Created By: Mao Nanami
Directed By: Taskashi Naoya
Studio: Hoods Entertainment
Episode Count: 1 – 24
Classification: 15 (BBFC)
Audio: Japanese, English
Format: Collector’s Edition BluRay, Standard Edition BluRay
Licensed By: MVM Entertainment
Release Date: Available now
Hikari Tsutsui is a teenage otaku, in his final year of high school. Although he has some decent grades, he is disliked by fellow students for his otaku interests. Although he is a recluse, his only friend in the World is his classmate Yúto Itó who is a bit of an oddball himself. These two boys have resigned themselves to believing they could never get a 3-D girlfriend and have instead dedicated themselves to anime. However, by pure chance one day, Tsutsui is late to class and is sentenced to pool cleaning duty. He is not alone however, as he is paired up with the beautiful but the schools most talked about girl – Iroha Igarashi. Through just this single interaction, their lives become intertwined forever as the love story behind Real Girl begins.
Okay okay, I wasn’t expecting much out of this show at the beginning but wow! It hit me right in the feels in the last couple of episodes! This high school romance had its ups and downs, its misunderstandings and surprises, it’s far from your typical rom-com anime series. This show had deapt, so I can only imagine how good the source material was in the manga. Tsutsui is your classic teenage otaku, who prefers his own company and is incredibly awkward when it comes to interacting with ‘real people’. He does however have a best friend in Itó, who has his own unique interests. It’s no wonder these two had become social outcasts in high schools. However high school kids can be incredibly harsh, as all these characters are in and around 18 years old. It’s not only the ‘nerds’ being bullied, but even the gorgeous Iroha who has been labelled as the ‘school slut’. The pairing is almost unimaginable, but it really works. Both Tsutsui and Iroha take their new found relationship very seriously and it changes them both for the better.
However there is always a catch, Iroha announces to Tsutsui that she only has another six months in this school before she transfers. They make the most of their time together, Tsutsui has difficulty expressing and understanding emotions so there are the odd misunderstandings. Iroha does all she can to improve Tsutsui’s impression of himself and build his self confidence, which has a number of setbacks due to him not entirely believing her words at times. And like all great shows, there is just another massive plot twist near the end of the show. One that was utterly heartbreaking, yet with all that happens, the character development, actions, emotions – it was all utterly believable. I have to admit though, I did shead the odd tear or two during the finale episode!
‘Real Girl’ (Riaru Gáru) first began as a shójo manga series by mangaka Mao Nanami back in 2011. Having completed with a total of 12 volumes in 2016, it has been published in English by Kodansha comics. However I have only been able to find the first six volumes in print, the entire series however is available to buy digitally.
It wasn’t until the manga series had ended for quite some time, was this 24 episode anime adaption released in 2018 from studio – Hoods Entertainment. This animation studio is still rather new having founded in 2009, but have since done a number of animes including Mysterious Girlfriend X and Drifters, under the name Hoods Drifters Studio. If that wasn’t enough, there was also a live action film adaption released in 2018 under the name “3D Kanojo Riaru Gāru”
Bonus Features Include:
- Clean opening & closing
- A 56 page art booklet and 4 art cards, only available on the BluRay Collectors Edition
What more can I say about ‘Real Girl’? It was a seriously good show, great character development, played out like a more serious teen drama rather than a romantic comedy. Would highly suggest this anime for fans of ‘Golden Time’ and ‘Toradora’. The collector’s edition blu-ray is available right now, with the standard edition being released just in time for Christmas.