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.
Sometimes all it takes is a little validation. For this entire series we’ve been watching Amane struggle to imagine anyone thinking of him in any positive way whatsoever, and we also got little flashes back to his past to show what happened to make him think this way. But now Mahiru is his girlfriend, and the two of them are a lovey-dovey couple, and all of a sudden he’s become a really amazing boyfriend, to an almost jaw-dropping degree. His tendency towards logically thinking things out and never being impulsive now allows him to, both consciously and unconsciously, seduce Mahiru completely. And frankly, thank God, because it was my main complaint with this series (and many others – a lot of these ‘sweet couple’ series have self-loathing as the guy’s main flaw). That said, that’s still one side of the equation. Mahiru’s past, of course, is arguably even worse, but – despite the last chapter in this particular volume – we have a ways to go before those demons are banished.
The first half of this book continues Amane and Mahiru’s visit to stay with his parents over summer break, and it’s basically a cavalcade of sweet moments, including looking at cute childhood moments, going shopping and buying cute outfits… and also settling things with one of his old best friends, who ended up abandoning him when everything went town in Amane’s past. (Amane’s response is, frankly, a bit logical and cold, but also very in character.) They then go back home and have summer homework… which everyone has done but Chitose, so it’s mostly an excuse to watch her suffer for humor purposes. And then it’s off to a festival, which is mostly there to have everyone realize that Amane is fully invested in Boyfriend Mode, and it can be terrifying. That said, family matters crop up at the end, as Mahiru’s father wants to meet… with Amane.
We do get suggestions of the ongoing plot with this series’ secondary couple, though the series is assuming you read the short story volume that came out right before this. It feels appropriate given this is a sweet love story between couples in high school that a lot of the conflict arises from parents, be it mild (too much teasing from Amane’s mother) to serious (everything about Mahiru’s childhood). Chitose’s issue falls somewhere in between the two, and is also easily the most relatable. She’s in love with her boyfriend and wants to make a life with him, but his father thinks she’s not good enough for him. I expect we may see more of that later on. As for Mahiru’s dad, there’s a lot of “I’m trying, but it’s a bit too late and I know it will make no difference” to this. Which, um, also feels very, very real to me. I wonder if the next major arc will involve Mahiru managing to come to terms with things?
There’s a whole lot of syrupy sweetness I just skipped over, because why review that? But trust me, it’s there. For those who enjoy “I got the perfect girlfriend” series.