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.
Oh dear, it’s a short story volume. Worse, it’s a short story volume that takes place entirely before the lead couple get together. So right after I write a review that basically says “I’m so glad we’re no longer frustrated waiting for these two dipshits to confess”, I get an entire book filled with scenes where these two dipshits are not confessing. So as you can imagine a majority of this volume is filled with short stories where our two leads clean the house, or cook a meal, or play a videogame, and pine for each other. If you enjoyed the earlier volumes, this is great for you, though unfortunately the author’s narrative voice can occasionally make both of them come across as a bit creepy some of the time. Fortunately there are three stories that aren’t about Amane and Mahiru’s relationship, and they actually have plot!
In among the stories I mentioned above, we get three others. The first is Mahiru’s perspective on her childhood, and so as you can imagine is rather sad and depressing. Sometimes trying to be the best so that your parents will notice you simply doesn’t work out. No amount of Angel is going to make her mother care. The second story has Chitose telling a curious Mahiro how she and Itsuki started to date, and it’s much more serious than you’d expect given Chitose’s entire vibe. She was all about track, and did not really care about anything else – but rejecting Itsuki’s confession leads to unforeseen consequences. Then we hear about how Itsuki and Amane became friends, which is also more serious than expected and relies on Amane’s terrible memory for faces.
The whole point of this series is that its two leads are ridiculously pure. Nothing is going to happen, especially in this book, where they aren’t even a couple yet. But it’s still being sold to GA Bunko readers, so a certain amount of horniness is required by publisher statute. As a result, you get a lot of times, pardon me, where you just want to yell at the writer “It’s OK to say erection!”. Several scenes in the book are blatantly Amane getting aroused around Mahiru and feeling embarrassed and awkward about it – the worst of which comes when she sees him, supposedly asleep (he’s faking) and rubbing his exposed stomach… then drifting lower. It really creates this … not quite a “moe gap”, but in that neighborhood, and it makes the two even sweeter, somehow. Still, it’s actually a surprise later in the book when Chitose says “boobs” – and Mahiru’s reaction to this is exactly like Amane’s. As for the serious stories, well, all four leads have gone through major events that have caused them to change the way they behave around others. For Itsuki and Chitose’s that’s been a net positive. Mahiru and Amane are still working their way towards that.
So, short story volume. Fluffy, sweet, a few deep things. Horny, but in a Saturday Morning Cartoon sort of way. Back to being a couple next time.