#1 Accidental Genderbending
Girl Meets Girl is a 2006 romance anime that kicks off with a bizarre premise. Hazumu Osaragi is a young high school boy who just has run away from home after being rejected by his crush. While he wanders around the local forest to process his feelings, a spaceship then crashes down from outer space, presumably killing him instantly.
The aliens rush to fix him back up, but in doing so mistake his gender, turning Hazumu into a girl. This change is completely irreversible, so the aliens broadcast an apology throughout Earth before beaming her back down to the surface. Hazumu becomes an international sensation—the former man who established contact with an alien civilization—even though all she wants to do is figure out how to live this new life.
Her cautious optimism towards the sudden change in gender makes Hazumu an enjoyable protagonist. It’s fun watching her figure out how to behave and dress like a girl, as well as all the other challenges that girlhood brings. At the same time, the warm reception she receives makes Girl Meets Girl a surprisingly wholesome anime for the trans community. Everybody is just really cool with Girl Hazumu; accepting her in female spaces, addressing her by the right pronouns, and being generally supportive of her.
#2 Bisexual love triangles
Even before she was turned into a girl, Hazumu was in a strange place romantically. She was in love with the beautiful Yasuna Kamiizumi, who turned Boy Hazumu down at the start of the story. Unbeknownst to Hazumu at the time, her childhood friend Tomari Kurusu had a crush on her, which persists even in this new gender. Problem is: Yasuna has changed her mind and is now interested too.
Yasuna and Tomari make for fun opposites. Yasuna is beautiful and elegant, but both physically and emotionally fragile. By comparison, Tomari is an athletic tomboy with a lot confidence, except for when it comes to expressing her feelings. While Yasuna actively tries to get closer to Hazumu, Tomari is reluctant and coy.
The girls both have strong synergy with Hazumu, but also between each other. Their relationship constantly fluctuates, sometimes approaching friendship while at other times becoming openly competitive. This is then further complicated by Asuta Soro, Hazumu’s long-time buddy who finds himself falling in love now that his best friend has become such a cute girl.
#3 Mild sci-fi elements
So what about those aliens? Well, a little manslaughter needn’t get in the way of their research and they just found a perfect Human specimen. The alien scientist Hitoshi Sora soon moves in with Hazumu’s family, where he then proceeds to make a general menace of himself.
He and his ship’s AI become a reliable source of comedy that sometimes, though rarely, help out with the plot. They become particularly invested in Hazumu’s emotional state, so they encourage her romantic troubles and increasingly invade her personal life. Not out of malice, of course. It’s just science!
They also attempt to learn more about Earth culture, mainly by trying to partake in it. This leads to many misunderstandings as they mess up important nuances, like bringing actual monsters to a haunted house. Their role in the story is quite important and they are funny characters, but Girl Meets Girl also knows when to keep them in the background. These sci-fi elements are novel, but the romance story always takes center stage.
Girl Meets Girl also has a lot of slapstick comedy in it, owing to the fun dynamics between its characters. A lot of these jokes will feel somewhat traditional, maybe even old-fashioned, but I personally quite enjoyed them.
Tomari and Asuta are a good example. Asuta is a traditional “boys will be boys” kinda guy; a bit of a perv who hoards sexy magazines, but has little to no spine when dealing with real women. His pervy tendencies frequently earn him a beatdown courtesy of Tomari, which become more frequent as he attempts to court Hazumu post-transformation.
Similar fates befall Hazumu’s perverted dad—policed by her mother—as well as the class’s teacher, a hopeless romantic whose fantasies often put her in mortal danger.
#5 Mental Baggage & Character Drama
Though Girl Meets Girl has a lot of comedy in it, a comedy anime it is not. The rivalries for Hazumu’s affection conjure forth a lot of emotion, which in turn sparks some serious drama between the characters. When this then intersects with their mental baggage, the results tend to get ugly fast.
This is most obvious in Yasuna’s case. We soon learn that her unsociable behavior is rooted in psychological issues stemming from her past. Hazumu’s crush on her already stirred up her mental state, but as she finds herself reciprocating those feelings, Yasuna becomes dependent on Hazumu. This isn’t just a battle for love to her, it’s a struggle for her mental well-being. But is that truly fair to Hazumu?
Tomari has her own share of anxieties to work through, but also becomes increasingly jealous. She has been by Hazumu’s side since forever, so their romance has been budding for years. Yasuna feels like an invasive disruption to her. A girl that has everything which Tomari lacks, swooping in to steal Hazumu away from her.
The last few episodes ramp up the emotions considerably, concluding on an ending that genuinely left me stunned.