Following on from our review of No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right? Volume 1, volume 2 changes focus from Touka the “protagonist’s” sister, to Kana, his childhood friend, tennis star, and school idol. But what interest does such a person have in the mere side character?
Last Time on Side Character…
Volume 2 starts with a reminder of the premise and events of volume 1. It’s was a nice refresher, and we got to see Yuuji’s optimism about his changing circumstances. But it highlights one person who still seems to be against him. Kana who seemingly likes everyone else keeps challenging his relationship with Touka.
Then suddenly Yuuji receives an anonymous letter in his locker asking to meet behind the gym. A classic romance staple. Expecting either someone to be messing around with him or a legitimate love confession, he’s surprised to find Kana waiting for him.
“…could we start as friends and see how things go from there?”. He hears an unexpected line from Kana. Was he friendzoned without even liking her?
The Tennis Idol
In volume 1, Kana started talking to Yuuji, though she could barely get the words out. Here she explains that it’s because he’s so handsome – a fact that a side character with such low self-esteem can not accept. Is it because of his frightening appearance and reputation? While struggling, she manages to become friends of sorts with him.
While Yuuji is skeptical of the friendship, he believes that she wants to become friends with Touka. Long ago they were close, but something happened. Neither is willing to explain and Touka isn’t the most understanding sort in the first place… But he’s willing to help, despite having to hide the fake relationship along the way.
One thing I really like about No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right? is that the characters always seem to have another side to them or something hidden. Reading between the lines here, we can sense that there are other motivations in play, that we learn about through volume 2.
Volume 2 mostly focuses on Kana and exploring her past. We get to learn more about her, the people close to her, and just why she acts so strangely around Yuuji. I was interested in her since the first volume, where she only appeared a few times, so I was glad to see this exploration of her character.
One complaint I do have is that a big element of the plot was very easy to predict. I’d guessed it the first time the topic came up, so the reveal near the end didn’t have much impact. It still served to deepen the connections between characters though and build up their background well.
While the reveal lacked impact, the ending of this volume did set up a continuation very nicely. It looks like it’s going to be leading to some amusing situations in volume 3 and beyond.
Fake Girlfriend and Friends
While Kana is the star of this volume, that doesn’t mean the other characters don’t get highlighted. Touka continues to spend time with her increasingly oblivious fake boyfriend and there are plenty of difficult situations for them to navigate. Developments from volume 1 continue on, with her softening stance towards her brother. We see far less of her ‘bitch-side’ as she tries to get Yuuji to reciprocate her feelings. I like that she doesn’t lose any of her sassy nature though, as this kept her scenes very fun to read.
While not the focus, we continue to see Yuuji’s new friends in this volume too. One of these in particular added a lot of comedy to the few scenes he was involved in. It’s nice to see the ongoing improvement for Yuuji’s reputation in this way too.
I’ve been reading the physical edition of this book and haven’t come across any issues.
The dust jacket cover shows Yuuji and Kana together. Holding a finger up to her lips as if to keep a secret, it fits the theme of this volume well. It comes with a small icon on the top of the side featuring Kana. As a small improvement over the previous volume, the font on the side matches the text on the cover.
Much like the previous volume, a nice feature of There’s No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right? Vol.2 is that there are several color illustrations near the front. They fold out, showing Yuuji and the main women in his life.
It’s a rather large book, measuring approximately 21cm tall and 15cm wide. This is consistent with other titles I have from Tentai Books but taller than some others. The text size is standard and easy to read and the print quality of both color and greyscale illustrations is great.
There’s No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right? Vol.2 also comes with a bookmark inserted featuring a cheerful-looking Kana. It’s always a nice extra and a cute illustration.
I certainly enjoyed volume 2 of There’s No Way a Side Character Like Me Could Be Popular, Right? It continues with the more likable character that Touka began to be partway through the last book, took a good look at Kana, and set it up well for a continuation. I’m looking forward to volume 3.
THERE’S NO WAY A SIDE CHARACTER LIKE ME COULD BE POPULAR, RIGHT? IS RECOMMENDED
Many thanks go to Tentai Books who provided a review copy of this title.
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A gamer since the days of Amstrad and DOS and someone who has dabbled in a variety of professions. He enjoys a wide variety of genres, but has been focusing on visual novels and virtual reality in recent years. Head Editor of NookGaming. Follow him and the website on @NookSite.