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

By Toshizo and U35. Released in Japan as “Shinyuu Mob no Ore ni Shujinkou no Imouto ga Horeru Wake ga Nai” by PASH! Books. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Tristan K. Hill.

Sometimes you just have to be patient and wait for the author to get around to The Hook. This is especially true with this book, where we get a prologue that clearly shows us that this is not merely just another dumb high school romcom… and then spends most of the first half of the book trying its damndest to hide that fact once again. That said, that fits well with the protagonist, and it’s his narrative voice that we’re getting. As such, you get a book that is about 75% what would happen if the annoying loud guy who’s always best friends with The Main Character was the viewpoint, and it can be really annoying. Like, really annoying. As I said, sometimes you have to be patient, but it’s hard. Fortunately, in the second half, especially the last quarter, we actually get to the meat of the book, and find that “sidekick” is the biggest PTSD-coping mechanism in our hero’s armory.

After a grim, death-filled prologue that makes you wonder if you picked up Roll Over and Die by mistake, where our hero Koh battles the Archfiend… we suddenly cut to modern-day Japan, where Kunugi Kou is late for school, running out of his house with a piece of bread in his mouth (doesn’t work as well as you’d think), and stopping a naked pervert from attacking a young teenage girl. When she asks who her savior is, he says he’s Ayase Kaito… actually the name of his best friend. He then goes off to live his normal school life, where he watches the same Kaito deal with what appears to be a love quadrangle and enjoys being a dumb, loud guy who is on the outskirts of this fun. Unfortunately, the girl he saved is Ayase HIKARI… Kaito’s little sister. Also unfortunately, she’s now really taking a shine to him. And that’s not even getting into the fact that the love quadrangle may be tailing off of its own accord. And what does this have to do with that fantasy scene featuring… Kou? Or Koh?

When we actually get to the serious meat of the story, it’s really good. It’s also something of a spoiler, and I don’t want to give everything away. Suffice it to say that almost everything Kou does is a front, and there are several people who either knew this from the start or become aware of this as things go along. This is really good. I enjoyed it. But it does mean walking through a lot of cliched scenarios written better in titles such as the Rascal series or My Youth Romantic Comedy series, both of which this seems to pastiche in many ways. It’s good in that it eventually gives you insight into how Kou is surviving, and the somewhat bad job he’s doing at it. It’s not good as a reader because it’s not really that FUN. I suspect the author wants it to be, but… sorry.

That said, this is not a long-running series – it apparently ends with the next volume, though I’m not sure if it has an actual ending or if it suffers from cancellitis. And certainly after the cliffhanger we get here, I suspect it will be harder to have “ha ha ha look I’m a goofball!” throughout. Nevertheless, I do recommend reading this if you can tolerate the romcom cliches. It is a very good Hook.

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  1. The author’s webnovel account mentions that Sidekick will be getting a Volume 3 (in ebook format), but there’s been no word on when it’ll be released (the author’s working on another light novel series).

    Otherwise the original webnovel for Sidekick is also complete; it wrapped up shortly after Vol 2 came out in Japan.

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