My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected, Vol. 13

By Wataru Watari and Ponkan 8. Released in Japan as “Yahari Ore no Seishun Rabukome wa Machigatte Iru” by Gagaga Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Jennifer Ward.

As I mentioned last time, My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As I Expected is not a love story between the dour cynic Hachiman and the bubbly optimist Yui. You know it. I know it. Heck, even Yui knows it. But the series ends with the 14th book rather than the 13th, so this volume is devoted to giving our third protagonist as much screen time as it can get away with given that Hachiman is still its first person narrator. She’s on the cover, and she’s also helping Hachiman with his plan, which can basically be summed up as “do dumb Hachiman stuff in order to draw all the consequences to him”, only by now everyone’s savvy enough not to fall for it – not to mention it’s pretty half-assed to begin with. She and Hachiman make a very good team. Unfortunately, everything he does in this book is for Yukino’s sake. There’s a technical cliffhanger here, but no one in their right mind would believe it. Poor Yui.

Yui suffers mostly from being a bright-eyed optimist in a world of bitter cynics. This includes Haruno, who can’t even drink herself into oblivion; Hayama, who likens himself to a scratching post and has a streak of self-hatred a mile wide; Shizuka, who’s being transferred to a different school (as frequently happens in Japan) and desperately wants to see her manipulations actually pay off and not be destroyed; and even Iroha, our little agent of chaos, who spends much of this book boggling at Hachiman still trying to throw himself against the wall that is Yukino over and over again. He can’t help her with prom, mostly because of that bullshit co-dependence thing Haruno spewed out (Yui needing this explained to her was a highlight). What he can do is serve as a distraction, and honestly, that’s what most of this book is; it’s tap dancing in front of us trying to wait till the resolution in the 14th volume.

While I’m still irritated with Haruno, I will grant that her muttered aside in front of Hachiman did save the day, as he quickly realized what was going on with Yukino’s mother… well, quickly realized it after she tore apart his plan like tissue paper. The running gag in this book is that Hachiman’s plan is rather half-assed and pathetic, and no one seems to think it’s good enough – not even the business minded president of their neighboring high school, who is as annoying as ever but has also earned the punishment of having a crush on Orimoto, which I would not wish on anyone. As for Yukino, well, mostly absent, except for a few very important scenes. Words still need to be said. They aren’t. They’re implied – we have BUCKETS of implication in this book. But “a man’s pride” is not good enough.

All this and we still have enough time for the best written sibling relationship in light novels. This is a strong volume in the series, despite the fact that it feels like delaying tactics. Can’t get away with that next time.

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