Haibara’s Teenage New Game+, Vol. 6

By Kazuki Amamiya and Gin. Released in Japan as “Haibara-kun no Tsuyokute Seishun New Game” by HJ Bunko. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Esther Sun.

There’s always been an element of drama to this series, which has sort of waffled between teen romcom and teen angst at times. But this volume pretty much jettisons the humor entirely, and any romance we get is of the tortured variety. This is also to be expected. Natsuki may have 7 extra years on the rest of the cast, but that does not make him any less of a dumbass when trying to see feelings that are so close to his nose that they’re invisible to him. We also not only get a nice round of high school bullying here, but also how how it ties in to elementary school bullying from the past, and that “conformity”, needless to say, is rewarded, while being an outcast gets you… well, even more outcasted. And then of course there is Miori, who has apparently decided that everything is her fault, that she’s the worst person alive, and that the only solution left to her is to fix the “alive” part. Fortunately, this isn’t quite THAT dark a high school romantic drama.

Nasty rumors are spreading throughout the school, helped along by a girl who really hates Miori (because of her relationship with Reita, of course), and Miori has actually been home from school for a week. Though honestly that’s more due to the fallout from realizing just how much she loves Natsuki and despairing about how it’s far too late to do anything about it. Natsuki, of course, is also not being helped here, given that he’s accused of cheating on his girlfriend with another girl. As for Hikari, everyone’s worried about how she takes this, but honestly we may need to be more worried about what she feels after she hears the actual truth. Unfortunately, Miori eventually snaps and decides to run away… and Natsuki worries she may take things even further.

So yes, word of warning, there is a suicide attempt in this book. That said, it’s resolved fairly quickly, and there are not many “real world” aftereffects, mostly as only Miori and Natsuki know what she was about to do. That said, honestly, the best scene in the book comes right before he rescues her, when he confronts Reita, who is determined to rescue her first and win over Natsuki. Natsuki, naturally, is livid, pointing out that Reita is only thinking of himself and not Miori at all. Accurate, and this leads to the cliffhanger of the book, where Reita apparently decides to solve his problems by becoming a delinquent and getting suspended. I think these teens need better coping mechanisms, honestly. I’m sure Reita will be the subject of the next book, though how his relationship with Miori will fall out (or fall apart) remains to be seen.

The next book is gonna be a bit, though – this volume only came out in December. So feel relief that Natsuki was able to defuse things, and hope that Hikari can get over her hangups about cooking. And Miori, please feel better soon.

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