Tomoya’s struggle to create a team for his video game continues!

The Lowdown

Tomoya still hasn’t managed to get Utaha and Eriri to agree to work on his visual novel, but he hasn’t given up yet. After having another proposal rejected, he is given a final chance to make a decent argument for his game. However, he struggles to come up with a proper idea and Megumi decides to step in and help.

How Was It?

Tomoya’s struggle to get his doujin circle off the ground continues in this second volume, especially since as of the end of the first volume, neither of his prospective recruits have agreed to sign up. How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend’s second volume bears quite a few similarities with the first in terms of strengths and weaknesses, but the specific details and its strength as the second entry in the series are really where the details get a bit more tricky.

If you’re interested in reading the second volume, in all likelihood you are looking for the similar style of character comedy and meta-humor the first volume prided itself on. You will definitely not be disappointed in that respect, as Boring Girlfriend continues to have excellently comedic moments. Much of the humor is an ironic mix of tropes and moments of deconstruction of the same tropes, both of which are present in a very deliberate fashion. Jokes such as Megumi’s enactment of a visual novel scene to Tomoya’s witnessing of “the darkness within creators” shine as particularly amusing moments. Outside of pure meta humor, there is still plenty of other comedy, be it from Eriri and Utaha’s constant bickering or from Tomoya’s various antics.

Unfortunately, while the humor from the previous volume is still on-point, the plot still feels like it’s pulling weakly in multiple directions. This is a bit frustrating because a) it’s hard to tell where it is going/wants to go, and b) it isn’t even going at a decent pace anyways. It’s not a requirement that a romantic comedy necessarily has to develop a strong story immediately, but Boring Girlfriend feels vaguely like it is trying to without actually pulling it off as of yet. Additionally, as great as the humor is, it will quickly grow stale if the same situations perpetuate the entire series without legitimate progress. When I summarize the story this volume as “Tomoya tries once again to recruit Eriri and Utaha, and then faces troubles with the script”, it’s less an oversimplification of the story as there really isn’t much else plot-wise that happens.

With a lack of significant plot, much of Boring Girlfriend’s progression relies on the characters, and while I wouldn’t exactly say anyone in particular developed greatly, there were quite a few clear early threads of development. These ranged from hints at Utaha’s previous relationship with Tomoya to Megumi’s behavior with her increased involvement in the project. The illustrations continue to be on-point, thankfully, and although a couple of the art choices are interesting (like the shading in Eriri’s hair, which I mentioned in my previous review), overall the style and quality are held to a high standard. The only thing that legitimately bothers me occasionally is the actual paneling, which sometimes is far too cluttered and drags the focus on the illustrations down with it. It’s also worth mentioning that Yen Press’s translation attempts to mirror blocking out brand names by leaving blank spaces in the titles. I’m not sure if a similar approach was used in the original Japanese, but it is a bit grating to see “Ti0ol Cookies”, for example.

Final Thoughts

How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend feels like it is treading water a bit in this volume. There is little progression in the story, and character development is mostly just hinted at so far. That being said, the volume is still bursting with high quality humor that makes up in part for some of the other flaws. If you were hoping that the story would move forward, you will have to wait. However, if you really just want more of the comedy from the first volume, then don’t hesitate to pick this one up.

What do our scores mean?

How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Vol. 2 was translated into English by Kumar Sivasubramanian and published by Yen Press on April 26, 2016. The series is an adaptation of the light novel series of the same name by Maruto Fumiaki, and is illustrated by Takeshi Moriki with character designs by Kurehito Misaki. The series received an anime adaptation by A-1 Pictures in the Winter 2015 season, with a second anime project announced to be in the works. How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend began serializing in January of 2013 in Fujimi Shobo’s Monthly Dragon Age imprint. The third volume will come out in English on July 26, 2016.

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