Volume 2 of The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten saw the protagonist Amane and his neighbour/love interest Mahiru spend their New Year’s break together and contending with Amane’s mother who has all but accepted Mahiru as Amane’s partner, despite the fact they’re not even dating! Then there was the dreaded Valentine’s Day to deal with, which was no small matter for the two when their feelings are still unsaid…
Now in Volume 3, we find the pair returning to school after the Summer holidays and becoming second years. For Amane, this comes with no small amount of anxiety due to classes changing and worrying about having to interact with people he doesn’t know. Luckily for him, he remains in the same class as his friends Itsuki and Chitose but this year he’ll also be sharing the class with Mahiru!
Our protagonist should be delighted about this fact, but his friendship with Mahiru is something they’ve been keeping a secret at school due to her status as one of the most beautiful girls there. Mahiru’s more than happy to interact with Amane and their mutual friends the way they would at home, but Amane rejects that idea and encourages her to keep her distance for both their sakes.
While Volume 2 dives into Mahiru’s history and problems at home, this book is more about Amane and the situation that led him to live on his own and begin attending a high school far from home. We don’t quite get to the bottom of it all this time around, but it’s clear Amane has been hurt in the past and his self-deprecating nature and refusal to see that Mahiru has feelings for him stem from this.
I’ve commented in previous reviews that one of the things I dislike about The Angel Next Door is a refusal to move the romance along. But now that we’re beginning to get to the bottom of Amane’s feelings I’m not quite as frustrated about that as I used to be. Plus here in Volume 3, it’s clear that Mahiru is also fed up with waiting for Amane to make a move and is instead being more proactive with her advances.
When it comes down to it, both Mahiru and Amane are likeable characters, so although it was frustrating watching their back-and-forth, I equally wanted to see where the author planned on taking their story. So I am glad to see things shaken up here because it feels less like the author is spinning their wheels and that a resolution to the romantic tension is in sight.
I confess I am a big fan of the idea of Mahiru being the one who moves things along, rather than just waiting for Amane. It would have been easy to have been hurt about him pushing her away at school and for it to snowball and lead to her isolating herself from him. Instead, she’s a strong heroine, which is refreshing to see in this genre.
Most importantly of all, author Saekisan is crafting a heartfelt story here that’s easy to read and proving to be enjoyable book-to-book, despite my earlier reservations. With the anime starting in January, I’m sure it’s going to be great fun to see how Amane and Mahiru’s relationship transitions to our TV screens. I hope it’s as cute as the light novels are!
The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Volume 3 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press where it continues to be translated by Nicole Wilder. As usual, the translation reads well with no issues of note. Volume 4 of the series is already available with Volume 5 set to follow in February 2023.
Overall, Volume 3 of this sweet high school romance series proves that it won’t be stuck in an endless back-and-forth forever. With our heroine becoming more assertive and our protagonist forced to face up to his feelings, the future of this one looks brighter than it did before. Fingers crossed for more of this in the coming books!