You Like Me, Don’t You? So, Wanna Go Out with Me?

By Kota Nozomi and Azuri Hyuga. Released in Japan as “Kimitte Watashi no Koto Suki Nandeshou?” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Tentai Books. Translated by Noor Hamdan.

After getting a very old series licensed by J-Novel Club (When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace), Kota Nozomi now has a more recent series out over here, one tying in to the current trend of “relaxed, sweet and syrupy teen romances”. The artist may also be familiar to readers, having done illustrations for Our Crappy Social Game Club Is Gonna Make the Most Epic Game. And the plot is, of course, very familiar, as the whole point of this genre is to give the single teenage male a book to read that will make him sit up and think “yeah, that could be me! Maybe! If the hottest girl in the school decided to do all the heavy lifting!”. This is not a series to read if you want unique plot or characterization. But if you enjoy the genre, and are thinking “is there just enough here to entertain me and make me want to pick up the second (and so far, last) volume? Yes. Just barely.

The book opens with the title and then backtracks to review how we got here. Our sad sack protagonist is Kouichi, one of two members of the “Literature Circle”, which is to say a literature club that lost its members and became unofficial. He has a dark past that we will eventually find out about. The other member of the Literature Circle is Kasumi, his sempai at school and one of the school’s “Four Heavenly Beauties”. She is known for her mature attitude and looks (and yes, she has large breasts,. which are mentioned frequently – it’s that genre, after all). And, after about a year of being in the same club, reading books, and getting shamelessly teased by Kasumi, she asks him if he likes her. He does, so she asks if he wants to start “trial dating”, i.e. dating the way we do it in the United States, rather than Japan’s “confess and die” approach. He suspects a trap, but goes along with it.

This book had to have its protagonist clear one low bar in order for me to want to read more of it, and it did – just. We gradually get to hear about Kouichi’s tragic past – it doesn’t involve death or past romance, but it does involve being taken advantage of by someone in authority, and it’s pretty much broken him. Unsurprisingly, it’s Kasumi’s enthusiasm and optimism that makes him decide that he wants to try again. The good thing is that, to get help, he turns to a third, more experienced person who he trusts a great deal. I was hoping that this would not merely be a two-person book, with literally any positive thing he did caused by his love for the hot girl who likes him. Instead, he’s making progress without her input. That’s good. As for Kasumi, we do occasionally get her viewpoint, and it helps us see she’s not nearly as put together and perfect as Kouichi thinks, but she’s definitely taking more leaps than he is here.

So this falls under the heading of “okay”. If it were as long as When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace, I’d pass. Since it seems to be only one more volume, I might get it.

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