Light Novel Vol. 1 Review: The Sidekick Never Gets the Girl, Let Alone the Protag’s Sister!

When I offered this review to Fen her response was…

…unenthusiastic.

Which was about what I expected. I picked the title from the list of upcoming releases on Bookwalker specifically because it looked like it would either be the deranged ramblings of a bitter incel who watches way too much anime at worst, or a teenager’s admirable first attempt at a meta narrative at …best(?). I was hoping, at the very least, that I’d be able to have a grand ol’ time making fun of it.

Point being, it wasn’t supposed to be good.

so go read the book and come back

It’s by no means a masterpiece: The narration is rambling and meta to the point of being insufferable at times and the episodic nature means that some plot threads get resolved way too easily while others don’t get resolved at all. Plus, while much is made of Kaito and Kou being best friends, they don’t really interact all that often, which may be the unfortunate side affect of Kaito being intended as a more typical light novel protagonist type, which is to say, dull as a box of rocks and with a fraction the charisma.

Aside from that, though, this book is a surprisingly entertaining and engaging read. Once more characters get introduced and the over-written narration starts turning into over-written banter, it beings to gradually shift from tedious…

this continues in this vein for another three or four pages before the girl actually shows up and something happens

…to endearing…

this is cute

…and I like that the teacher does not for an instant entertain the notion of being a creep.

And that’s just the romcom stuff! The light novel doubles as an isekai story; or, more accurately, an isekai afterstory. It’s not the first work of fiction to explore the concept of “hey, being taken away from everything and everyone you know and forced to fight monsters to the death would be kinda not fun actually,” but the idea of the former Hero deciding that if his life must be a genre fiction, it may as well be one where no one gets permanently hurt makes for some fun character drama, especially when the other characters decide they’re not interested in being pigeonholed.

acknowledgement of a waifu as a complete person with her own thoughts, feelings, and interiority? in MY light novel?? it’s more likely than you’d think!

Ultimately, your enjoyment of the book will hinge largely on whether or not you can grow to actually like Kou, which can be a bit…difficult. Even aside from his often-annoying commentary, he’s a manipulative little shit with more toxic coping mechanisms than a thirty-something anime reviewer. If you can look past his many, many flaws (which, to his credit, he does recognize as such), you’ll likely find the book to be often funny and occasionally heartwarming/-breaking. It’s a quick read–I was able to finish it in about twelve nonconsecutive hours–and as soon as I finished it I pre-ordered the next volume, so yeah. Check it out (or wait for the inevitable anime adaptation looming on the horizon in the next year or two, though it will almost certainly be a huge disappointment).

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