Episode 4 of Girlfriend, Girlfriend is segmented into three parts, with the first probably being one of my favorite scenes of the series thus far. Make no mistake, I love my fair share of absurd comedies from School Rumble to Gamers!. I like shows that relish in the loud, idiotic actions of their characters and how they react to one another. However, I'm also a fan of when characters actually sit down and express how they're feeling, especially when their personal break in status quo forces them to communicate feelings that others might've been blissfully unaware of.
Saki actually explaining how she feels like she doesn't do enough for Naoya, even when it used to be just the two of them, feels like a conversation that most couples should be able to relate to, and I like that this was an instance where Naoya's odd sense of ethics seemed to work against him. He acknowledges the current relationship dynamic isn't necessarily fair to Saki or Nagisa, so he feels the need to punish himself by not asking for anything in return which actually makes sense and even frames some of his actions as a sign of overcompensation. I like how both girls turned that around on him by making it clear that holding back his desires within reason (sorry no threesomes anytime soon, buddy) isn't going to make anybody happy because that's not how a relationship works, poly or otherwise. The whole thing was still presented with the same level of over-the-top absurdity that's been established as a staple of the show's comedy, but this scene felt like we got the best of both worlds with the girls declaring themselves as girlfriends feeling equal parts funny and charming.
The next segment was definitely the least funny and the simplest of the three in terms of setup. Literally the only joke seemed to be that Nagisa is remarkably bad at video games which lost a bit of steam after the beginning. However, the scene still managed to be enjoyable through some cute character interactions between Saki and Nagisa. The two might have declared themselves as rivals, but I think even they underestimate just how close and easy it is for the two to get along. Saki gushing over how cute Nagisa is sometimes sounds like she's just on the cusp of some kind of bisexual awakening, but all joking aside, I can genuinely see a real bond between these two. They already feel like best friends and even though I know the show most likely won't go the full poly route, I can actually see these two softening up to it being a real possibility. Regardless of whatever route the story plans on taking moving forward, the fact that I enjoyed this segment without any major laughs is a testament to everyone's natural chemistry which shouldn't go underappreciated.
The final segment definitely felt the most stock of the three, acting simply as a means to introduce another girl into the fray. However, while the whole setup was also pretty bland to the point where I could call out almost every single story beat that was about to happen, I'd be remiss to not say this was also the segment that got the biggest laughs out of me. I think we all knew it was only a matter of time until other people found out about this relationship dynamic because… yeah these three aren't exactly the brightest stars in the sky, and it stands to reason that they would fall apart easily under the slightest pressure. My favorite gag of the whole episode is probably the one where Naoya explains why he just casually carries around his life savings in case something like this happens. So even though the episode didn't exactly end on as strong of a character note as it started, there was still enjoyment to be had, and if anything, I think this episode best highlights the full gambit of what this show has to offer, from its wacky comedy to its surprisingly interesting moments of introspection to the natural chemistry between characters. Next episode looks like it will shake up the status quo quite a bit right after everyone seemed to establish a place of comfort in this episode and I'm very curious to see how our main trio deals with things to come.
Girlfriend, Girlfriend is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.