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As we’ve mentioned, the series focuses quite heavily on Hikigaya’s disturbed personality, born from his negative outlook on life and reinforced by the poor (but well-meaning) decisions he makes.

In this regard, the light novels are the best place to get deep inside Hikigaya’s head. My Youth Romantic Comedy is Wrong, as I Expected has some dense prose, and Hikigaya’s internal monologue reads like the over-dramatic musings of a teenager—which is exactly what it is. The series never shies away from representing the toxic spiral of Hikigaya’s mind, trapping the reader in his thought process and almost convincing you he’s right.

At times, the light novels feel a little too much like you’re drowning in a sea of negativity. Being unable to separate from Hikigaya’s viewpoint can become stifling; but that’s almost the point, since that’s how Hikigaya goes through life. The author, Watari Wataru, masterfully recreates the mind of a troubled teenager, while deconstructing the microcosm of high school life with the experience of an adult.

Our usual light novel complaint, unfortunately, rears its ugly head again—the series translators decided to drop most of the Japanese suffixes and titles, giving us the cringe-inducing “Big Bro” term of address from Hikigaya’s little sister. It doesn’t bother every reader, but we’ll keep complaining about it until light novels finally give us the “onii-chan” we deserve!

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