One of the most unexpected surprises this season has been Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, a fairly lighthearted show about a girl who really loves Ramen. However we’re not here today to talk about Koizumi-san herself. Instead we’re going to talk about Oosawa Yuu, who is our main viewpoint into the world of Koizumi-san and a girl who really, really loves Koizumi.
There is a fairly standard trope in anime (and other media, but anime likes this one a lot) best described as the “Comedy Lesbian”. Not all Comedy Lesbians are the same, but there are some fairly standard markers. One of the big ones is general just being “inappropriate”. Whether it be groping of other girls’ breasts or just lots of talk about their bodies, they clearly cross the line in sexually suggestive ways. They also often are focused on a single other girl, to the exclusion of all else. Their target almost never reciprocates and frequently will tell them to stop, for all the good it does. The target can also often be inappropriate due to age, this is very common with older Comedy Lesbians.
However, the prime marker of a Comedy Lesbian is that the joke can always be boiled down to “Haha they’re a lesbian and that’s funny”. Their feelings are never considered to be valid, regardless of how they are expressed or who they are expressed to. The joke is that they have these feelings for another girl at all. Perhaps the most well-known Comedy Lesbian, at least in recent times, is Shirai Kuroko from the To Aru Majutsu no Index/To Aru Kagaku no Railgun franchise. She hits more than a few of these, and is an excellent example if you want to know what this looks like.
I bring this up because Oosawa Yuu is, almost miraculously, not a Comedy Lesbian.
You would totally expect her to fall right into this trope. The first episode is all about her obsessing over Koizumi, following her around and trying to express her (explicitly romantic) feelings. To the point where several reviewers pointed out that this is pretty problematic behavior on her part. Koizumi told her multiple times to stop, even explicitly to “stop stalking her”. But then the show did something interesting. Episode 2 stepped away from Yuu and focused on Koizumi interacting with two of Yuu’s friends, Misa and Jun. Misa and Jun don’t have any romantic interest in Koizumi, they just find her somewhat interesting, and also wonder why Yuu likes her so much.
Episode 3 returns us to Yuu’s point of view, she’s somewhat chastened, her two friends having established something like actual friendships with Koizumi, while she remains rejected, out in the cold. At no point has Yuu’s feelings for Koizumi been mocked, either explicitly by another character or implicitly due to framing. The fact that she’s a girl, who is in love with another girl, is never treated like a joke. This is important. The joke is “Yuu tries to appeal to Koizumi and fails, in a comedic fashion”. Them both being girls is essentially irrelevant. Basically every gag would work if Yuu were a male character, though it would have made episode 1 even more uncomfortable to watch, to be fair.
At any rate, episode 3 has two big breakthroughs. First, Koizumi acquiesced to going to a restaurant with Yuu, but due to how it was set up, they couldn’t sit together. This forced Yuu to experience the ramen, not just the ramen as an adjunct with being near Koizumi. Later on, Yuu finds Koizumi collapsed on the sidewalk (due to hunger), Yuu carries her back to her apartment, where she proceeds to prepare several homemade ramen dishes (using instant ramen as a base). By experiencing the ramen Koizumi enjoys, but without Koizumi’s presence, and making ramen for Koizumi, Yuu for the first time sees Koizumi as a whole person, not just the object of her crush. Koizumi, for her part, is warming up a bit to Yuu. She leaves a mess of ramen shop coupons in Yuu’s locker as thanks for the ramen Yuu made for her.
While Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san is not a romance show, the fact that it doesn’t fall into the easy Comedy Lesbian trope is a breath of fresh air. The type of show it is lends itself to that kind of characterization, and “Yuu likes Koizumi but they are both girls haha!” is a lot easier than “Yuu likes Koizumi and learns to express that in a healthier manner”. Here’s to hoping the show keeps this up, and even if Yuu doesn’t get the girl, she’ll at least have lots of good ramen. And you know what they say, the path to a girl’s heart is through her stomach!