By Dojyomaru and Kou Kusaka. Released in Japan as “Yashiro-kun no Ohitori-sama Kouza” by Overlap Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Andria McKnight.
Allow me to quote the end of my review of Yashiro-kun’s Guide to Going Solo: “This is a single volume – it wouldn’t work as a continuing series.” And now there’s a second volume, and it’s FINE, I guess, but after reading it I still stand by that sentence. This book did not need to be written. It sort of reminds me of what Nisioisin said about Nisemonogatari, where he claims to have written it for fun and never intended it to be published. Now, I’m fairly sire that’s bullshit in regards to the Monogatari Series, but this book has the same feel. There’s tons of in-jokes and references (yes, Souma from Realist Hero shows up again), there’s lots of meandering cute conversations, and we get to see more of the girl who was the “mystery” of the first book. But there’s no real plot here, because the series has nowhere further to go. Not even a flashforward showing married with children can really help there. It is a good, but superfluous, book.
After said flashforward, we get the bulk of the book, which involves a field trip to Kamakura. During this trip, everyone has to form a group, so we get Yashiro and Nue, Kanon and Chikaze, and Yukito and that new girl, Yuzuki. That said, the group has to prove they’re together at the start and end of the day, but in between can do whatever they want. So everyone breaks off to do things separately… but ends up in groups of two regardless. Kanon and Nue end up traveling to a hot spring together, Yashiro and Chikaze go on a mountain hike, and Yukito and Yuzuki go on what is totally not a date. In the end, fun is had and they all return home, with the main thing happening being that Kanon has gotten Nue to open up a little more to her.
There is some good characterization here, though as with the previous book it sometimes suffers because of its odd premise (loner nerds are now admired while popular kids are pitied, in case you’d forgotten). After discovering that Yashiro actually has had a girlfriend all along, the two girls who were falling for him have to get over him. Kanon does this pretty much immediately, and her scenes with Nue were probably the book’s highlight. Chikaze takes longer, and has to have it ground into her head a bit how soppy Yashiro is for his girlfriend before she lets it go. Also, some of the in-jokes really land well – I loved Yashiro and Nue imagining what would have happened if Nue had met Kanon before she met Yashiro, and the answer is “this would be a Manga Time Kirara series instead”.
The author wants to write more, but admits that this does not sell nearly as well as Realist Hero, so it’s unlikely. If you like plotless meandering with cute teenagers, this is a good read. But was this trip really necessary?