Book Light Novel Review

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance: Vol.1 – Light Novel Review

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance puts two opposites together with a shared goal: To find an Otaku girlfriend/boyfriend. Unfortunately, I didn’t find much in the way of romance or comedy in this light novel by Rin Murakami. This review will cover volume one of this title translated by Marco Godano and published by J-Novel Club.

Two Opposite Otakus

Our protagonist Kagetora Ichigaya is a fairly typical otaku in high school. He watches the anime popular with male otaku, spends too much on gacha games, and watches VTubers. He’s not exactly outgoing and doesn’t have many friends, but dreams of having a girlfriend with the same interests as him. He’s pretty much a stereotype of an otaku.

Kokoro Nishina is a little more unusual. Popular at school, good-looking, sociable, and a gyaru. But secretly she might be an even bigger otaku than Kagetora. Able to speak passionately about boys love (BL) at length, buying the games, and drooling over the male cosplayers, she’s extremely invested in her interests. She wants an otaku boyfriend to share her interests with.

Meeting by chance at an otaku matchmaking event, they recognize each other as schoolmates but soon clash. Both have unrealistic expectations about what they want in a partner and tear the other down as someone who an otaku wouldn’t want to date. Despite an initially rocky start, they agree to help each other become the ideal partner for another otaku.

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend - Kokoro Gyaru

Suddenly Roomies

While the initial idea of helping each other sounds interesting, the ‘Roomies’ part of Roomies and Romance was the first sign I saw of this light novel failing to catch my interest.

Kagetora happens to live alone while his parents are abroad. It’s not an uncommon setup in anime or light novels, so this isn’t too unexpected. But then Kokoro hears that her family will be moving abroad soon too.

In what I imagine was supposed to be a humorous scene, Kagetora comes out of a closet that Kokoro stuffed him in to hide from her father and invites her to live together with him. They pretend they’ve been dating and the father and mother both approve of them living together.

Even for a light novel setting, this felt quite off. Kagetora can emphasize with Kokoro, but they don’t get along that well and just met, but he still invited her to live with him. The father approved of her living with a boy who just jumped out of a closet. Neither of the parents notices the stilted speech or lies. I couldn’t get invested with the setup here, unlike titles such as How To Melt The Ice Queen’s Heart where a situation puts them together briefly and sets up a way for them to become closer or I Kissed My Girlfriend’s Little Sister?! where it’s something absurd, but forced upon the characters involved.

Little Romance or Comedy

Early on Kokoko says that she doesn’t see Kagetora as a guy, and to an extent, that seems to carry on throughout. Kagetora has a few moments where he notes Kokoro’s beauty, but I didn’t feel there was good chemistry between the two characters. In fact, the only real hint of romance was something that could be interpreted as jealousy but was actually a well-founded reason to try and get a certain guy away from Kokoro. In one other case it tried to set up what could’ve been a romantic situation, but the twist was obvious and nothing came of it after a reveal.

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance has certain moments where Kokoro will try to learn about Otaku from Kagetora’s perspective and even emulate the characters he likes. While she’s trying to act as his ideal girl briefly, it felt more like an unfunny joke in most cases than anything.

The unfunny joke theme continues throughout, unfortunately. For a light novel that feels like it’s supposed to be a rom-com, pretty much all of the jokes fell flat. Some were even pretty overused or easily predicted, such as one around finding romance through online gaming. In fairness, a joke about a male cosplayer did get one minor chuckle out of me near the end.

VTubers and Cosplayers

While this is just volume one, it introduces a few other characters. None of them seem to have more than surface-level depth so far, and each only appears in a few scenes.

One of them seems to be Kagetora’s ideal girl, and there was a glimpse of something possibly interesting about her appearing in a future volume. But for now, she just appears as the too perfect rival for Kokoro if she ever did take an interest in Kagetora.

Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend - Date

At Least…

Mako Tatekawa illustrates Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance and has certainly done a good job of it. The character designs look great and the images depict Kokoro’s beauty, the feeling of the few intimate moments, or the few silly moments well. There’s plenty of material for the artwork too since Kokoro cosplays often. The artwork is one of the positive points I found about this light novel.

The writing isn’t an issue either. It’s written in fairly simple English, so is easy to read, if not particularly notable. It does use terms such as doujinshi and ‘moe sleeves’, which seems appropriate for the likely audience buying a title about an otaku romance.


After reading volume one of Guide to the Perfect Otaku Girlfriend: Roomies and Romance, I have some hope that it’ll get better going forward, but not much. It’s a rocky start to a series and after reading it, I don’t have enough interest to move on to volume two. I am disappointed, as this did sound like a title I’d enjoy quite a lot.


Purchase: Amazon, Google Books, BookWalker

Want to read another Light Novel? How about checking out How to Melt the Ice Queen’s Heart? Or our visual novel reviews?

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