The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten (Manga) Volume 1 Review

The popular light novel series The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten was gifted with an anime adaptation broadcast in the Winter season last year. Now publisher Square Enix Books is bringing the manga adaptation to the West, but does it prove a good way to experience the story? Let’s find out! 

The story follows high-school student Amane Fujimiya who keeps himself relatively closed off from his classmates and lives a quiet life. One day, on the way home from school, he notices the most popular girl at school (known as The Angel) Mahiru Shiina sitting in the park on her own in the middle of a rainstorm with no umbrella or protective clothing! Amane can’t bear to leave her alone, fearing she might catch a cold, so he offers her his umbrella before running home. 

Unfortunately for Amane, while he may have prevented Mahiru from getting ill, he comes down with a cold instead. After school, he hobbles home as his condition worsens and finds himself coming face-to-face with Mahiru, who is waiting to return his umbrella. It turns out the two are next-door neighbours in their apartment complex and seeing the state Amane is in, Mahiru can’t help but feel responsible. She helps him into his apartment only to discover the place is a total mess and he doesn’t even have anything in the fridge to cook! 

Living next door, it’s not too difficult for Mahiru to collect things and bring them over to nurse Amane back to health. He’s grateful for her putting herself out for him, especially spending so much time in his home when they barely know one another. But for Mahiru, this is just her returning the favour for being lent the umbrella. 

While for some people this would be the end of their relationship, for Mahiru and Amane it’s the start of something special. Having seen the state of Amane’s apartment and gathering that he can’t cook at all, Mahiru takes pity on her neighbour and gives him leftover food regularly and it’s not long before she’s even helping him tidy up. Amane feels ashamed of his lack of household skills and does his best to at least keep his apartment clean going forward and learn from Mahiru. He even contributes some money toward the ingredients she’s buying. 

Both characters live on their own for reasons the manga has yet to explain, which adds some important realism to the fact that Mahiru makes too much food and wants to help her neighbour. Being known as “The Angel” at school means she’s fairly isolated from her classmates and doesn’t have any friends. As mentioned earlier, Amane has kept himself closed off so he only knows his seatmate Itsuki and his girlfriend Chitose. So it’s no wonder that they find themselves quickly becoming friends and enjoying their time together. The only real challenge is keeping it a secret from the students at school, who will certainly not approve of a man like Amane being beside Mahiru. 

Having kept up with the light novels of this series and watched the anime, I was apprehensive that the manga wouldn’t work for me, being the third time experiencing the story. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find this was refreshing and in many ways an improvement on the source material. The series has been adapted into manga by Wan Shibata who handles art and Suzu Yuki who is credited for the storyboards. Not only does the art look extremely cute, but it does a much better job of capturing Mahiru’s personality than the anime did – she’s very expressive here. Mahiru may be aloof at school, but underneath that, there’s a young woman who is quite opinionated. She can be bossy with Amane and pout when he makes thoughtless comments, but that’s not to say she doesn’t care for him. There’s a depth to her character that you wouldn’t expect at first glance, particularly when she’s the secondary main character and not the protagonist. This became more apparent in the light novels as they went on, but I always found her a lot more distant than she is in the manga. It’s a good improvement for the early part of the story since this is more in line with how Mahiru acts later on and that consistency will be important going forward I think. 

Despite the fact this is setting up to be a romance, the manga is more focused on conveying the gentle slice-of-life moments more than adding to the budding feelings the two are starting to harbour. I think that makes it more appealing to both readers looking for a slow-burn romance but also those simply wanting to watch over two high schoolers as they begin to open up to one another and change the course of their lives through their everyday interactions. It’s refreshingly free of drama too, which adds to the appeal. 

As mentioned earlier The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Square Enix Manga and has been translated by Nova Skipper with lettering by Kaitlyn Wiley. The release reads well with no issues to note; it’s also in keeping with the light novel which is reassuring, despite that being released by Yen Press instead. 

This book includes a colour page to open as well as a short story by original author Saekisan. While I usually tend to find bonus stories are cute but not particularly noteworthy, this one depicts the first time Mahiru and Amane meet from Mahiru’s perspective which adds a lot to their relationship and is a great addition to the series. 

The manga is ongoing in Japan with three volumes and here in the West Square Enix has #2 scheduled for an English release in early July. As mentioned, the light novels are available through Yen Press who are up to Volume 6 and the anime is available to stream on Crunchyroll. 

Overall, The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten manga’s first volume is off to a solid start. It polishes the source material, making it more consistent and easier to engage with in a visual form compared to the novels or the anime. Certainly, both newcomers to the series and existing fans will want to own this version in their collections.

Our review copy from Square Enix Manga was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services).

A free preview of Volume 1 can be read on the Square Enix Manga & Books website here. 

8 / 10


When she's not watching anime, reading manga or reviewing, Demelza can generally be found exploring some kind of fantasy world and chasing her dreams of being a hero.

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