By Saekisan and Hanekoto. Released in Japan as “Otonari no Tenshi-sama ni Itsu no Ma ni ka Dame Ningen ni Sareteita Ken” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Nicole Wilder.
There is a trope sometimes known as Moonlighting Syndrome, named after the 80s TV show, which refers to a series failing because the romantic couple got together and all the tension was removed from the show. Leaving aside that this is not at all why Moonlighting failed, I think it’s a trope that is honored more in the breach than in the observance. It also depends on the genre. If this were a standard harem comedy, with Amane attracting the love of five or six different girls, then the one where he picks one would definitely be the final volume. Fortunately, this is not that, it’s a syrupy sweet relationship book. In fact, the thing that separates this from the pack is how long it’s actually taken Amane and Mahiru to get together. But at last Mahiru has managed to convey her feelings and the two of them are dating, and so now we can finally answer the age old question the above trope asks: now what?
Well, first of all, they’ve got to let the school know that they’re dating. OK, they don’t HAVE to do this, but given how much they accidentally flirt with each other constantly now, it will become rapidly apparent anyway. Surprisingly, it goes very smoothly – Amane is serious and withdrawn rather than a “loser protagonist”, so doesn’t get as much backlash as expected for dating the Angel of the school. Plus she’ll kill anyone who tries to get on his case about it with an angelic (fake) smile. After this there’s two more important relationship goals to conquer. Going to the local pool, which will involve swimsuits and attractive bodies. And going back home to visit Amane’s parents, which will involve a lot of Amane getting teased, but also an encounter that will hopefully let him close the book on his past trauma.
Generally speaking, whenever you have these “my personality is broken because of kids in my past”, you are inevitably going to meet those kids again. So the question is will it be the “it turns out we were really sad about what we did and want to apologize” version or the “no, we really are massive assholes” version. Angel Next Door takes the latter tack, and it’s probably for the best. Amane’s psychological damage has been what’s held the romance back in the first place, so having it be due to a misunderstanding wouldn’t have worked. That said, instead of a past trauma, we have a new enemy for readers: Amane and Mahiru’s own innate pureness. It takes the entire volume for them to get around to a kiss on the lips, and you get the sense that any sexual activity will be long after this series has finished. This is syrupy sweet romance, but that means you have to put up with them being two massive cinnamon rolls.
So still decent, if you can put up with the two leads being gaga over each other but rarely getting past the “holding hands” part.