Review – My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In For Me

I’m a very practical type of guy, efficient wherever I can be, much like the main character of this light novel. So re-reading isn’t something I do often — which speaks volumes to how much I love My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In For Me. This is actually my second read but my first proper review of this high-school rom-com.

Dense protagonists are one of my favorite tropes in romantic comedies, especially when paired off against the typical tsundere love interest. But main character Ooboshi Akiteru is as dense as it comes to matters of love.

This light novel series sets up a love triangle pretty early on, as Akiteru deals with his irritating next door neighbor, Kohinata Iroha. Specially his neighbor is his best friend, Ozu, but his friend’s little sister is constantly in Akiteru’s life. And boy does she want to make her feelings known — she constantly bullies and teases Akiteru, randomly “confessing” her love before making a joke out of the duration. For his part, Akiteru is simply tired of her antics, but he fails to see the sincerity in her carefully disguised teasing.

As for the other side of the love triangle, well, Akiteru finds himself in a fake relationship with his cousin, Tsukinomori Mashiro. It’s worth mentioning that first-cousin relationships in Japan aren’t as frowned upon as they are in the west, and former Japanese prime minister Abe was indeed married to his own cousin. Cultural differences aside, Mashiro plays an incredibly prickly tsundere, absolutely indifferent or openly hostile to Akiteru… despite secretly harboring a crush on him for years.

And yet, this huge romantic love triangle often takes a back seat in the plot, as Akiteru does his very best to help his friends find their true passions in life. He is the lead producer of a small indie games company, founded alongside his high school friends and their homeroom teacher. They’re doing well for themselves, and Akiteru has designs on them all getting employed at his uncle’s company when they graduate high school — he just has to pretend to be his cousin’s boyfriend until then.

Akiteru is genuinely a wonderful protagonist. He’s dense in matters of love, providing brilliant strokes of comedy; but he’s also sincere and caring, introspective without ever being insufferable. A few brief interludes throughout the novel give us viewpoints from the other characters, but for the most part, Akiteru’s firsthand experiences are really what drives this brilliant first volume along.

My praise for My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In For Me really can’t be overstated — this is a fantastic first volume, and any rom-com lover should immediately read it. You’re in for a treat that’s both familiar and fresh in equal measure, and J-Novel Club have punched well above their weight in the fantastic translation of this light novel.

And remember — in the real world, if someone bullies you, it’s not because they like you. Probably, right?

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