Success isn’t just about the numbers in My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! volume 7

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In For Me! banner

One of the enjoyable things about mikawaghost’s light novel series My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! (aka ImoUza) is how each volume has a markedly different feel to the last. Yes, there’s definitely an overarching story across the complete run, but each volume also feels neatly self-contained, tending to focus on just one or two of the core cast and telling a tale that primarily involves them.

And those tales cover a variety of themes and styles, too; in Volume 6, for example, we saw an entertaining comedy about gender roles and crossdressing, while in Volume 3 we had an almost horror-inspired tale as teacher-slash-doujin artist Sumire learned to stand up to her family’s traditions.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me! volume 7

Volume 7 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! can be seen, in some ways, as a follow-up to Volume 4 in that it once again focuses on main protagonist Akiteru as he struggles to come to terms with how best to live his life and run his independent game studio.

To date, Akiteru has had a few crises of confidence in which he questions his own value to the 05th Floor Alliance, as the team are known. It takes the input of others — and, sometimes, complete outsiders — to make it clear to him that in many ways he is the glue that holds the group together.

This idea is built upon in Volume 7 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, which brings two “mother” characters into the mix: specifically, the titular Little Sister Iroha’s mother Otoha, and Akiteru’s fake girlfriend Mashiro’s mother Mizuki.

If you’ll recall, the initial setup for My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me has Aki making a promise to his uncle, who is the head of a prestigious entertainment company, that he will pose as Mashiro’s boyfriend as a means of giving her an easier life at her new school — but that he is, under no circumstances, to actually fall for her or anyone else.

Aki’s uncle is presented as a mostly affable sort, though he does have something of a predilection for cheating on his wife. In Volume 7 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, Mizuki joins the cast as she has seemingly run away from home — not for the first time, we learn — to teach Aki’s uncle a lesson.

As the volume proceeds, we discover that all is most definitely not it seems with Mizuki; as a Broadway actress, she very much knows how to be a devious sort, and indeed has found her own way to keep Aki’s uncle in check as well as ensuring she also remains happy. But I’ll leave the details of that for you to discover — it’s quite something.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me! volume 7

Mizuki involves herself with Akiteru for a few reasons: firstly, to encourage him in the growing romantic feelings that he has started to experience towards both Mashiro and Iroha, regardless of his uncle’s ultimatum; and secondly, to help inspire him in some ways that he might be able to continually push his project forwards without burning everyone out — more on that in a moment.

Mizuki’s presence is important for another reason, too; she represents something that Iroha strives for. Iroha, as regular readers will know, is the “Phantom Voice Troupe” who plays every voice in the 05th Floor Alliance’s game Koyagi: When They Cry, and only a couple of members of the group actually know this.

She has to keep her involvement secret because her mother Otoha is strictly against her getting involved with any kind of entertainment — which, we discover, is a little strange, since Otoha is the president of Tenchido, the series’ in-world equivalent of Nintendo.

In some ways, Mizuki is able to act as a confidant for Iroha — indeed, she shows herself to be enormously perceptive, correctly recognising that Iroha is indeed the Phantom Voice Troupe without anyone telling her — and her involvement concludes with her promising to give Iroha some private lessons, which is a significant opportunity for Iroha to grow.

Otoha, meanwhile, is probably the closest the series comes to having some sort of “antagonist”, because up until this point she’s been positioned as standing against pretty much everything Aki, Iroha and the rest of the 05th Floor Alliance truly stand for.

Most notably, her attitude towards creativity is the polar opposite of Aki’s; she holds the rather pragmatic stance that it’s better to have a huge team of average creators working on a project than a tiny team of talented specialists, because in the former case if someone is, for whatever reason, unable to continue working, there are other people available to pick up the slack. If a team, for example, only has one artist, meanwhile, the entire team is screwed if that artist is unable to work.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me! volume 7

Naturally, this is exactly what happens in Volume 7 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! as Sumire, aka artist Murasaki Shikibu-sensei, succumbs to overwork due to how she is not only working hard at her teaching day job to organise a school trip, but she also wants desperately to help push Koyagi to the important “three million downloads” milestone.

After pulling an all-nighter to produce some special artwork, she ends up bedridden due to back pain, not even able to call in sick to school, which naturally causes a certain amount of panic.

With Otoha’s words reverberating in his ears, Aki finds himself in a difficult situation. He wants Koyagi to reach that three million downloads milestone, because he believes that it’s important for him to demonstrate to his uncle that he’s serious about what he’s doing. But at the same time he knows that he absolutely cannot continue pushing Sumire this hard, otherwise she’s going to do herself even more of a mischief than she already has.

He comes to realise that part of being a successful producer is knowing when to rein things in a bit. Because, as difficult as he finds it to believe, he is a good and supportive producer, the members of the 05th Floor Alliance always want to do their best for him, sometimes pushing themselves beyond their reasonable limits in an attempt to follow the example Aki has set. None of them blame Aki, it’s worth noting — it’s more that he’s inspired them rather than made them feel obliged to overwork themselves — but Aki feels guilt about the situation nonetheless.

In other words, there’s no point pushing for that three million downloads milestone if the 05th Floor Alliance is going to completely burn itself out in the process. And, as such, Aki comes to realise that the best thing to do in this situation — the best thing that will result in long-term success — is to stop.

Not completely, just temporarily; he makes the executive decision that Koyagi will have a short hiatus from regular content updates, allowing the entire team — particularly Sumire — the opportunity to rest, recuperate and get up to date with everything they need to resolve in their “real” lives first.

Aki, having been all about growth, momentum and efficiency from the start, is terrified of making this decision, and indeed seems physically pained by the initially negative responses his announcement gets on social media immediately after he posts it. But after the initial wave of trolls, he discovers that the majority of the game’s community are tremendously supportive and understanding, and indeed encourage the team to take their time getting themselves back to full strength.

This, Aki realises, is what true success is. It’s not about those numbers — although those numbers are nice — but rather about the feelings you instill in your audience.

An earlier incident in Volume 7 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! helps drive this home. Iroha’s new friend Sasara, who is a successful “Pinstagram” influencer that Aki has been considering recruiting to help promote Koyagi, finds herself “cancelled” after her association with a brand whose spokesperson was caught cheating.

Or at least, so she believes; again, after the initial flurry of negativity, it’s clear that Sasara has a core community of people who support her and know that bad things happen sometimes, completely out of our control.

It’s only through the support of others — specifically, Iroha and Aki, plus a bit of behind-the-scenes hacking from Iroha’s brother Ozu, master programmer of the 05th Floor Alliance — that she’s able to look past the initially devastating wave of bad press and focus on the positive beneath.

It’s the same for Aki, and he recognises this having seen the whole situation unfold. A certain degree of negativity is to be expected any time something out of the ordinary happens, because people on the Internet are dickheads and tend not to consider that people “creating content” (ugh) are actual human beings, particularly when it comes to those who are working as individuals or small teams.

Had Aki attempted to turn the 05th Floor Alliance into a huge content farm organisation as Otoha advocated for, Koyagi would have lost the scrappy individuality that its community loves so much — and, as such, any announcement of a hiatus from updates would have been universally negatively received. Conversely, because Koyagi’s fans know what a small, dedicated team the 05th Floor Alliance really is, they recognise that its members are human beings who can’t be going flat-out all day, every day — and thus when they need a break, they’re able to take one.

This is an important moment for Aki in the entire run of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, because it means he not only has a better understanding of what “success” really is, but also a much better idea of the projects that his team are suited for in the future.

Chatting with his uncle about the situation, he comes to the conclusion that the group’s talents would be better used on a standalone, self-contained console game — though up until this point their nature as a small indie team, mostly comprised of high-schoolers, has made this impossible.

And thus, he makes the rather assertive announcement to his uncle that, in the near future, he wants to make a console game with the 05th Floor Alliance, with funding from his company Honeyplace Works. His uncle gives him no illusions that Aki will be getting preferential treatment just because he’s his nephew — but it’s also clear that he thinks this is a solid decision.

So we now have an idea of what the long-term goal of the 05th Floor Alliance will be; whether we’ll see it realised by the conclusion of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! remains to be seen — but in the meantime, we have plenty of fun interpersonal drama to enjoy, too.

And with the aforementioned school trip just around the corner in the next volume, there’s definitely the potential for some shenanigans, particularly when it seems that Sumire’s younger sister Midori is starting to take an interest in Aki, too…

My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In For Me! volume 6 is available in Kindle format now from Amazon, with a paperback version following in May. Alternative purchase options can be found on J-Novel Club’s website

Join The Discussion

Rice Digital Discord
Rice Digital Twitter
Rice Digital Facebook

Or write us a letter for the Rice Digital Friday Letters Page by clicking here!

Disclosure: Some links in this article may be affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on them. This is at no additional cost to you and helps support Rice Digital!

Pete Davison
Spread the love!

Related post

This will close in 0 seconds