The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, Vol. 2

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.

I admit that I had expected that Mahiru would be the tougher nut to crack in this burgeoning relationship. She clearly had some sort of family issue, which we get to see in detail here, and it’s both very predictable and also worse than I expected. That said, it also helps to explain why she falls in love faster than Amane. Now, don’t get me wrong, they’re both crazy about each other and it’s obvious to everyone who isn’t Amane. But seeing the relationship he has with his parents and his best friends is basically filling Mahiru with a longing that she’s had for her entire life, and it’s no surprise that she’s leaning hard into it. Unfortunately, we are going the cliche route here, for good and ill; the lead guy does not think that she could possibly love him, and does not notice any of the obvious signs. In fact, it turns out that Amane may have a tortured past himself.

The start of the book revolves around New Year’s, which the people-shy Amane and Mahiru do not want to be spending at a shrine, so they instead spend it with each other. They can’t avoid the shrine forever, though, and a few days later Amane’s parents show up to whisk them off there (and also dress them up in kimonos, because Mahiru is gorgeous and Amane, when he bothers to put in effort, is handsome). Mahiru then gets a cold, and (no surprises – again) tries to pretend she’s fine. Then we get Valentine’s Day and White Day, which is difficult to do when your relationship is so vague, as well as Amane’s best friend Itsuki staying over a few days after a fight with his father. Finally, we briefly meet Mahiru’s birth mother, and learn why she is the way she is.

The strengths and weaknesses of the second volume are the same as the first, so if you enjoyed one you should enjoy the other. That said, if you hate self-deprecating guys who cannot figure out that someone is in love with them despite it being glaringly obvious – and pointed out by everyone around them – then this series must be like drinking poison. Amane’s self-image is through the floor, which is probably why he never does anything about his hair, clothes, or lifestyle. His parents are both fantastic, so that’s not the issue, but a cliffhanger suggests that a friendship from the past led to this. Unfortunately, we don’t learn that there’s an obvious reason for his reticence till the end of the book, so for most of it it reads like Anime Guy Syndrome. Fortunately, the two are absolutely adorable together, couple or no, and the series runs on that.

I’m not sure when we’ll actually advance to a relationship – the 5th volume just came out in Japan last month, so it may be a bit. But aside from Amane’s mopey attitude, this remains an excellent high school romance.

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