Are You Okay With a Slightly Older Girlfriend? Volume 1 | Light Novel Review

Title: Are You Okay With a Slightly Older Girlfriend? Vol 1
Author: Kota Nozomi
Illustrator: Nanasemeruchi
Translator: Sean Orth
Publisher: J-Novel Club
ASIN: B08PKPCMG2
Copyright © 2018 by Kota Nozomi

This is one of of those times when a light novel is the perfect pick for the SJWs to cancel and convince themselves they’ve done something for society. There’s no anime adaptation, so it’s going to take a while before that happens.

First-year high school student Momota Kaoru just saved a beautiful high school girl, Orihara Hime, from a train molester. One thing leads to another, and they end up going on a date! They have a lot in common: they both love video games, they both jam to their favorite songs on mixtapes, they were even both born in the Year of the Snake. Except… Orihara’s first game console used cartridges… and her old mixtapes are all on MiniDisc… and, oh, her birthday is actually 12 years before Momota’s! When her secret comes out, she thinks it must all be over… but will Momota really let something like a little age gap get in the way of his love for Orihara? Find out if love really can transcend generations in this sugar-sweet romantic comedy!

The novel could be disturbing or it could be a beautiful story based on that description. I must say it’s neither.

The story is something you would expect from an anime of the romance genre with a bit of fanservice. It does its best to be cute, but at the same time, it breaks some of these adorable moments with teenage talk.

I’m going to give you an example of it. At the beginning of the light novel, our protagonist, a high school student called Momota Kaoru, is on his way to school on a train. He sees Orihara Hime, the other protagonist, and starts describing her beauty, her clothing, her hair, and then:

“And… so BIG. There they sat, underneath her blazer, pushing up her thinly knit sweater: two rolling hills with the ability to drive a man insane with one look. So abundant… hanging so heavy… the kind of terrifyingly beautiful breasts whose very existence feels like a crime, breasts that make you want to sue someone.”

Momota Kaoru

Through the story, you’ll find interruptions like that. I know that as an anime fan I should’ve gotten used to it, but some variety wouldn’t hurt readers, in my opinion. Kudos to the protagonist and the funny way to deal with the train molester. I won’t complain about some good humor.

After the things I said above, I must say that it does make sense. Momota is a teenage boy, and most teenagers have their hormones acting crazy. It’s expected to see our protagonist having an extra pick at a woman’s curves. However, in the relationship (it’s not a spoiler, from the title you know they’ll start a romantic relationship), Momota shows himself very shy; he gives Hime space and never tries to do anything weird to Hime. He always does his best to make her feel comfortable all the time and even finds the right words to make her smile. He acts his age and a bit mature at the same time.

Hime is where the problems begin. She’s a 27-year-old woman with a good job and a position as chief, although she mentioned that her position sounds more impressive than it really is. We get to know her more later in the book; some chapters focus on her first-person perspective. It is a good detail to see pages from her eyes and thoughts. But this left me a lot of questions—one of them asking who’s the real adult in the story: Momota, a 15-year-old student, or Hime, the 27-year-old worker. This is the first time, even in fiction, that I see an adult worrying so bad about a teenager and his feelings; and the feelings she started to have for him.

We see a really dumb explanation for it, and a dumbest reason why she was wearing a school uniform in the first place. I’m not kidding, I tried to imagine the situation they described, and I still don’t see anything that makes any sense.

If you think that the “age/maturity” of the adult protagonist is my only issue, you’re wrong. Their friends are the exact kind of weird people whose the more years they’ve lived, the more immature they talk. Momota’s friends are the high school students you would expect; they act their age and do their age. I have no problem with them. Hime’s friend, though, is another story; first, she is the reason why Hime was wearing a school uniform, and second, she spoke like an adult when we met her and warned Hime about the legal consequences that relationship might bring. Pages later, she seems so okay with that romantic relationship that she almost seemed like the person trying to make them go a little further.

To be fair, the light novel is not bad. I don’t consider it offensive or a cringe-fest. I am not sure, though, if the author just tried to make an excuse to make a student’s proportions that big telling she’s a 27-year-old worker. Hime acts so childishly that I can’t have any other impression of it, but I don’t know the author, and I prefer to give the benefit of the doubt. I guess if you like fan service with a few cute moments, this could be your cup of tea, but I bet there are many better options out there.

If you’re still interested in reading the light novel, here’s the official website – https://j-novel.club/series/are-you-okay-with-a-slightly-older-girlfriend

Thank you for reading my review.

Light Novels

I’m a person who enjoys anime. Most anime series are easy and fun to watch. It has a lot of genres for all types of individuals. I enjoy all of them; if I feel like a high-action and funny anime shows, I watch a shonen anime (One Piece, Jujutsu Kaisen, just to name two). If I want to watch some comedies, Asobi Asobase and Konosuba are my favorites.

Suppose I want to watch something more serious; romantic, paranormal, sci-fi, or other genres that take themselves more seriously. In that case, there are so many recommendations I’d probably make in the future.

As some of you already know, most of the anime shows came from Japanese comics, better known as mangas, with a few exceptions. Some people like to collect merchandise, and that includes the sources from their favorite shows. One of my friends is a hardcore One Piece fan; he watches the show on Crunchyroll and collects the mangas.

I’m not much of a collector, but there are a few shows that I loved so much I got tempted to acquire the mangas. Boogiepop and Others, Re:Zero – Starting Life in Another World, and Konosuba: God’s Blessing on This Wonderful World! are just a few shows that I loved so much no I want to collect the original material. I was surprised, though, when I realized these shows didn’t come from a manga. These shows came from something called light novels. It was the first time I heard of such things as light novels.

As an avid reader, the term got me intrigued. At first, I thought a light novel would be pages full of dialogs with one illustration to complement it; you know, left page the image, right page the dialogues, something like that. I was wrong.

What is a light novel then?

A light novel is a style of Japanese light novels for young adults, although there are some series for adults. Most of these novels have an average length of about 50,000 words, which is the minimum word count for a traditional book to be considered a novel.

Bookstore in Macau (photo I took from Wikipedia)

Many light novels, like their manga older brother, is serialized. There is more than one volume of each series. I like to think of light novels as books for anime/manga fans. This format is becoming very popular, with publishers like Yen On and J-Novel translating them into this language; I believe some English original light novels exist. Perhaps it’s a format that’ll become something more in the west. For now, it’s a niche that will get some strength; time will tell.

Another similarity with mangas is that some of them get compiled as omnibuses, two or more volumes in one book. The first light novels that I bought were the Boogiepop series, which unfortunately didn’t get translated past volume 6.

Today you can buy the English version of the Boogiepop light novels, whether you’d like to buy the six individual volumes or two omnibuses like I did (image above). Just saying!

How is the content like?

Light novel is an accurate term to describe these books. They are easy to read, follow, and finish. There are no heavy descriptions as you usually see in traditional novels. There is a general description of the world and the characters; the reason is that you’ll find a few illustrations in the books. These are basically manga-like drawings of the characters and a situation so that you won’t get lost.

All of this work very well to complete what a light novel is. On one side, you have some descriptions, first-person or third-person point of view, depending on the story; and on the other side, you know how the characters look because you have an illustration.

One thing does NOT replace the other

I am sure new folks looking at this format may wonder if these light novels would replace traditional books one day. Short answer: no.

If you’re new and feel curious about them, you might think that the light novels are like YA (young adult) books that are very popular in any bookstore. Sure, but you need to divide the soul of your favorite book into two: its narrative and illustrations. One is not going to work without the other, even if you add more images. Needs to be a balance between the two to make a light novel.

Also, it is important to mention that this format is clearly written for manga and anime fans. Of course, this does not mean that someone else should not read it; quite the contrary. I believe this is an excellent opportunity for two kinds of hobbyists to approach the other. The anime and manga fans look at literature, and the literature fans look at the anime and manga. For me, this is another good way to break stereotypes, open our minds to other media, and realize there are many exciting works created in different formats for all tastes.

Give light novels an opportunity. I’m sure you’re going to find something interesting.