The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend is an autobiographical manga that was originally self-published online and is now being released under VIZ Media’s VIZ Originals imprint.

The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend
Written by: Mieri Hiranishi
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 14, 2023

Mieri Hiranishi was self-publishing The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend manga online during the COVID-19 pandemic, while having a day job as an office worker in the United States. In the author’s note, Hiranishi says that she started writing the manga because of the pent-up frustrations she had about not being able to find a girlfriend and wanted to make fun of herself for it.

Naturally, the manga starts at the beginning, when Hiranishi realizes that she likes girls, and follows what happens when she develops her first crush on one in college. It’s one of those crushes where she gets to a point where she decides she’s going to try to change who she is in the hopes that it’ll gain her the attention of her crush. But, as you can probably guess, things don’t turn out the way Hiranishi thought they would. Whether you’re gay, straight, or whatever sexual preference you may have, I think most people can relate to Hiranishi’s wanting to be what she thinks her crush wants. Even if you never went to the point of actually trying to change for that person, I think that at some point, most of us wished or wondered if we would be more appealing to the person we were interested in if we made even just a slight change to ourselves.

Hiranishi then details some of her experiences using a dating app while on a trip home to Japan, and it culminates with her meeting a woman named Ash. The two start dating, and they seem to have a great chemistry together. But after they’ve been together a month, it’s time for Hiranishi to return to the United States. But the long distance relationship doesn’t work out, and Ash breaks up with Hiranishi. The rest of the volume focuses on Hiranishi’s desire to try to win Ash back and all the emotions she goes through. Even though the situation doesn’t work out the way Hiranishi hoped it would, we get to see her reach the point of acceptance and doing what she needs to do to improve her own life by putting herself first.

As I read The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend, I found it to be very relatable. What Hiranishi goes through in this manga can be experienced by anyone, regardless of whether they’re gay, straight, lesbian, or whatever their preference may be. At the end of the day, no matter what your sexual preferences are, experiences of love and relationships are universal. I have a feeling that it’s that sense of relatability that helped Hiranishi’s self-published online version of the manga find its success with readers.

Right at first, the art style in the manga might seem a little off-putting. But when you realize that one of Hiranishi’s goals with his manga was to poke fun at herself, it makes the character designs (especially how she designed herself) make a lot of sense. And it also makes sense that she drew both her first crush, as well as Ash, to look “bishonen,” as you can see on the front cover of this manga.

I found The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend to be a quick, yet enjoyable, read. If you have an interest in reading autobiographical manga, then I would suggest giving this title a try.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media