By Toshizo and U35. Released in Japan as “Shinyuu Mob no Ore ni Shujinkou no Imouto ga Horeru Wake ga Nai” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tristan K. Hill.
This book continues to be very good at not really doing what I would like it to do. I had expected, after the climax of the first book, that we’d be seeing a lot of fallout, or at least evidence that memory-erasing magic does not really work all that well in modern-day Japan. But no, we don’t even SEE the little sister again till the second half of the book, and while her fate is a big part of the plot, it’s somewhat secondary to the romcom antics. This is especially annoying as we get an excellent start to the book where we see, in the fantasy world Kou was sent to, exactly how he managed to get traumatized and have complete disaster befall him. It’s a bit rushed, but heartbreaking. Unfortunately, the author likes using it as flavor text for their real ambition: a standard high school harem comedy. And I have bad news for them, other authors are better at that.
After using magic that really should not be used in this world to wipe Hikari’s memories of him, Kou ends up sick as a dog, and also flashing back to the girl he fell in love with in the fantasy world, Rei… as well as her brutal murder, complete with dying in his arms. That said, he really can’t reflect too hard on that when both Kiryu AND Renge show up to care for him. This is especially bad in Renge’s case, as she’s a terrible cook! Oh no! This amazingly cliched scene is broken up by, of all things, the naked sexual assault guy from the start of Book 1, who shows up (clothed) and smashes a durian all over Kou and Kou’s room, I know, stay with me. After a chase, which ends up roping in Kazuki, his athletic kohai, he finds that this world and the fantasy world are more connected than he thought. But there’s no time to dwell on THAT – finals are coming up! Study group!
As you can see, the book is trying to hit every single groan-worthy high school romantic comedy cliche there is. They don’t do a bad job of having the characters go through the motions, but they don’t add anything interesting to the genre either. Kazuki has a mom. She’s hot, and teasing. Kou is bad at studying and on the verge of failure. Et cetera. I wouldn’t be complaining nearly as much if it weren’t taking away from the actual interesting parts of the book. Kou’s avoidance tactics and trauma are fascinating! The way that the weird pervert from the start of Book 1 ties into the fantasy world is something I really want to hear about… till it is thrown away because they can’t discuss it in front of “civilians”. It *is* made clear that Hikari is (no big spoiler here, it’s obvious) the reincarnation of his fantasy love… but then the book ends. Sigh.
I’m sure you’re reading this and wondering why I’m so annoyed, rather than just mildly disappointed. m Well, it’s mostly because the novel series ends here. The webnovel apparently went to a decent conclusion, but PASH! Books has shown no signs of publishing any more in print form, which probably means Japanese readers were as frustrated as I was. There’s an interesting story here that’s struggling to get past the author shoehorning in their favorite scenes from 2006 comedy anime. But… grr.