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The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, REALLY Love You – Episode 4

Hello folks, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I figured we’d take a stroll back to the land of 100 Girlfriends, and see what fresh shenanigans are brewing with Rentaro and his swiftly expanding harem. Our last offered an efficient romance and a preposterously adorable new heroine, as the quiet librarian Shizuka found herself bowled over by Rentaro’s manifold charms. And why not? The dude has clearly got plenty more love to give, as demonstrated through his gallant efforts to allay Shizuka’s troubles with communication.

Rentaro’s commitment to aiding Shizuka seems to point towards a larger theme of the text: his dedication to loving these girlfriends for who they are, and aiding them in their struggles without attempting to fundamentally change them. He is embodying the philosophy of a loving and considerate partner, and though the whole 100 Girlfriends thing makes this all seem a tad farcical, I’m nonetheless beginning to see why folks consider this such an unexpectedly wholesome narrative. Let’s see what new theatrics await for Rentaro and his destined lovers!

Episode 4

“Just When You Think It’s a Hanky-Panky Episode.” Well it’s only episode four, so I wasn’t exactly thinking that. But jeez, does “hanky-panky” parse for the kids these days?

“And this is Yoshimoto Shizuka-san, also my girlfriend.” Mining some strong deadpan gags out of the base absurdity of this formal introduction

We can already see Rentaro’s digitization of Shizuka’s beloved book coming in handy, as she introduces herself while at last maintaining eye contact

“Shizuka-chan uses quotes from her favorite novel series to talk.” Get used to it girls – with ninety-seven more girlfriends to go, things are only going to get quirkier from here

Truly a bold assignment Rikito Nakamura has tasked himself with; most harems run out of conceptual steam after five or six girls, whereas he’ll have to stray far beyond archetypes like “the bookworm” or “the sporty one” to populate his drama

“She does this cute thing with her toes when she’s reading. They move differently depending on how she feels about a particular scene.” Also just a ridiculous flex by Nakamura to include these genuinely convincing flourishes of affection in such a preposterous shell. Many actual, dedicated romances can’t really figure out a reason for their characters to fall in love beyond some arbitrary judgment of “love at first sight.” In contrast, in this story which actually has a mechanical structure for defining soulmates, love is nonetheless characterized as an accumulation of little things you adore, a far more realistic articulation of genuine affection. “I love her” isn’t a meaningful statement to an outsider – “I love this collection of all her idiosyncrasies” actually demonstrates what someone means to you

And of course, he has plenty of similarly distinctive charm points he’s noticed about his prior two girlfriends. I can see we’ll be leaning heavily on the comic one-two punch of “jeez, this guy really knows how to be a good boyfriend…” leading into “…to all of his many, many girlfriends”

Shizuka gets flustered hearing about how the other two have already kissed Rentaro, offering a perfect opportunity to emphasize this show’s delightfully ornate and personality-rich hair

“It’s fine. We can take it slow and steady. And personally, I want to kiss you when you’re ready.” Rentaro understands that everything good about romance is a conversation, a partnership, an equal bond. He would never push one of these girls into something they’re not comfortable with – and not simply because he’s willing to delay his own satisfaction, but because he wants them to experience the greatest possible happiness alongside him

Not only that, his primary concern in this conversation is making sure Shizuka is comfortable with the other two – a fear for which he came prepared with props. He is highly attuned to the feelings of others, and holds them as his top priority even when they’re not around

His thoughts are accompanied by a delightful montage of two businessmen achieving closeness through glorious combat. Really quite the animation flourish for this production, complete with dramatic JoJo shading and plenty of speedlines

“When you’ve exposed your true self to someone, you overcome the fear of meeting them head-on, making it easier to relate.” Rentaro actually offering plenty of valuable lessons for communication. I imagine he’s an inspiration to plenty of readers, essentially attesting that “if Rentaro can accommodate the feelings of one hundred girlfriends, surely I can be a good partner for one person”

He suggests a game of Old Maid where the loser gets tickled by the winner, fostering both communication and physical intimacy. Once again, these girls aren’t just connected through him, they’re all girlfriends to each other as well

Karane and Hakari lose the first two rounds, and of course accept their “punishment” with as much breathless horniness as possible

Shizuka is the first to actually win against Rentaro, but her “tickling” is mostly just poking him in the chest. I actually quite appreciate the distinctions here – it’d be very easy for Rentaro’s girlfriends to sort of collectively fall into a common chorus of the same desires, all of them fighting for precisely the same slice of Rentaro. But Shizuka is less comfortable with and demanding of physical intimacy than the others, which creates some convincing friction and complexity in this drama. 100 Girlfriends almost never takes the easy way out, always attempting to portray the genuine difficulties of making people you care about happy

And of course, Shizuka’s affectation makes Hakari feel insecure, prompting her to wonder if it’s Shizuka’s genuine adorableness that attracts Rentaro, even moreso than her own clearly feigned affectation. Surprisingly thoughtful character work here, even if they’re phrasing it in ways that facilitate jokes

A profile shot of the three girls in a line really emphasizes how Hakari is like, eighty percent thighs by volume. Girl’s got a t-rex physique

And while Hakari keeps her anxieties to herself, the confrontational Karane directly challenges Shizuka on her whole deal. It would be easy for these girls to lose much sense of distinction as the cast piles up, and I hope Nakamura maintains this dedication to letting each of them stand out in their own way

Some unexpected cat sakuga as the nearby kitty notices the tension of the moment. Feels like they just yank in wandering key animators for these little asides – this and the businessman duel are the best-animated segments of this episode

“You’re denying yourself because we’re here, aren’t you!?” Very charming that Karane isn’t mad about a new girl appearing, she’s mad that the new girl is being too conscientious for her sake. Karane demands you claim what you desire boldly!

“It pisses me off, watching you fumble around not saying what you want to say!” Karane attempting to help out in her extremely Karane manner

“Says the girl who’d rather pick a fight than admit how she feels.” Probably good for all future girlfriends that Hakari is here to swiftly deflate Karane’s provocations – though of course, Karane’s initial bluntness is also valuable and important

Fantastic faces as Karane gets genuinely upset at the thought of being a scary person

What Shizuka truly feels is being compared to the other two and found wanting. And of course, her adorable, kind-hearted concerns instantly melt their hearts as well. Shizuka’s a ladykiller!

“In your company, the difference is night and day.” We all carry hidden anxieties and doubts about our validity, but only through expressing those anxieties can we hope to grow closer with the people we love, learning that our fears about their feelings were only ever our own creations. Another preposterously thoughtful lesson for the show about 100 Girlfriends

“I bet he could list dozens of points he likes about you off the top of his head.” He really could, too

Oh my god Rentaro. We learn his toilet trip was actually a carefully calculated move, an attempt to let his girlfriends earnestly express their disagreements with each other, and thereby grow closer. An act of faith in all of them, just another way he’s the ultimate boyfriend

“I have to make their kindness count.” Tickle the shit out of him, Shizuka!

And as it turns out, Shizuka actually does want a kiss too

Welp, we broke Shizuka

And Done

Thus we conclude on kisses for everyone, and three thoroughly flustered girlfriends! Once again, I find myself impressed by this show’s ability to dig into some poignant, fundamental concerns regarding trust and intimacy while still retaining its inherently ridiculous premise and perspective. Whereas many harems tend to silo their various girls into distinct, parallel relationships, 100 Girlfriends is committed to creating a genuine trusting, affectionate bond between all of its romantic partners, ensuring Shizuka, Hakari, and Karane are as charmed by each other as they are by the ever-thoughtful Rentaro. Who would have thought the story about gaining one hundred simultaneous girlfriends would articulate such a healthy perspective on romantic partnership? I’m so happy for all of them!

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