Follow TV Tropes

Following

Light Novel / How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend
aka: Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/457139306031f5ba6f73fa85ea380fb0.jpg
Advertisement:

One day, an otaku high school student Tomoya Aki has a fateful encounter with a girl. This meeting inspires Tomoya to design his very own “gal-game” featuring a heroine modeled after the girl he saw. In order to make his desire a reality, Tomoya must persuade a few eccentric “creators” such as the ace member of the art club, Eriri Spencer Sawamura, and the school’s top student, Utaha Kasumigaoka, to join his development team. Meanwhile, Tomoya is shocked to learn that the girl he idolized as his muse for this whole project was none other than his boring classmate, Megumi Kato!

Originally titled Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata and released as a Light Novel, a 13-episode anime adaptation aired on noitaminA as part of the Winter 2015 Anime lineup. A second season aired in Spring 2017.

The light novels are licensed by Yen Press in North America. On the other hand, Crunchyroll is streaming the anime under the title Saekano: How to raise a boring girlfriend, and can be viewed here for folks living in the following areas: note 

Advertisement:

The series also sports two spinoff manga: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend: Koisuru Metronome, which focuses on Utaha, and How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend: Egoistic Lily, focusing on Eriri.


Saekano contains examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Several of the girls repeatedly try to tease and seduce Tomoya. But he never gets - or ignores - the hints, much to their annoyance.
  • Accidental Pervert: Discussed among Tomoya's circle in episode 10. Specifically, they talk about the main character walking in on the heroine while she's undressed, and the essential elements of it, like the heroine letting out a high-pitched scream and calling the main character a pervert. When the conversation concludes, Tomoya goes to take a shower and encounters Michiru, who is undressed after taking her shower. After Michiru leaves the bathroom, Tomoya lets out a high-pitched scream. Michiru doesn't blame Tomoya though because as she points out, it's mainly her fault for entering his house without his knowledge (that and she's the Shameless Fanservice Girl).
  • A-Cup Angst:
      Advertisement:
    • Eriri gets a little unnerved in episode 0 after looking at Utaha's breasts in the hot springs.
    • In episode 7, when Izumi shows up, Eriri describes her a little to Utaha. The latter notices despite being two years younger, she has a much more developed bust, and says the former is more like the middle schooler. Eriri tells her to "die in a fire."
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Flat ended this way. While many agreed that it was a nice way to end it, with Tomoya and Megumi coming to terms with Utaha and Eriri working for Akane, Izumi going to Tomoya's school and Tomoya and Megumi continuing the circle, leaving no loose ends around, it left a very small chance for a season 3note , but especially because one of the most important plot points was cut out and reduced to a flashback: Megumi confronting Eriri on her abandoning Tomoya once again and holding a grudge against her that lasts for a few volumes.
  • Always Someone Better: In-Universe, Akane Kousaka is treated as the most experienced producer in the doujin world.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The finale leaves it ambiguous whether or not Eriri and Utaha went to Osaka to work in the new Fields Chronicle game, given that they took too long in saying their goodbyes to Tomoya that they lost their train to Osaka. The next scene flash-forwards to the beginning of the new school year, making the whole ordeal superfluous in hindsight.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The anime ends with Eriri, Utaha and Michiru returning to work with Tomoya once again; not to mention Izumi will attend the same school as Tomoya and the others, giving her the opportunity to work alongside Tomoya and his friends. By the end of the story, life will go on, the same way as before.
  • Amusing Injuries: A subtle one in episode 9. After Tomoya says he finds hers, and Izumi's works, to be great, and can't lie about it, she loses her composure. So she slaps herself rather hard, and when the camera focuses on her again, both sides of her cheeks are bright red.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Utaha does one in episode 6 while in the hotel room with Tomoya. At first glance it seems to just be dialogue written into the game. But Utaha accidentally lets some words slip that savvy viewers can recognize as her frustrations with dealing with his Oblivious to Love attitude. Tomoya does lampshade this, asking if that dialogue is really the character's, or hers, though the message still flies over his head.
  • Art Shift:
    • The anime shifts to differently-colored outlines for some scenes, seemingly at random.
    • The flashback scenes of Tomoya and Eriri in their elementary school years has all the backgrounds done in a crayon style.
  • Aside Glance: Megumi gives one in Episode 11, after she walks into a scene where Michiru has Tomoya in a headlock, Eriri is facing away from the table and undergoing a self-inflicted breakdown, and Utaha is delivering barbs to Eriri all the while.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: One shows up in the script Utaha writes in episode 5.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: As much as she likes Tomoya, Utaha thinks he isn't cut out to be a producer because he is too much of a Benevolent Boss and doesn't push his teammates to overcome their own limitations. Enter Akane Kousaka, a cruel and abusive woman who utterly destroys Eriri's self-esteem.
  • Bedmate Reveal: Tomoya wakes up to find Utaha right next to him in his bed in episode 9. Megumi later reveals she called Utaha and told her it was urgent, as she saw the fight Eriri had with him just hours earlier at Comiket at the end of episode 8.
  • Bland-Name Product: Zigzagged. Though Tomoya's room is scattered with figures and posters from actual shows, in episode 2 he plays a dating sim on a Ready Stage "Not-Playstation" console.
  • Book-Ends: The first and last volumes have two of the heroines depicted with jackets over their shoulders and in their school uniforms alone. The first has Eriri, while the last has Megumi on her graduation day.
  • Boss Subtitles: Michiru and her bandmates get this in episode 12, describing Tokino as the guitarist, Echika as the bassist, Ranko as the drummer, and Michiru as the vocalist and other guitarist. Once Tomoya reveals that Michiru's bandmates are all otaku, they show up again, describing Tokino as a voice actor fanatic, Echika as a Vocaloid addict, Ranko as a casual fan, and Michiru as a non-otaku.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The conflict between Tomoya and Eriri has both characters with legitimate gripes.
    • Tomoya clearly valued his friendship with Eriri, to the point where he would get into fights with those who would make fun of them. Even after Eriri decides to distance herself from him, he puts in the effort into making otaku culture more accessible and acceptable to their classmates.
    • Eriri's reasons for leaving Tomoya were that she was unable to make friends outside of him as long as they associated due to their status as otaku. It's emphasized that distancing herself wasn't an easy decision.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Tomoya doesn't seem interested at all in talking to Megumi at the end of episode 1. Even after she says he caught her hat, he seems to brush it off, until she mentions more specifics, such as being on top of a hill. He then immediately realizes she was the girl who inspired him for his visual novel.
  • Butt-Monkey: Iori, an old former friend of Tomoya, is treated this way in episode 7. He attempts to greet the latter, along with Eriri who was walking with him at the time debating something. The two stop briefly, then continue on as if ignoring him.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • In episode 2, Tomoya recaps what happened in the episode prior, but steers off into some lies at the end. Eriri walks over to Tomoya, smacks him, and says specifically to not insert lies into an episode recap.
    • In episode 9, when Tomoya is shocked to see Utaha sleeping in his bed with him, he asks her why she's there. She immediately replies that she had no screentime in the last episode. He immediately lampshades this, asking her what she meant by screentime and last episode.
    • In episode 11 of season 2, Michiru shows up near Eriri and Utaha as they spy on Tomoya and Megumi going to school. She says she's going to join them for the new game meeting, but Eriri and Utaha point out that not only is she not a student at their school, that this was also the last third of the show, and that she wasn't even present at all in the second half. Michiru dismisses them and tries to meet up with Tomoya anyway, but the two girls refuse to let her go. Tomoya meanwhile watches this from a distance.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In episode 1, Tomoya was prepared to meet with Eriri and Utaha when he spots Megumi and spends the afternoon with her instead. The stinger for that episode has Eriri and Utaha conclude that they've been stood up. In episode 2, when Tomoya and Megumi chatting at a cafe, Megumi casually mentions that Eriri and Utaha were outside staring right at them, having presumably tracked Tomoya down.
    • In episode 5, Eriri is attempting to get some character sketches for various expressions from Megumi, but Eriri has trouble getting anything other than Megumi's standard blank face. In the stinger for episode 6, Eriri finally manages to get a good angry expression sketch from Megumi. Megumi protests the statement, while making that exact angry expression.
    • Megumi brings up the Kissing Cousins issue with Tomoya in episode 11, specifically referencing the incident back in episode 4 when he saw her with her male cousin Keiichi, and him going into Crazy Jealous Guy mode as a result. However, she does it via the in-game dialogue of his visual novel, and forces him to read it by keeping her hand over his on the mouse and making him click the mouse button to advance the dialogue. He greatly apologizes for his actions.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Both Eriri and Utaha stating that Tomoya's early game proposals aren't very good. They don't sugarcoat their words either.
    • Tomoya describing Megumi as a Plain Jane, and phrasing it in a negative tone, essentially calling her boring.
    • Tomoya telling Eriri in episode 9 that her artwork, while technically good, feels like it's missing something preventing it from being "great". This is one of the reasons he gives for why he didn't show her work the same enthusiasm as he did for Izumi after she complained about it.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: The various girls around Tomoya either get foiled by the other girls, or just can't bring themselves to give him a Love Confession.
  • Cassandra Truth: Neither Eriri nor Utaha believe much of what Tomoya says regarding spending time with other girls, such as going on a "research mission" with Megumi to a mall. Naturally they see it as a date between the two.
  • Charge-into-Combat Cut: Though he's not heading out to fight in the traditional sense, Tomoya is shown leaving his house in this fashion.
  • Childhood Friend:
    • Eriri and Tomoya, though she's hoping for a Relationship Upgrade.
    • Tomoya and Michiru. In this case it's because they were both born on the same day, and as cousins spent a lot of time together. Utaha and Eriri take it the wrong way and imagine that the two had all sorts of kinky fun together, despite Tomoya's explanations that they didn't. And when they finally meet, it doesn't go very well.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Both Utaha and Eriri get upset with Tomoya when he shows interest in a girl other than them. They kick him as a result when at the restaurant.
    • Utaha gets especially mad at him in episode 6 after he tells her about the fun he had on his "not a date" research with Megumi at the mall in the previous episode. She lashes out at him through dialogue she's writing for his game, and the next day takes a picture next to him sleeping which strongly suggests they had sex.
    • The Stinger at the end of episode 6 suggests Megumi may also be vulnerable to this as well, after Eriri constantly brings up the fact that Tomoya ditched her on the middle of their "research" at the mall. Eriri claims she was doing it to get an expression out of her, and draws her with an angry look. Megumi claims to not look like that. But as the camera pans on her face, she has that same expression.
    • In episode 8, Megumi attempts to invoke this trope when Izumi is hugging Tomoya at Comiket. However, her monotone lines don't sell it at all.
    • In episode 10, both Utaha and Eriri give him the third degree when they find out his female cousin Michiru is staying at his place for a short while. All three girls develop Hate at First Sight upon meeting each other in episode 11. Utaha in particular trades a lot of barbs with Michiru after the latter dismisses anime and manga as childish.
  • Color Failure:
    • Eriri suffers one in episode 10 after Utaha states that his relationship with his cousin Michiru is the type that transcends all other childhood relationships.
    • Interestingly, Tomoya's hair suffers this in episode 11 when Utaha is defending Otaku culture from Michiru. However, she ends up shaking him out of frustration while defending him.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The girls discuss anime in episode 0 while soaking in the hot springs, and wonder if Tomoya is peeking on them in. He is, but he's actually more interested in the conversation about anime they're having, and is mad they're talking about that without him there.
  • Conspicuous CG: Utaha's fingers in episode 5.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Mentioned in episode 12, when the outed secret of Michiru's bandmates being otaku and Tomoya wanting Michiru as his game's composer line up nicely for him to set his plan in motion.
  • Cry Cute: Eriri does this from time to time. Utaha and Megumi also do this in the second season from time to time.
  • Date Peepers: Implied with Eriri while Tomoya and Megumi are at the mall doing some shopping in episode 5. Though she's not seen actively stalking them, its seems a bit too coincidental that Eriri happens to run into Megumi after Tomoya ditches her to look for Utaha, as seen in The Stinger at the end of episode 6.
  • Death Glare:
    • Eriri does one towards Megumi after Tomoya says the latter is going to be the main heroine in his game during episode 2. Tomoya tries to play it off as her being nearsighted, though Eriri mentions she's wearing contacts, botching his save attempt.
    • Eriri does one again in episode 10 after seeing a text message to Tomoya from his cousin Michiru.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: The show deconstructs and reconstructs itself in the later episodes of the second season.
    • The deconstruction comes after the team completes the game in time for Winter Comiket. Tomoya realizes he had no plans for his friends beyond completing the game and feels he cannot properly use his friends' talent without risking them getting stale. At the same time, Eriri and Utaha get a tempting offer to work for a professional company in developing a famous game, which risks breaking Tomoya's team apart. At the same time, Eriri and Utaha feel they cannot fully realize their artistic potential if they remain with Tomoya, but feel guilty about leaving him.
    • The reconstruction comes in the finale. Tomoya accepts that his friends might take separate paths but he can still be glad for them; not to mention Megumi rekindles his passion for games and strengthens his resolve to uphold the team. Meanwhile, Eriri and Utaha rekindle their feelings for Tomoya, in their own way. The outcome of the story is unarguably positive and the characters end up in a much better place than they were in the beginning.
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • In episode 3, Tomoya, who had been alone his house previously, goes to get some water when another voice tells him to get a cola too. He goes downstairs, pours out the drinks... and finally realizes someone else is in his house.
    • Tomoya has one in episode 10 when he spots his cousin Michiru getting out of the bathroom. She just casually tells him she's done using the shower, and walks out. He finally screams after she's gotten to the milk in his kitchen.
  • Development Hell:
    • In-universe example during episode 5. Utaha writes a scenario for the game, and though everyone seems to like it, Tomoya asks if it can have a better conclusion. They're really close to the deadline date, which makes Eriri a bit irate about him changing his mind.
    • Utaha ends up doing this to her latest novel as seen in a Flash Back during episode 6. Tomoya refused to read it before it was published, stating that he didn't want to influence her work. Despite that, she ends up rewriting it several times anyway, in the hope that it would turn out the way he wanted had he of made his suggestions. This, along with his indecisiveness in creating his visual novel led to very frustrating moments in her life, hence why she acts like The Gadfly around him as a way to get back at him.
  • Demoted to Extra: Izumi and Michiru star in two volume covers and apear in the opening and credits as much as Eriri, Utaha and Megumi even though they don't have much to do with the plot after and before their respective arcs. In the second part of the series they doesn't even appear on volume covers anymore.
    • Utaha fall into this trope as the story progress and unveils that the true conflict and Love Triangle is between Tomoya, Megumi and Eriri.
  • Distracted by the Sexy:
    • Tomoya tries really hard not to stare at Utaha's breasts in the hotel room during episode 6 as they work on a revision for the game concept.
    • He tries again not to look at his cousin Michiru in episode 10 while she's wearing a tank top and short shorts. Even when she wraps her legs around his neck and attempts to force him to look at her anyway.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: Well, not 'rape', but Utaha isn't exactly subtle in her half-joking flirtations with Tomoya, to the point where it might be considered sexual harassment.
    • In Koisuru Metronome, she straight-up plans to take his virginity. There's a scene where she's crouched over his body like a hungry dog over a bone, except he's asleep, much to her frustration.
  • Dull Eyes of Unhappiness: Megumi displays these a couple of times in episode 2 while talking to Tomoya at the diner.
  • Epic Fail: Eriri runs to where Utaha snuck Tomoya away in the woods in episode 0. She runs down the hill, then jumps at them for dramatic effect, only to then smack her head on a low lying branch.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Tomoya's room is chock full of anime, video game, and manga related stuff. He also claims to have no interest in 3D girls, due to the problems they have.
    • Tomoya gets inspiration to make a visual novel after seeing Megumi standing on top of the hill after her hat blew off. She isn't seen again until the very end of the episode, and nonchalantly thanks him for catching her hat that day.
    • In-universe example with how Tomoya and Utaha first met in episode 6. She's greeting fans at a book signing event, and one fan in particular seems a bit obsessed with her work. Said fan turns out to be Tomoya, and his discussions with her lead her to ask him to read a rough draft of her latest book.
    • When Michiru is properly introduced in episode 10, the first thing she does is use Tomoya's shower without telling him she came over. She then starts teasing him with her outfit of a tank top and short shorts in his bedroom later.
  • Eureka Moment: Tomoya hits a slump with an idea for a visual novel, until he sees a white hat fly off a girl on top of a hill. The image of that girl, who later turns out to be Megumi, a girl at his school, gives him inspiration to make her into the ideal heroine for his visual novel, despite her being a Plain Jane.
  • Evolving Credits:
    • Episode 0's ending uses the same song, but has some slight differences from the other ending, such as showing the girls from the back as seen in beginning instead of the girls moving away from the camera in the latter half of the ending sequence.
    • The opening credits of season 2 changes Megumi's hairstyle as she lets her hair down after episode 4. It is once again changed at episode 11 after she had her hair cut from previous episode.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: Eriri draws one of herself doing this in episode 9.
  • False Start: Tomoya does this repeatedly with the girls. They'll often think he's about to do a Love Confession, only to find out he was talking about something else entirely.
  • Fanservice: Surprisingly downplayed early on, other than some shots here and there, such as episode 0 when the girls are bathing, and a lingering shot of Eriri in her underwear and thigh-high stockings in episode 9 as she gets ready to put on a formal dress. And in episode 10, the camera focuses on Michiru in rather low angles much of the time.
    • The pattern prevails in season 2, with the entire cast in swimsuits in episode 0, and Utaha in various states of undress in episode 4.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Michiru's father is against her starting up an all-girls band, as she explains to Tomoya in episode 10.
  • First-Name Basis: Megumi and Eriri begin to address each other by their first names at the end of episode 12, after Megumi sought help from Eriri in the episode prior.
  • Fish out of Water:
    • Megumi has no experience in otaku culture, so she often ends up asking lots of questions when Tomoya shows her that stuff.
    • Tomoya in episode 5 while shopping with Megumi at a mall. At first he doesn't seem to like it much due to the crowd. But once he frames the mall with the mindset that he uses at comiket, which has an even bigger crowd, suddenly the normal people become otakus to him, and he manages to help Megumi visit almost every store she wanted to go see.
  • Fleeting Passionate Hobbies: Michiru suffers from this. Tomoya points out in episode 10 that she joined various school clubs, but quit a short while after joining them. He also comments that she would have made it to regional competitions had she of stuck with any of them.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: There are various characters from other works seen in Tomoya's room, but you'll have to pause it to see them as the camera angle only lingers on them for a brief moment before switching to something else.
  • Freudian Slip:
    • Eriri tells Megumi in episode 0 about displaying a complicated type of look on her face. Megumi says she can't act out instructions that specific, causing Eriri to go into more detail about said look. She starts telling her about how she's being a Patient Childhood Love Interest, but has to helplessly watch as a womanizer flirts with the man she loves and she's unable to do anything about it. Eriri then starts crying, and Megumi tells her she shouldn't have pressed her own emotional buttons that way.
    • Utaha's Yandere scenario written in episode 5. She then mentions "Mr. Ethical" needing to be punished, obviously referring to him in her script. She does it again in episode 6, and Tomoya asks her about some of her lines being from the author's perspective rather than the character's, when she mentions her feelings not being acknowledged by someone she loves, obviously referring to him.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • The waitress serving the table behind the one Megumi and Tomoya are sitting at in episode 2 and keeps screwing his order up.
    • In episode 4, Megumi can be seen sitting in a corner and on her phone in several scenes before she makes her presence known.
    • In both seasons, there's a barista in the scenes where Tomoya and Iori are talking in a food court who keeps misinterpreting the gestures between them as Ho Yay. Whenever she's in the scene, expect her to be not-so-subtly trying to sneak a look.
  • Genre Shift: Utaha's script in episode 5. It starts out as a typical "boy meets girl" dating sim, then quickly gets sci-fi and fantasy elements thrown in when it turns out the two characters were brother and sister in a previous life and have to fight against a giant monster.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • In episode 6, numerous scenes and dialogue are shown in such a way that it looks like Tomoya is propositioning Utaha for sex, such as when he asks her to "make him a man". Which he then clarifies as becoming a creator like her. A later scene shows them bouncing up and down on the bed, but it turns out she's just writing very vigorously on her laptop. Later on she continually makes very suggestive references to sex, such as enjoying the previous night making a creation together.
    • In episode 12, Michiru is straddling Tomoya in a cowgirl position while wearing a cat maid outfit. However, she's actually angry at him because he tricked her about the live gig. Nevertheless, Eriri and Utaha don't like the positions they're in, particularly as Michiru seems to be moving in a very suggestive motion on top of him.
  • The Glomp: Izumi does this a few times to Tomoya in episodes 7 and 8.
  • G-Rated Drug: Eriri, Michiru, and Utaha eat some special chocolate the former had laying around her house in episode 0. They act drunk, and kidnap Tomoya and tie him up when said chocolate lets them vent their frustration on him for using them in his game but not giving them any kind of reward for the work they've done.
  • Green Rooming: Tomoya's cousin Michiru is seen in episode 0, but doesn't show up again until episode 10.
  • The Grunting Orgasm: A slightly drunk Utaha does this to Tomoya in episode 0, when she says he'll pay with his body for all the trouble they up up with spending time on his project. He then lets out a scream as the camera angle switches.
  • Hate at First Sight:
    • Eriri and Utaha seem rather antagonistic towards each other, though much of it has to do with the fact that both of them like Tomoya.
    • Both of those girls also instantly hate Michiru when they first meet her, due to the fact that she's Tomoya's cousin, and also living with him at the time. Utaha trades barbs with her a few times.
  • Heroic BSoD: Eriri goes through one in episode 9 after getting upset at Tomoya for showing more interest in Izumi's works than her own at Comiket from the previous episode.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Michiru says Eriri and Utaha are childish for talking about anime, while swimming in the hot springs water. Utaha immediately calls her out on that.
    • Tomoya gets mad at a male classmate after the latter asks him a question, only to then ignore him as he answers it. Later on he does something similar with Utaha and Eriri, asking them to meet him in the AV room for his game proposal, only to then not show up because he coincidentally ran into Megumi, the girl who gave him his latest inspiration for a game.
    • In episode 1, Eriri insults Utaha in that she's leading a fake, gloomy life. Utaha then immediately counters by discussing Eriri's erotic doujin art that she draws at night and under a pseudonym so as not to ruin her image at their school.
    • Michiru gets berated by Utaha because of her negative views on Otaku culture. Later, Tomoya mentions rock bands having to deal with sex and drugs, and she immediately calls him out on his stereotyping of bands, considering her treatment after her stereotyping with Otakus.
  • Imagine Spot:
    • Tomoya imagined Megumi doing some things in episode 2 such as opening his window or accidentally sitting on his bed. Instead she just sits on the floor and notices all the posters, light novels, games, and manga in his room.
    • Utaha's explanation of the supposed fight Eriri had with Izumi evolves into something that didn't happen at all, with Eriri tearing up the latter's works and mocking her after pushing her to the ground. Tomoya immediately dismisses her version of the events that happened.
    • Utaha once again imagines Tomoya and his cousin Michiru doing all sorts of things together, such as bathing and examining each other's bodies as kids to see what the differences were.
  • In Medias Res: Episode 0, the first broadcasted episode, has the entire cast assembled and several months into the production of the game. The next episode takes place at the start of the story proper, showing how Tomoya gets his inspiration and begins to gather everyone for his project.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • Tomoya gets rather upset when he sees Megumi with her male cousin Keiichi in episode 4. He claims it's because she's the heroine in his visual novel, and doesn't want her to be associated with any guy except whoever plays the game. Because her being seen with another guy in real life will somehow taint her video game persona according to Tomoya. Nevermind that the girls such as Eriri and Utaha don't like seeing him spend so much time with Megumi either.
    • In episode 7, he gets mad again at Megumi, this time for tying her hair up into a ponytail.
  • Kissing Cousins: Two examples:
    • Tomoya assumes that Megumi and her male cousin Keiichi are this after seeing them together in episode 4. She claims there's no romance between them. She brings this up later in episode 11, using in-game dialogue in the visual novel they were making, and forcing him to click to read it by putting her hand over his on the mouse.
    • Tomoya then relates what he saw with Megumi and Keiichi, and says that innocent things like eating together can quickly turn into a romance situation, hinting at his own relationship with his female cousin Michiru, who seems a bit too friendly with him at times. Utaha and Eriri don't take it well when they assume he's doing these sorts of things with Michiru.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Done quite a bit in episode 0, with Utaha even explicitly saying things that show what they're doing at the time. After the opening credits, Tomoya starts narrating about what he's doing, which is making a game and scouting for locations with other members. Utaha immediately says an Info Dump like that will bore players, and it turns out Tomoya was writing a script for their game while simultaneously explaining the plot.
    • In episode 10, Tomoya says that his parents never even show their faces. Apart from a mention here and there, they aren't shown at all.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: In episode 4, Tomoya finally manages to cool a tense situation between Eriri and Utaha and get them to work, and the music builds as the girls ask Tomoya who he thinks he's dealing with. The music slows to a stop when Megumi, who hadn't been noticed before then, asks what she should be doing.
  • Lingerie Scene: A couple, courtesy of Eriri and Michiru. Both scenes last several seconds.
  • Loophole Abuse: Utaha is asked by her editor for an interview in episode 4. Said interviewer turns out to be Tomoya, who was hired because her editor was hoping Utaha would be more comfortable talking to someone she already knew. Tomoya still ends up having to beg her for it, and she ultimately relents to one because he wanted to ask her questions about her next light novel.
  • Love Confession:
    • Something that looks like this happens in episode 12. Michiru points and says "I love you" to the audience after her performance. But Eriri and Utaha take it to mean she was telling it to Tomoya, and both girls kick him as a result.
    • In episode 11 of season 2, both Eriri and Utaha try a form of this after Tomoya shows up at the train station. Eriri is about to give one, but Utaha steals his First Kiss and gives him one first.
  • Love Letter Lunacy: Subverted. It seems Izumi hands Tomoya one in episode 7, but it's actually a ticket for Comiket, as she's taking part as a doujinshi artist.
  • Male Gaze: Used quite often in the show. The camera angles will usually be low, or pans along whichever girl is spending time with Tomoya at the time.
  • Marshmallow Hell: Michiru accidentally does this to Tomoya in episode 11, in front of Eriri, Utaha, and Megumi.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Eriri mentions several girls in their class saw Iori and Tomoya this way in episode 7 after they started bonding over their common interest in games and anime.
  • Modesty Towel: Tomoya has this on at the end of episode 10 when he hears Michiru playing a song on her guitar. Shortly after she finishes, his towel falls off, giving her a very good look at his private parts.
  • Moment Killer: Happens a few times in episode 0. The girls claim they're taking him to secluded spots for inspiration. But then they seem to start getting serious, until another girl interrupts them.
  • Mood Whiplash: Episode 8 ends on a dramatic note, after which the usual peppy credits play out. The beginning of episode 9 begins with that same drama scene, before switching to some harem hijinks in the next scene.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: How Tomoya introduces Megumi's role in the game circle in episode 11 when trying to recruit his cousin. He says he wants Michiru to create the music, Utaha to write the script, and Eriri to draw the artwork. When he gets to Megumi, he can't think of anything, so he just says she's important too. Megumi gives a nonchalant agreement.
  • Nice Hat: Megumi wears one, which gets blown off and sets the story in motion after Tomoya sees her on top of the hill.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: Episode 0 shows Tomoya interacting with the main heroines in the show, and it seems they've known each other for quite a while at that point. Episode 1 then starts the proper show, setting it a few months back and how they got to know each other in the first place.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Michiru seems to get awfully clingy to Tomoya at times, such as when she wraps her legs around his neck while on his bed, and orders him to look at her while he's trying his hardest not to be Distracted by the Sexy due to her skimpy outfit.
  • Not So Different:
    • Played straight initially with Tomoya and Iori this way as seen in a Flash Back during episode 7. The latter was one of the best looking guys, but Tomoya spots an anime girl as his phone wallpaper, and the two bonded over their love for anime, manga, and games. But then Tomoya noticed Iori seemed more interested in sucking up to the successful artists and cosplayers than creating his own stuff, and grew more distant from him.
    • Eriri initially bonds with Michiru in episode 11 when she speaks of childhood moments. However, as she describes it, it only makes Eriri angry as it seems to be a rather close moment between the two cousins, when he went out of his way to find Michiru after she sprained her ankle and got lost in the woods, and later carried her on his back.
    • Tomoya essentially says this to Michiru regarding her music. She was playing anime music with her bandmates who are anime fans but didn't tell her about it. Eventually Michiru's music style started to sound like something you'd hear in an anime opening or ending song as a result. However, he only realized this after Megumi commented on it when she listened to Michiru's music that he secretly recorded.
    • Megumi eventually realizes that, for all her perceived normality, she has become used to her friends' idiosyncrasies and nuances that she can no longer function without then. This revelation actually brings her to tears.
  • Off-Model: A minor one in episode 10. As Tomoya reads an email from his cousin Michiru, the phone is blue in his hands. After Eriri picks it up, it changes to a red color.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In episode 2, though Tomoya's face isn't seen, he lets out a big scream after Megumi asks him who the two girls, Eriri and Utaha, glaring at him outside are. He then realizes he forgot about meeting them after begging them to in the first episode.
    • He has this look again in episode 11 when Megumi starts bringing up the Kissing Cousins debacle back from episode 4, and their recent interactions with his cousin.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations:
    • One occurs in episode 2, when Tomoya says he won't give up. Utaha and Eriri ask him about it, and he says he's going to make a game proposal worthy of the two girls. Both of them immediately have a dejected look on their face when they realize he was talking about his game, instead of not giving up on trying to date one of them as they assumed.
    • In episode 6, Tomoya gets on his hands and knees, and begs Utaha to "make him a man". She, like most others, assumed he wanted to have sex. However, he then clarifies that he wants to be a creator like her. She gets rather angry at him for the misleading sentence and gesture. Her rewrite in the next scene also turns out to be one, when she speaks the lines in her script to Tomoya. But as she reads them out loud, viewers can understand that those words, implied to be spoken by the character, is clearly Utaha expressing frustrations with Tomoya.
    • During their argument in episode 9, Eriri vows to be Tomoya's "number one" after he says she should strive for being "great" instead of "good enough". While he is clearly referring to her work as an artist, she was referring to being a Victorious Childhood Friend.
    • In episode 11, Tomoya tells Michiru "he wants her". She starts to unbutton the dress shirt she was wearing, until he specifies he wants her to create music. She then berates him for the misleading line much like Utaha did in episode 6.
  • On One Condition:
    • Michiru tells Tomoya in episode 11 that her father will approve of her band if she can get a proper manager. He's understandably fearful of what might happen if she tries to do that stuff on her own and gets taken advantage of. So she tells Tomoya to be her band's manager, which would also help get him out of his Otaku tendencies.
    • Tomoya agrees to be Michiru's manager on the condition that if he gets her band into a live gig, she would agree to help him with music for his game. She happily accepts, although gets angry at him after she finds out new things about said live gig, such as wearing cat maid outfits and playing anime songs. That said, she does hold up her end of the deal.
  • Only Six Faces: The main girl's faces all strongly resemble each other, though they have very different hairstyles, along with personalities, to differentiate them. This can be seen most obviously during the opening credits, as the camera quickly switches view from one girl to another near the end.
  • Panty Shot: Several. Megumi has a stealth one, while the other girls have very detailed and pointlessly well animated panty flash scenes.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: One is used in the stinger of episode 12 for one last punchline.
  • The Plan:
    • Utaha devises one in episode 9 to help Tomoya mend his relationship with Eriri after she gets upset at him for showing more interest in another girl's doujinshi than the stuff she does. Unfortunately though, the plan gets derailed shortly after he starts it as Eriri is still standoffish towards him, and he then immediately goes into a rant against her instead of apologizing. It sort of works though.
    • Tomoya comes up with one with being Michiru's manager. He agrees to manage her band and get her a live gig, provided she create music for his game afterwards. He holds up his end, largely in part because Michiru's bandmates are huge anime music fans, and they agreed to his terms because they would be playing anime music for their gig, while also wearing cat maid outfits. Michiru is very angry with him as a result, but holds up her end of the promise.
  • Pose of Supplication: Tomoya assumes this stance in episode 11, after Megumi chides him for his earlier behavior towards her and her cousin via visual novel character.
  • Pun-Based Title: Used in-universe with the band name Michiru is a part of. They call themselves "Icy Tail", which sounds similar to "aishiteru", or "I love you" in Japanese. In episode 12, Tomoya attempts to explain this to Utaha and Eriri when he gets kicked by both girls after Michiru says "I love you!", and seemingly referring to him.
  • Race for Your Love: A slight variation of this takes place in episode 11 of season 2. Utaha and Eriri are about to board a train to Osaka to go work for a game company. Tomoya arrives just before they board the train, and the girls initially think he's doing this to them. However, he's really just seeing them off, and letting them know he and Megumi have no hard feelings towards them because they know this is going to help them grow as artists. Eriri then slowly attempts a Love Confession, but is beaten to the punch with Utaha stealing his First Kiss, as well as giving her own Love Confession to him.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: In episode 2, after Megumi comments that 2D girls should be able to break up with you on a whim like 3D girls can, Tomoya seems uncomfortable with that idea. He says if 2D girls do that, then his dreams would be shattered, so she says they should forget she mentioned it in the first place.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Tomoya's parents. Though they're not seen, they're okay with letting Michiru, his cousin, stay at their house alone with him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Interestingly, both Tomoya and Eriri are upset at each other, but for different reasons, as they yell at each other about in episode 9:
    • Eriri is upset at Tomoya because of the praise he heaped on Izumi's work, and the amount of effort he went through to help sell her doujinshi in episode 8. Meanwhile he's never done anything like that for her own works, despite being a more popular artist at the event.
    • Tomoya immediately goes on the offensive right afterwards. He's mad at her because of what happened when they were younger. She introduced him to the world of Dating Sim, and they really bonded over that. However, the boys got jealous of their relationship, and teased him mercilessly, causing him to get into more than a few fights with them. Eriri then tries to distance herself from him, basically making it look like he was the otaku, and as a result, Tomoya felt very betrayed by her, despite her admitting that it also hurt her secretly because she couldn't openly associate with him in public anymore.
  • Refusal of the Call: Michiru isn't interested in joining Tomoya's circle to create a game, partly because she's focused on her band, and partly because it's chock full of yucky Otaku. Utaha takes offense to that, and goes on a vehement defense of them as a result.
  • Ridiculously Average Guy: Megumi, as mentioned by the others. She doesn't have an outstanding personality or looks.
  • Romantic Spoonfeeding: A slight variation of this is used in episode 5. Tomoya hands the girls snacks as they work on his project. As for Utaha, she continually types "Ahn!", suggesting he hold one of the snacks so she can eat it. She eats two of the snack sticks before Eriri, getting irritated at the scene, snaps her pencil, and asks Tomoya to buy her another one so she can draw.
  • Running Gag: People entering Tomoya's house without his prior knowledge. Eriri, Utaha, and Michiru all do this at some point.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: All the Circle members enjoy messing with Tomoya and/or are critical of his capabilities as a director. Nevertheless, they try their best to help him with his ambition.
    • Utaha and Eriri are very forthcoming that Tomoya's proposals aren't very good and try their best to dissuade him from trying to create a galgame. Nevertheless, they ultimately put in the effort to motivating him by recreating the scenario where Tomoya and Megumi first "met".
  • Sequel Hook: Though they finish the game by episode 12, they have more routes to work on. All of them start doing their various tasks mundanely as the episode starts to draw to a close.
  • Serious Business:
    • Megumi mentions "comic thingy" in episode 5, referring to Comiket. Tomoya goes into a passionate argument about misnaming it, and tells her more about how it's the biggest gathering of otaku and despite the huge crowds there, it's not as disorganized as the mall event they're at.
    • Megumi again when she asks about the "Little love whatever" Izumi was talking about with Tomoya. Izumi gets upset, stands up, and vehemently corrects her on the title, "Little Love Rhapsody".
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Tomoya mistakenly gets shipped with the various girls in the show due to the amount of time he spends with them, especially with Megumi.
  • Ship Sinking: Episode 4 of season 2 focuses around Utaha trying and failing to indirectly get her feelings across to Tomoya, before coming to terms with the fact that he has no romantic interest in her. Subverted in the finale, as she renews her feelings for Tomoya and even steals his first kiss.
  • Shower of Angst: Eriri in episode 9, during her Heroic BSoD.
  • Shout-Out: Tomoya's favorite visual novel has a title screen that looks exactly like CLANNAD.
  • "Silly Me" Gesture: Megumi does one in one of Tomoya's Imagine Spot during episode 2.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Both Eriri and Utaha seem only interested in Tomoya. Unfortunately he's Oblivious to Love.
    • In an odd twist, while he isn't interested in her romantically, he refuses to have anyone but Megumi as his main heroine.
  • Status Quo Is God: Eriri and Tomoya sort of patch things up at the end of episode 9, but their relationship hasn't changed at all, other than her telling him she was going to "become his #1".
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    • None of the others notice that Megumi got up to refill her drink while they were arguing with each other in the diner during episode 2.
    • Eriri casually asks Tomoya for a drink when he heads to the kitchen in episode 3 after wasting time reading instead of working on his game proposal.
  • Stealth Insult:
    • Both Eriri and Utaha take jabs at each other repeatedly. In episode 2, Utaha claims that if fateful encounters and coincidences didn't exist, romances would consist of nothing but Childhood Friend Romance, referencing the childhood friend relationship between Eriri and Tomoya.
    • In episode 10, Utaha paints Michiru as the ultimate childhood friend romance option, due to them being cousins and having spent a lot of time together growing up. Eriri suffers a Color Failure when she hears that she's essentially a knockoff childhood friend.
      • And in episode 11, Utaha does this again, insulting Michiru but also Eriri simultaneously with her childhood friend rants.
  • The Stinger:
    • At the end of episodes 1-4, a short follow up scene plays out, such as at the end of episode 1 when Eriri and Utaha comment that they've been stood up by Tomoya, who had requested they go to the AV room to hear his game proposal. But he completely forgot about them after running into Megumi who introduces herself as the girl whose hat he caught at the bottom of the hill.
    • Though episode 5 doesn't have one, episode 6 follows up with it showing the aftermath of Tomoya leaving Megumi from the previous episode, with Eriri drawing Megumi at the mall shortly after he ditches her.
    • Episode 8 also doesn't have one, but episode 9 does, and like episode 6, follows up with a scene that happens shortly after the episode played out. Iori hands Izumi a drawing by Eriri praising the latter for her work. However, he begins laughing, and when she turns the drawing around, she finds an drawing of Eriri. She writes that she won't lose to Izumi, implying not just their statuses as artists, but regarding winning Tomoya's love as well.
    • In episode 11, Tomoya promises to become Michiru's manager on the condition that she produce music for his game after he lands her band a live gig. See The Plan for further details on why he suddenly agreed to it.
    • At the end of episode 12, Tomoya concludes with And the Adventure Continues monologue. He makes it sounds like things are going to get more ominous. Before he can finish talking, Eriri slaps him with a Paper Fan of Doom, telling him not to be Tempting Fate this way.
  • The Tease: Utaha and Michiru love doing this towards Tomoya. In the former's case, she especially enjoys doing it when Eriri is around.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • In episode 7, Tomoya mentions to Megumi that having a slightly younger girl waiting for you at the school gate at the end of the day is something gamers expect. Izumi, a girl who fits that description, then ends up approaching him.
    • Tomoya explicitly warns Michiru not to plug her guitar into the amp in episode 10, stating it would bother the neighbors. She promises not to, but then does it anyway. At least she keeps the volume fairly low so that it can only be heard within their house.
    • Tomoya attempts to end episode 12 in a way that suggests things may go bad, but Eriri smacks him with a Paper Fan of Doom before he's able to say it, averting this trope... Probably...
    • Utaha no longer feels like working with Tomoya because he prioritizes his teammates' personal well-being over the creative skills. When she and Eriri get an interview with Akane Kousaka, they are utterly shocked by Akane's way of doing things.
  • Tender Tears: Izumi shows some in episode 8 after Tomoya comes to visit her at the Summer Comiket.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In episode 7, after Tomoya comments that Izumi looks more girly, she mentions that it was because of him teaching her the pleasures of being a girl. The other girls are shocked at it, but it turns out he just exposed her to anime and dating games. Eriri and Utaha still find it disgusting how he "corrupted" Izumi this way though.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Michiru plays the ending song on her guitar in episode 10. Though annoyed at first, Tomoya likes the music enough to ask for her help in the game.
  • Title Drop: Tomoya's second project shares the same name as the series title.
  • Two-Timer Date: Utaha and Eriri treat this as one in episode 2 after seeing Tomoya in the diner with Megumi. They're very upset at him for begging them to hear his game proposal again, only to then ditch them after finding out Megumi was the girl with the hat he saw a few weeks back.
  • Training from Hell: Tomoya having Megumi play dating sim games in episode 2 is treated this way. She makes seemingly innocent enough choices, such as giving the girl a present after the date, but Tomoya says that's the wrong one. They then spend all night playing them.
  • Unknown Rival: Tomoya and Eriri treats Iori this way a few times in episode 7, making him seem more like a Butt-Monkey than a rival.
  • Unwanted Harem: The group of girls around Tomoya who are helping him to create his visual novel.
  • Wham Line:
    • Tomoya asking Eriri if she's ever been on a date in episode 5. She tears through the paper she was drawing on, while Utaha drops her laptop.
    • Michiru's Brutal Honesty to Tomoya in episode 11 about the girls being in his group mostly out of obligation and because she senses several of them have an ulterior motive, rather than because they genuinely want to create a game. At least until Megumi starts showing real interest in seeing it made later on.
  • What If?: The two spinoff manga exploring Eriri and Utaha as the main heroines have a different approach for their stories. Interestingly, Utaha gets to be with and consummate her relationship with Tomoya, while Eriri is rejected regardless of universe.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Eriri and Utaha do not take it well when they find out Tomoya is going on a shopping date with Megumi in episode 5. The former claims she was just a practice run, while the latter suddenly develops Yandere tendencies while typing up a new plot scenario.
    • And in episode 6, when Tomoya is telling Utaha about doing research with said date, he tells her he surprisingly had fun. This makes her a bit angry with him, and she takes it out on him the next day, by taking a picture of him with her next to him in bed, and sending it to him. Said picture makes it look like they had sex.
    • In episode 8, Tomoya goes all out to help Izumi sell her doujinshi manga at comiket. This helps her greatly, and she manages to sell out despite initially being happy if only a few were sold. However, this does not sit well with Eriri, who secretly went there to buy one, and sees him in the act. She gets angry at him because he's never done anything like that for her manga, but did it for Izumi after only reading one of her works. Episode 9 reveals he doesn't think Eriri's works are "good", but not "great". He then tells her to work to become a "great" artist, and she vows to "become his #1" someday.
    • Both Utaha and Eriri say this towards Tomoya in episode 10 after they find out his female cousin Michiru is living with him.
      • And later after he tells Michiru not to plug in her guitar amp, she does it anyway. However, instead of yelling at her, he asks her to make music for his game after said music triggers scenes from the game in his mind.
    • Michiru is furious with Tomoya after finding out more about their live gig, which requires them to wear cat maid outfits. On top of that, her bandmates are huge anime music fans, and have been secretly playing those songs unknown to her until he points it out to her.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • Though technically not the entire episode, a lot of episode 6 features Flash Back scenes of when Tomoya first met Utaha as a fan of her early novels.
    • The second half of episode 9, and the first half of episode 10 does this, revealing to Tomoya what happened with Eriri and Utaha during the last month when he's asking Utaha to write for his game again. She reveals that both she and Eriri are going to work for a well known game company to produce a 20th anniversary game of a hit title.
  • Write What You Know: In-universe example in episode 5. The hero and heroine in the game Tomoya is working on clearly resembles him and Megumi. Eriri claims she based him on the "handsomest guy" she knew. Meanwhile, Utaha names the heroine "Meguri Kano", prompting Megumi Katou to comment that the name sounds familiar.
  • Yandere: Invoked in episode 5 when Utaha has that look in her face as she types a scenario in her laptop for the plot after hearing that Tomoya is going on a date with Megumi. She develops this look again in episode 6 while rewriting some dialogue for him.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are:
    • Megumi seems to know a lot about Tomoya's seemingly positive reputation at school as an otaku. She then compares him to herself, who is a Plain Jane and fairly unremarkable in every way.
    • Megumi rouses Tomoya again in eipsode 11, when he's doubting himself after Michiru observes that the others seem to hang around him out of obligation and not passion.
  • You Didn't Ask: Tomoya's excuse in episode 12 to Michiru as to why she has to wear a cat maid outfit in her band's first live gig. She gets back at him later by putting him in a wrestling submission hold after their performance.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Michiru's hair is purple. Among the minor characters, Echika has purple hair and Ranko's is green.

Alternative Title(s): Saekano How To Raise A Boring Girlfriend, Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback