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Mieri Hiranishi: The Girl That Can Get an Interview

Mieri Hiranishi: The Girl That Can Get an Interview

To get over an ex, some turn to fun activities or -- in worse cases -- hit the sauce too hard. Not Mieri Hiranishi, who took her heartache and transformed it into her debut manga The Girl That Can't Get a Girlfriend. What started as a way to heal from a recent breakup transformed into a story that felt close to home to many readers. After spending years as a web manga, VIZ Media recently put it to book form for more eyes to see Hiranishi's relatable story. Via the powers of the Internet, I had the chance to ask Hiranishi about the book's release, alongside questions about how one gets over a broken heart.

First off, congrats for publishing The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend in book form! How are you feeling now that’s it’s out there for everyone to read?

Thank you so much! I see pictures of people holding their copies on social media and it feels surreal! I haven’t gone to the book store yet but hope to in the near future!

What spawned the idea to tell your story? Was there a moment in your life that triggered the desire to share it with everyone?

I had pent up feelings/frustrations about dating for a while and I decided to make it into a comic because I don’t like venting to people close to me in real life! Opening up to internet strangers felt fine because I didn’t really care what they thought of me 😂 I tried to make it as entertaining as possible though and thankfully, people seemed to like it!

Was creating The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend therapeutic for you? Were there moments that helped give clarity to some of your rougher situations?

Yes, definitely!  Sometimes you need to vent but you don’t want to burden people close to you so writing was a great way for me to release those feelings!  It was a great chance to analyze my past situations and feelings and think about why I was feeling a certain way and it definitely gave clarity to why I felt hurt and betrayed at certain times!

How would you compare dating in America to dating in Japan, especially as someone in the LGBTQ+ community?

When I’m on dating apps in America, it feels like everybody smokes weed and is polyamorous - which makes it very difficult to date for me (personally, I’m just not into those things). It feels pretty impossible to find anybody that fits my ideals in America, so I likely will never find a girlfriend as long as I live here! I find it relatively easier to swipe right in dating apps in Japan because those things are almost non-existent and there’s a lot more people with a similar mindset/cultural background as me. I feel like I don’t really relate to the LGBT community in America (nor do I have much in common with the people here) so I prefer dating in Japan!

The dating scene is a rough sea to traverse, and perhaps that’s what made The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend a very relatable story to me. (In fact, I muttered, “Did I write this?” often when reading it!) How often do you hear from others that have shared similar experiences as yours?

Lots and lots, thankfully! It seems like embarrassment, heartbreak and disappointment are pretty universal feelings. It does make me feel a little better that I’m not the only one feeling like a clown in the dating scene!

Manga has become a go-to for members of the LGBTQ+ community to tell their story, from Kabi Nagata’s many stories to Chii’s The Bride Was a Boy. Do you feel that the visual aspect of manga really helps to convey what happens to people in that community better, especially in Japan?

Definitely! I think having pictures makes it easier to digest (people have really short attention spans nowadays and can’t be bothered to read a wall of text) and having visuals to go along with the story can certainly intrigue people! Manga is a very flexible storytelling medium and I’m glad lots of people are utilizing it to get their stories out!

There are some pretty humorous moments in The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend. How often did you reflect on your past self and ask, “What the heck was I thinking?!”

Frequently, and I still ask myself that question every day! My brain never grew wrinkles, unfortunately.

What would you say was the most euphoric moment when writing The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend? What felt great to finally get off your chest and present it to the world?

The most euphoric moment was when I turned the final manuscripts in after completing all of the edits! I had about 500+ edits for a 208 pg book and I was so sick and tired of working on this so I was relieved to be done! In terms of story - I thought the scene where Mieri releases all of her anger about Ash would be more cathartic but I actually had difficulty making that scene coherent so it wasn’t as relieving as I thought it would be! It’s hard to strike a balance between letting all of your feelings out vs keeping it an entertaining, concise work that doesn’t feel overly ranty.

To this day, is there anything in The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend that you still find difficulty talking about, even after putting it to paper?

Not really! My experiences are now a form of entertainment, rather than just a painful past! I’ve vented my heart out in the book so I have no residual feelings left - all of the pain has been left in the past now.

Knowing how tough things got from what you told in you’re story, I’m wondering how you are holding up these days. Have you found a healthy dose of happiness in your life?

I’m surprisingly very happy with my life right now despite not having a girlfriend for about 8 years now! I do get lonely from time to time but I’m generally content being with my family and being alone - I also have tons of hobbies and things that I want to accomplish so I’m always busy! Recently Final Fantasy 14 has brought me tons of joy in my life - it’s an amazing game with attractive NPCs and I recommend everybody plays it (it even has a free trial up to level 60)!

Have you found closure in certain things when writing (i.e. getting over Ash), or is it still a work-in-progress for you?

I have found 100% closure over Ash by writing this comic - I never really think about her anymore! Writing truly is therapy and I recommend it to anybody who has pent up feelings about something!

When did VIZ Media come into the picture? Were you taken by surprise by their interest in The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend?

I think it was around the summer of 2021? My editor reached out to me via email and said that she wanted to work together, which was very surprising!

For newcomers to The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend, what do you hope they take away from your experiences after reading them?

I don’t have a specific message/meaning that I wish for people to take away - it’s up to reader interpretation! I just hope it influences them in some kind of positive way.

What’s next for you? Do you see yourself continuing the autobiographical manga route, or are you hoping to expand into the realm of fiction?

I would prefer to draw something fictional next, but I’m open to doing autobiographical as well! Regardless, I want to write something I’m proud of and something that’s not specifically in the romance genre (action, sci-fi, or fantasy would be cool!).

Finally, what would you like to say to your many readers, especially those who’ve been following The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend since its web manga origins?

Thank you for supporting The Girl That Can’t Get a Girlfriend! This manga wouldn’t have been made into a book if it wasn’t for you so I’m really grateful. I truly appreciate you taking your valuable time and hard-earned money to read my manga! I hope you enjoyed it and hope we cross paths in the future again 🙂

Special thanks to Mandy Earles and Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media for helping to set up this interview! Follow Mieri Hiranishi on Twitter, YouTube, and Patreon!

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)