Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance, Vol. 1

By Rin Murakami and Mako Tatekawa. Released in Japan as “Dousei kara Hajimaru Otaku Kanojo no Tsukurikata” by Fujimi Fantasia Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Marco Godano.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t read everything. I don’t even read every first volume anymore, which I tried to do for a while, and my ‘should I check this out?’ meter has gotten higher, meaning less “I was the absolute worst talent, only it turned out it was the best” style books. (Well, excepting the ones I’ve already started.) That said, I have been trying to do every Vol. 1 of non-fantasy novels, simply because they’re still a refreshing minority in a sea of isekai and villainesses. It’s a good plan, and I’m usually happy, but sometimes I hit a series that is not for me, like this one. It’s not a bad series, and it certainly should appeal to its market, but it just didn’t grab me. The hero and heroine both clearly have room to grow over the course of this five-volume series, but (especially in regards to the guy) it’s not enough to make me want to read more. Still, that’s me. If you like otaku and high school romance, this is fine.

Kagetora is our male protagonist. He’s that guy. You know, you’ve seen anime. Kinda schlubby. Giant nerd, loves his manga, games and porn. Has no girlfriend, and bemoans the fact, but his standards are too high. He wants a girlfriend who will tolerate his otaku hobbies. Then he meets Kokoro, a popular girl who turns out to have a secret otaku habit herself. She wants the same thing he does – a guy who will understand her love for her own genres. Trouble is, her expectations for a boyfriend are just as out of sync as his. What starts as snapping and griping at each other, then turns into a decision to help each other out, finally gets far more serious when, owing to a wacky situation (TM), they end up living together in Kagetoro’s house while their families are overseas. Can they teach the other person how to appeal more to someone of the opposite sex? Or perhaps… the two of them are perfect for each other?

I don’t know how this actually ends in Japan, but I will be very, very surprised if the two of them don’t end up with each other. Most of the book shows off that they have quite good chemistry, which they mostly tend to ignore, and they also look out for each other, which is great. Kagetoro took longer to warm up to me, as he has a few qualities that I frankly hate in otaku guys, and the word “slutty” is thrown around far too often. Kokoro is more likeable, but also has her issues, though they tend to be more of the standard “has a sharp tongue” sort – this series is written for guys, after all, and you don’t want a heroine who will turn off the audience. (A hero who does, of course, is acceptable – at least in this way.) Over the course of the book, they try dating via game parties (disaster), otaku meetups (mostly a disaster, though we get a bit of a cliffhanger in regards to his date), and advice. Still, Tomozaki this ain’t.

Again, it didn’t really put too many feet wrong. And it’s not too long. If you like the genre, this is worth reading. But not my thing.

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