My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, Vol. 8

By mikawaghost and tomari. Released in Japan as “Tomodachi no Imouto ga Ore ni dake Uzai” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Alexandra Owen-Burns.

This is not a bad volume in the series by any means, and I had fun reading it. But. There’s a definite sense of the volume treading water a bit, and it becomes apparent fairly early on that this is going to be a multi-volume arc, which means that the hints of bad things going down are all deferred to the next book. What we’re left with is mostly an examination of the character of Midori. We’ve seen her as a supporting character before, and she’s tied to the plot in several ways: she’s Sumire’s sister, she’s head of the drama club, and, most importantly for this volume, she’s developed a massive crush on Akiteru. Which is driving her nuts, because she’s a stickler for rules, and one of the biggest rules is “don’t fall in love with a guy when he’s dating another girl.” And Akiteru and Mashiro are totally dating. Right?

As with Strike the Blood, this is a series that has only one character on the cover art, and it’s always been Iroha. So it is here as well, but as you’d expect, she gets left behind early on as the rest of Akiteru’s class goes on their school trip. (If you thought “she’ll show up later anyway, well, you know how to write cliched romcoms, congrats.) As for the trip itself, Akiteru is in a group with Ozuma and Mashiro, but also three others that he knows less well; the hyperactive Takamiya, the shy Maihama, and the muscle guy Suzuki. They’ll visit temples, they’ll have baths at the hotel, they’ll do party games, and they’ll try in vain to help Maihama with her love life. All the while, though, Midori is having a massive crisis.

The plot with Midori is actually handled quite well, with only a minimum amount of standard romcom shenanigans. She’s a nice girl, and it takes most of the book for her to realize her feelings and act on them. Akiteru is also nice, but also a dense light novel protagonist, so he’s still working out what love is, but Midori gives him a major hint that might help things along. (If you’re wondering which girl will actually win, I advise you to look at the cover art of the 8 books you have.) That said, this ends up being an important book for Mashiro as well. She’s grown more quietly confident, and while she still hates social situations, she can actually handle them without help now. As such, she decides to level the whole playing field by asking her father to let her break up her “fake” relationship with Akiteru so she can pursue him for real. That said, she does this without clearing it with Akiteru first, so… as I said, there are still SOME shenanigans in a series like this.

We leave off with a set of double cliffhangers, all of which promise more high-stakes drama in the next book. Which leaves this book feeling rather uneventful and flat, even though it isn’t really.

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