Friday, March 17, 2023

The Girl that Can't Get a Girlfriend (Manga Review)

Two women on the front cover, one drawn in precise manga style the other in a more cartoony way. The precisely drawn one is putting her hand up to say "no" to the other who is presenting her with a heart shaped flower
    "The Girl that Can't Get a Girlfriend" by Mieri Hiranishi is an auto-biographical LGBTQ manga. In keeping with my general philosophy towards auto-biographical works, I will not be commenting on the story or characters themselves because those are real people and real events, so it's not for me to dissect them. Also, out of respect for the author, this is their work and their life, and they should be proud to have it out there for the world to see. That's a very brave thing.
    All that being said, I wanted to love "The Girl that Can't Get a Girlfriend" but I didn't. It was okay, just okay. I think it suffers in comparison to some extraordinary works, particularly "My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness" which is extraordinary on so many levels, that most things will pale in comparison. But I also think about graphic novels like "Fun Home" or "It's Lonely at the Centre of the Earth" or even "Hyperbole and a Half" and unfortunately "The Girl..." just doesn't compete.
    Again, I'm not being critical of the person or their journey, just the presentation in words and print. It is written in a very didactic style with little in the way of internal introspection or depth. It's just plot to plot to plot in little nuggets. It's just not elegantly crafted as prose goes. The story itself could be very compelling, but the delivery is what suffers. 
    However, all that being said, as far as LGBTQ+ representation, I'm all for it, and aspects of this story may resonate with you despite the way it's presented. The art is interesting veering from very loose and sketchy, to loose and broad, to detailed and precisely executed. I would be okay with the art (even though it isn't upper echelon) if the writing was better. So it's not the art, it's not the plot or character, it's just the very perfunctory presentation of the events that had me disappointed. Can't say I'd recommend it as it didn't have much depth or interiority. Your mileage may vary though and of course, kudos to Mieri Hiranishi for taking the risk and putting her story out there. 


Please legitimately purchase or borrow manga and anime. Never read scanlations or watch fansubs. Those rob the creators of the income they need to survive and reduce the chance of manga and anime being legitimately released in English.

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