Near the start of the year, I had the chance to swap my isekai novels for the new romantic comedy The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten. Now the series is back for Volume 2 and I’m eager to find out how the relationship between the main characters is progressing.
The story picks up on New Year’s Eve, which Amane and Mahiru are spending together. In fact, they’ve spent the majority of their time off school together: six months as friends, with Mahiru coming over to cook and generally look after Amane. So heading into the new year, our protagonist wishes for nothing more than for these peaceful days to continue unchanged.
Of course, not everything is peaceful over the break, as Amane is visited by his parents who are determined to make things as awkward as possible as his mother goes on about how nice Mahiru is. In fact, his mother already believes the two are dating and no matter how often Amane tells her that isn’t true, she’s unwilling to listen to reason.
Although it has to be said that, even to us readers, Amane’s denial does little to hide the fact he’s very obviously harbouring romantic feelings for Mahiru, as is she for him. This only becomes all the more evident when the series fast-forwards to Valentine’s Day and the two awkwardly fumble around one another, not being sure if they should expect or exchange chocolate and then dealing with their feelings once the day is over.
In Volume 1 Mahiru’s feelings were more subtle as she slowly started to fall for Amane, but now it’s clear she’s exasperated with how oblivious he is. She’s yet to confess outright, but her actions are more than enough for us to know she’s in love with him and the fact that Amane is clueless about this often leaves our poor heroine pouting. Rather than tell him how she feels, she wants him to ask her out himself – which doesn’t seem likely to happen anytime soon.
It has to be said that although I am usually quite fond of ‘will they, won’t they’ plots, I do find The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten somewhat frustrating. There is no real reason for Amane not to ask Mahiru out at this point and any fears he’d ruin their peaceful friendship don’t hold up to scrutiny when everyone around them is trying to get Amane to realise Mahiru likes him.
In the afterword, author Saekisan talks about keeping the status quo as it is in the following volume, so readers will be left waiting for any significant change to the relationship. I think this would be fine if things had been more or less the same as in Volume 1, but given how lovey-dovey these two are right now, I can’t say I’m particularly fond of the idea that they’re unlikely to confess anytime soon.
Having said that, I do appreciate that we get some character development for Mahiru this time around. It’s hard to talk about, since it occurs near the end of the volume, but what I will say is that we finally get to find out more about her family situation. Although the series spends the majority of its time being a light read, I appreciate Saekisan taking the time to include something more dramatic in the mix. And honestly, if the romantic relationship isn’t going anywhere soon, then spending time on fleshing out the cast’s backstories is a smart move for keeping readers engaged. This book is also less systematic than Volume 1 and there is greater variety in the stories and situations the cast find themselves in, which is a welcome change.
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Volume 2 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and continues to be translated by Nicole Wilder. The translation reads well with no issues to note. Volume 3 is currently scheduled for release in December.
Overall, The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Volume 2 proves to be an improvement on the initial book in some ways. While readers are likely to get frustrated by the lack of progress with the romance, there is still enough to keep us engaged with the story otherwise and that will hopefully see us through.