Tensions rising in My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me volume 8

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

Although one of the best things about mikawaghost’s light novel series My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! (aka ImoUza) is the fact that it has fairly consistently subverted expectations in terms of what it’s really about, at some point the series was going to have to address the growing romantic and sexual tension between several members of the core cast.

And, given how much effort My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! has made to build up these characters by this point, it shouldn’t be handled in a throwaway fashion. Anyone who has made it this far through the series will more than likely care deeply about these characters and the possibility of their future happiness — particularly since “securing one’s future happiness” is a core theme of the whole thing.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

With that in mind, mikawaghost clearly decided that the best thing to do in order to address the growing feelings of romance was to take a break. Not from the series, obviously — but rather a break from the setting we have enjoyed up until now: the home and school of the members of the 05th Floor Alliance, creators of the cult hit mobile game Koyagi: When They Cry.

To that end, in volume 8 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, we join our crew as they’re preparing for a field trip to Kyoto.

Given what we know about protagonist Akiteru up until this point, it would be fair to assume that he would consider time away from school and work to be “inefficient” — and indeed, he does feel that to a certain extent.

But he’s also undergone considerable character growth over the course of the previous seven volumes of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, to such a degree that he now understands that simply living one’s life — regardless of whether or not it’s “inefficient” to do so — can provide valuable experiences which, in turn, can be used to fuel creativity.

Not only that, he’s begun to recognise that interpersonal relationships are important, too. For most of the run of the series, he’s described his neighbour (and the “friend” of the title) Ozu as his “only friend”, when that very clearly isn’t true. For one thing, all the members of the 05th Floor Alliance very much consider him a friend. And for another, there are several young women in the cast who have very much taken a shine to young Aki — and herein lies the source of the tension that starts to build up in volume 8 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

The most recent addition to Akiteru’s harem of admirers is Midori Kageishi, the school’s top honour student and sister of the 05th Floor Alliance’s artist Murasaki Shikibu-sensei, better known as teacher Sumire Kageishi, the Venomous Queen. In the second volume, Aki helped out Midori and her drama club as they were woefully unprepared for a make-or-break performance, and this also gave the titular little sister Iroha a rare opportunity to allow her acting skills to shine in public.

Up until this point, Midori has been sort of pootling along in the background without giving any explicit signs of romantic interest in Aki. However, it is clear that she took an interest in Aki, at least as a friend, and would often go out of her way to interact with him — even if it was often in a typical brainy tsundere admonishing sort of way.

And through the conclusion of volume 7 and the opening of volume 8 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, Midori’s true feelings have very much become apparent — at least partly due to the incredibly perceptive Otoi, who has seemingly become quite a close friend of Midori in a heartwarming example of “opposites attract”.

Midori is an intensely endearing character, even with her somewhat annoying tendencies; in many ways, she’s a mirror image of the way in which Iroha deliberately annoys Aki in that she will likely annoy the reader with her behaviour — and yet you can’t help rooting for her to a certain degree. At least part of this is down to the fact that despite her formidable intelligence and ability to retain information, she is somewhat lacking in conventional social skills, and finds the prospect of confessing her true feelings immensely daunting.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

Since Midori is a character who was introduced a little later into the run of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, we likely all know that she’s not going to be the one who ends up with Aki — despite the fact that, as a chapter heading late in the volume puts it, she is technically also a “friend’s little sister” — but it’s hard not to wish the best for her.

And, when the inevitable happens during the volume’s climax, it’s surprisingly heartbreaking, even we all saw it coming a mile off. The sight of this normally staunch tsundere in floods of tears in the toilet is genuinely gutwrenching, even if we all know this is how things are “supposed” to be.

Midori’s feelings aren’t an isolated source of tension in volume 8 of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me!, either. Mashiro is still present and correct, and still involved in a fake relationship with Akiteru. This is, after all, a core part of the narrative; Aki is contractually obliged to maintain this fake relationship in order to protect Mashiro at her uncle’s behest, all so that the 05th Floor Alliance can get themselves a nice cosy position at huge game publisher Honeyplace Works when they’re all done with school.

But things aren’t going all that smoothly in this regard. More and more people — including Midori — are starting to learn that their relationship isn’t all that it seems, and indeed Midori is actually spurred into taking action for herself by this knowledge. Mashiro, meanwhile, is clearly still enamoured with Aki, and Aki, it appears, hasn’t quite made his mind up about how he really feels either.

Aki’s feelings are complicated and difficult to resolve. On the one hand, he has Mashiro, who is head-over-heels for him and has been ever since they were childhood friends. He certainly likes Mashiro and finds her attractive, but up until now he has been denied the possibility of genuinely getting close to her thanks to the clauses in his contract with his uncle.

As such, he has been deliberately holding himself back and, one suspects, withholding his own feelings about her. Not only out of fear of breaching the contract, but also because he has always believed that romantic relationships are “inefficient”.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

On the other hand, he has Iroha, his friend’s little sister, who has been a constant presence in Aki’s life at least ever since we joined him in the first volume. Iroha constantly teases Aki and, over the course of the preceding seven volumes, Aki has started to realise that this is, in itself, rather endearing — particularly since it’s a sign that he is one of the few people that Iroha can genuinely be herself around.

The pair are very close with one another and share lots of secrets — such as Iroha’s identity as the 05th Floor Alliance’s mysterious “Phantom Voice Troupe” — and, as such, it’s natural to contemplate how, why and if that relationship might step things up at some point.

You can see how it’s difficult for Midori to fit in with all this. Although she has an undeniable chemistry with Akiteru — emphasised when the pair are given the opportunity to spend some time alone together when they both get separated from their groups on the school trip — she’s still something of an outsider to the core group.

And since we already know that Aki is someone who is very particular about who he considers to be close to him — or even “friends” — it was always going to be difficult for her to break through that defensive wall.

That said, we do see Aki allowing himself to be somewhat more open to the idea of friendships and relationships with other people in this volume of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! — at least partly out of necessity, because of the way the school trip’s groups have been organised, but also because he’s finally starting to recognise that he might not be as much of an “invisible” outsider as he always suspected.

For one thing, his (fake) relationship with Mashiro had been constantly attracting a certain degree of attention towards him, but as things proceed it becomes increasingly apparent that a significant number of people actually have a lot of time for Akiteru — even if they’ve never really approached him directly with overtures of friendship.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

Notably, it turns out that a character who was initially a throwaway background joke actually turned out to be immensely grateful for Aki’s inadvertent input on how he lives his life. And the girls in his group not only appreciate him for who he is — in a friendly sense, not a romantic one in this instance — but also trust him enough to hatch a plan to attempt to get one of them together with Ozu.

This, of course, goes awry — Ozu is even more resistant to the idea of romantic relationships than Aki is, thanks to his complete inability to handle conventional social situations. We actually learn why this is the case in this volume, too; Ozu and Aki enjoy a heart-to-heart about how the pair of them bonded in unusual circumstances when they first reached junior high.

This is a delightfully heartwarming little tale where, although it represents two rather dysfunctional characters coming together, shows that friendships can flourish even in the most peculiar of circumstances. Given the depth of their connection, it becomes clear exactly why Aki sometimes considers Ozu to be his only “friend” — even if that isn’t actually the case.

My Friend's Little Sister Has It In for Me, volume 8

One of the most important things that Aki comes to recognise in this volume of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! is that there isn’t such a hard divide between him and “normies” as he had previously assumed. In fact, the more he gets to know people outside his comfortable little core of close friends, the more he discovers that everyone is unique, and that everyone has their own distinct features that differentiate them from a theoretical “norm”.

Therefore, very few people are actually a “normie”; you simply might not immediately click with (or even see) the way they differentiate themselves from those norms.

This is a valuable piece of information to learn; Aki’s been gradually building up to this realisation over the course of the previous seven volumes of My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! with all the people he’s interacted with, and it’s pleasing to see him start to understand that he isn’t quite as isolated and alone as he thought he might have been. To a certain extent, one suspects he almost enjoyed the idea of being out on his own, at least for a while, but the more he experiences the warmth of genuine human interaction, the more he craves it.

And that, of course, means coming to terms with his feelings. As part of his rejection of Midori’s confession, he comes to a realisation about who it is that he really has feelings for. Infuriatingly, he refuses to actually reveal this to us, the reader — and, spoiler, he keeps it quiet throughout the next volume too — but the simple knowledge that he has come to this realisation lights something of a flame of excitement.

We’re clearly building up to something. Exactly when it’s going to get resolved remains to be seen — and, as noted, the next volume is one big tease with a hell of a cliffhanger in this regard — but it’s hard not to think about Aki’s future with a smile on one’s face as My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In for Me! volume 8 draws to a close.

My Friend’s Little Sister Has It In For Me! volume 8 is available in Kindle format now from Amazon, with a paperback version coming in August 2023. 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