficult for the two of them in the court of public opinion. It’s cool that everybody in the relationship is desperate for it to work out in their own ways, not to mention that there isn’t a weird rivalry between Naoya’s girlfriends. The show has an interesting thing going, but it doesn’t seem like it’s going to take things very far, opting to give us as many wild jokes and funny misunderstandings as we can get.
In between these wholesome moments, this show just loves getting away with some… inappropriate things. We’re not talking full-blown ecchi here, but loads of zettai ryoiki, suspect camera shots and of course, the infamous breast grab. Speaking of breasts, the characters talk about them quite a lot in this show, with the age-old trope of characters with smaller breasts feeling particularly insecure around their bustier friends (insert anime moo noises here). This stuff is tossed into the salad that is this show for laughs, but we already get loads of physical humour from the show, so it can just detract from the show a little bit.
Oh, So Like, Every Harem Ever?
Naturally, if you’re someone who’s familiar with anime, you’re well aware that it falls into the same old habits. While this was initially about a guy dating two girls, by the time we get to episode 4, it throws that premise out of the window when the “MeTuber” Milika finds them eating together in gym storage and quickly puts 2 and 2 together (with loads of help from Naoya). With Minase’s wit, they quickly unravel MIlika’s celebrity secret, prompting her to claim that she’ll be one of Naoya’s girlfriends too to ensure that each party’s secret is kept. He promptly rejects her, but that only makes her more adamant to force herself into the relationship, hence creating a situation where this romantic slice of life comedy is going to become a harem, as we expected.
Girlfriend, Girlfriend is an anime that looks like it could be a lot of fun and a great title to catch after a hectic week. The characters are straight-forward and fun, especially Saki who is voiced by the mega-talent Sakura Ayane in the subbed version. This show isn’t trying to be deep or meaningful, but it is trying to be funny and wacky, which are things it can do pretty well. We recommend Girlfriend, Girlfriend to anime fans who enjoy a comedy that doesn’t mind getting outlandish to get a laugh out of the audience. It isn’t perfect, but Girlfriend, Girlfriend can be really enjoyable if you’re not too caught up in finding something serious. We’re definitely going to see it through, how about you? Drop a comment below and tell us what you think of Girlfriend, Girlfriend!