RJ Writing Ink’s Candid Review of The 100 Girlfriends Who Really REALLY Love You
Most anime watchers know, or at least have heard, of the premise behind the harem anime. An everyday protagonist suddenly themselves the center of attention amongst a group of attractive people. Said attractive people are all in love with or interested in them for various reasons. And hilarity ensues as they try to maintain some sense of normalcy in their lives. The formula gets tweaked somewhat, but the premise remains, and it can be a guilty pleasure because
A.) their quality varies from amazing to absolute garbage, with the same going for the characters
B.) the protagonist doesn’t pick their single partner.
C.) said chosen partner isn’t who the viewer considers best girl.
But what if there was a harem anime that didn’t do all that nonsense? A harem anime that goes out of its way to avoid the pitfalls of its counterparts while also playing the genre’s strengths to Mt. Everest levels of silliness? And most importantly, one with a protagonist who is a true CHAD and considers every girl to be best? That anime is here and it sets the new standard for harem anime: The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You.
The Beginning of CHADom
Meet Rentaro Aijo, a boy going into high school who only wants one thing in life: to experience love. Unfortunately, despite his good looks, friendly personality, and natural charisma, he’s been rejected by every girl he’s confessed to. All one hundred of them! So, he goes to a local shrine and prays to whoever’s listening to give him a girlfriend. Then, the shrine’s Love God appears and lets him know the good news. Hes not destined to meet his soulmate in high school: he’s destined to meet 100 soulmates!
One month later, Rentaro’s at his first day of high school when he runs into two beautiful girls: Hakari Hanazono and Karane Inda. And the two fall for him on the spot and beg him to date one of them. Rentaro is over the moon! But he can’t choose. That’s when the Love God drops some harsh truths. Firstly, he was only meant to have one soulmate, but due to a clerical error via watching a Miyazaki film, he wrote 100. Secondly, rejecting one’s soulmate will rob a person of all their luck. And they will eventually die.
So what does Rentaro do? Does he:
A.) Waffle on the decision like other harem protagonists?
B.) Only choose one and knowingly sentence 99 other girls to death?
C.) Date them behind each other’s backs like a scumbag
D.) None of the above
The answer is D.) none of the above. In the first of countless moments that demonstrate his CHADness, Rentaro tells them that he’s gonna date both of them because he loves And just to prove how serious he is, he gives them these four-leaf clovers they spent hours looking for yesterday because they heard it would set them up with their love!
And just like that, Rentaro starts his path toward gathering a harem of 100 girls so they won’t die.
You’re not dealing with your average harem anime.
At first glance, 100 Girlfriends might seem like another harem anime. However, once one enters the story, they will find it’s anything but. It improves on many of the genre’s strengths for the sake of storytelling and comedy. At the same time, it also ensures that it avoids the many pitfalls people have with the genre. In other words, it’s built different, and here’s why.
Exhibit A-Rentaro is a CHAD among CHADS
There have been a lot of different harem protagonists over the years, but a big problem is that a lot of them seem like bland, uninspired, cookie cutter self-inserts. Some examples stand out, like Issei Hyoudou, Tenchi Masaki, and Yuuki Rito, but they can even have their problems. Rentaro, on the other hand, is built different.
Firstly, he’s not a dense kind of protagonist who isn’t unaware that the girls are in love with him. Rentaro’s fully aware of their feelings for him and schemes they come up with to get closer to him, and is openly receptive to them.
Secondly, he is not passive; he is active. He spent years bettering himself to be the ideal boyfriend, which shows. He will go out of his way to ensure each growing harem is happy, even at his own expense.
Argue about who gets his first kiss? He’ll devise a way to ensure they can all share the honor.
Have trouble talking out loud? He’ll transcribe your favorite book into a text-to-speech app for you to communicate. By hand!
Sees some creep trying to put hands on his girlfriends? He’ll come back from death to save them!!
Plus, unlike someone like Issei, he always acts like a true gentleman and treats his girlfriends with the utmost respect. He doesn’t play favorites; he loves them all equally. He is the ideal that every boyfriend or husband should aspire to. He is the true CHAD, the ultimate rizz-god, CHADtaro Aijo!
Exhibit B-The Series Deconstructs a lot of Waifu Archetypes
Given the series premise, its inevitable that it will come to include a lot of character archetypes. In a break from many harem anime, though, 100 Girlfriends doesn’t include them simply for the sake of it, but deconstructs them. It shows the real effects each archetype would have on people; not all are pretty.
Hakari acts prim and proper like the perfect girl on the outside, but on the inside, she’s very perverted and keeps imagining lewd ways to earn Rentaro’s attention.
Karane Inda is a tsundere, which makes it hard for her to express her true feelings, even when she wants to. Imagine how hard that must be for someone to endure daily?
Shizuka Yoshimoto is a cute girl who hardly ever talks, but not by choice. Her natural shyness already made it hard to speak up, but getting bullied and called a freak by other people, including her mom, made it even worse.
Nano Eiai is like a Vulcan, suppressing her emotions in favor of logic. While that helps her natural intelligence, it also stunts her emotions to the point that she doesn’t know how to respond to love or friendship.
Kusuri Yakusen is a chemistry genius stuck in a loli form, a jab at the whole “legal loli” thing. On top of this, her mad scientist tendencies led her friends to abandon her. A drug she made that the girls accidentally ingest turned them into kiss zombies bent on making out with Rentaro at the cost of their personalities.
And…I’m not gonna spoil who the sixth one is or her problems.
And unlike many other girls in harem anime, meeting Rentaro doesn’t magically fix their problems. Rentaro may help them, but they are still things they have to actively work on. That fact alone gives them way more depth than most girls.
Exhibit C- It follows Through on its Premise, and Treats Everyone Equally
The title isn’t just for show. It fully intends to give Rentaro 100 girlfriends before the end of the series. By this point in the manga, CHADtaro is already at 27 girls. It’s likely that by the end of the series, it won’t include every kind of waifu. It might have to make some up. In addition, the story makes its intent known by the time the anime ends. It’s not just limiting the waifus to Rentaro’s age range. All types of waifus are on the table!
And remember what was said about every girl being best girl here? The series follows through on that, and so does Rentaro. He loves all his girlfriends equally and never favors one over the other. Even protagonists who embrace having a harem have a girl they love the most. But Rentaro is filled with so much love, he can love all of them. Nobody gets left out in the Rentaro family!
100 Girlfriends is the Pinnacle of Harem Anime
Harem anime hasn’t always gotten the best rep. At best, it’s wishful thinking. At worst, it feels like self-insert fiction for those who can’t find love. But 100 Girlfriends isn’t just wishful thinking or a mere self-insert story.
100 Girlfriends is built different. It takes everything good about the harem anime and elevates it to new levels of romantic comedy. It makes fun of the genre while also furthering its evolution. That’s the feat that only a great story can pull off. And the main character has the kind of rizz every guy wants.
In other words, 100 Girlfriends was one of the best anime of 2023. Go watch it on Crunchyroll. You will not regret it!