There’s No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right?, Vol. 2

By Sekaiichi and Tomari. Released in Japan as “Yujinchara no Ore ga Motemakuru Wakenaidaro?” by Overlap. Released in North America by Tentai Books. Translated by Alejandro de Vicente Suárez.

Once again I am tempted to just copy and paste my review of the first volume here, as it has most of the same strengths and weaknesses. It starts slow and builds to a big finish, does a great job of having our lead character be oblivious to love for a reason other than “because he is a potato” like most harem manga, and is very, very bad at justifying why everyone screams in terror when this tall, dark and handsome man comes anywhere near them. As you might imagine, this second volume focuses on Kana, who spent most of the last book clearly in love with Yuuji but having it come off as fear and hatred to him. But fear not, Touka also has a big role to play as well. And of course, possibly the best reason to read it; it’s a normal teenage romcom with no supernatural powers and a decided lack of deep cynicism. Pre-isekai, this was the big thing.

The plot of this second volume involves Kana’s feeling for Yuuji. She knows he’s dating Touka, so is conflicted. (We know, of course, that he’s in a “fake relationship” with Touka, one she wants to be real but can’t work up the courage to tell him that.) She also has a past friendship with Touka that broke off, so the two aren’t on good terms anymore. And she’s also feeling guilty about something else from her past, something that might explain why she’s fallen for Yuuji so hard, and perhaps how he got the scar that makes his face so “scary”. (Please note scary is used the same way “side character” should be, i.e. in air quotes.) It all comes to a head at a tennis tournament that she invites Yuuji, Touka and Ike (remember Ike?) to. Will she work up the nerve to tell Yuuji that he’s manages to get EVERYTHING wrong about their past and present?

As I noted, I enjoy the interactions between the main cast here. Though I will admit that I am not all that fond of the teacher who has an obvious crush on Yuuji, which does not bode well for a theoretical third volume. Kana and Touka’s fractured friendship makes a lot of sense given both of their characters, and I enjoy how no one is “fixed” but that they’re all still working through their own issues. This includes Yuuji, who has a pathological inability to see anyone having romantic feelings for him at all – indeed, even friendship strikes him as unlikely. I will admit that I’d like to get more inside the head of Ike, who for a supposed “main character” is rather bland and unassuming. Of course, that’s part of the gag – Yuuji continuing to see himself as a side character and not the lead in his own life is why he cannot imagine himself in a relationship, despite, by the end of this book, two girls blatantly throwing themselves at him.

The third book came out in Japan this August, and as predicted, it looks to feature the teacher, so I’m wary. That said, this is a very decent romcom that should appeal to anyone who is a fan of that genre.

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