Light Novel Review: Boku no Shiranai Rom-Com Volume 1

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?

I know, the title literally spells “rom-com,” but the contents can’t cash the checks that the title writes. You’ll get a very cute and caring heroine, but a very passive, useless, and cold protagonist. There’s also some pretty hearttearing drama with an unsatisfactory conclusion in here. Even if you’re in for the drama, the plot holes are significant. I really don’t know who I could recommend this novel to.


The difficulty is dead average. Neither particularly easy, nor particularly difficult.

Difficulty 5/10

Translation Where?

Nothing that I know of.


NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!

The Whole Damn Thing

Ashiya’s a dead lazy guy who, back in middle school, wrote on the future goals assignment that he wants to become an eukaryote (single-cell organism), since they can live on solar power alone and can just divide themselves to “have kids.” Basically, he doesn’t want to worry about a thing.

A first-year in high school, Ashiya is – once again – sleeping through class, but gets woken up by his teacher whose name I will mention once she becomes relevant again; she’s a young, new teacher and rather shy. Anyway, Ashiya can’t solve the problem at hand and gets some nice detention. He can’t feel all to bummed out about this, since the classroom door opens and a girl everyone knows all too well enters, Nozomi. Blonde hair, gotta be a delinquent character, and such she is. She’s always late, the reason’s unknown but the rumor mill’s in high gear: Some say she’s just coming from school after spending the night with her boyfriend. So the teacher tries to scold her, but sure enough is too frightened to speak out a warning after Nozomi give her a cold stare.

During lunch break, Ashiya gets to hear all kinds of rumors about Nozomi. Once in middle school, she’s beaten up over 30 guys. After the recent opening ceremony, a teacher stopped her to tell her off about her hair color, got beaten, and Nozomi suspended for a week. She’s doing drugs, has tattoos, sleeps with men for money, those kinds of things. Ashiya doesn’t want to involve himself any further into this, ’cause it reeks of trouble. He strongly believes that luck is accounted for. You experience too much good luck, you’re in for some bad luck. You’re having too much bad luck, there’s some good things coming for you. Anyway, he’s thirsty, so he goes get some juice from the vending machine. It’s one of those machines where you can roll lucky sevens to get an extra pack for free. Sure enough, he rolls lucky sevens and receives a free drink. Wondering whether that’s a good sign since it used quite a bunch of luck, he walks back to his classroom, which leads him past the backside of the gym. There he stops dead in his tracks since he met eyes with someone that put him in a stasis: Nozomi.

She’s sitting there, staring at him. He can’t move or say a thing. Nozomi says a few words to him until she realizes he’s one of her classmates, and then she mentions that she knows that everyone’s gossipping about her. She then puts his hand on her boobs and tells him to search for tattoos, even if it means that she’s to strip (don’t ask me). Anyway, she’s in a bad mood with all the gossips and says he’s the one who’ll pay for it. Scared sh*tless, Ashiya tries to talk his way out of it, but literally has his back against the wall. She tells him to turn around and close his eyes. He’s prepared to die, but apparently Nozomi only takes the free pack from him and then sends him off, so that nobody would see the two of them together which could lead to new rumors.

After school, it turns out their teacher has no time to give Ashiya extra lessons, so he’s free to go. Happy about that lucky development, he decides to stop by a game center to play a few rounds. After arriving there, he sits down to do something on his phone, when a cute girl calls out to him. Apparently, he’s sitting on a spot where people wait to be challenged by others for PvP. Ashiya apologizes, but the girl insists that he should play with her anyway, since there’s hardly anyone visiting the game center these days (internet and stuff). So she teaches him some moves in a beat-’em-up while covering his hand with hers to show him the sequence etc. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) They then talk on a bit longer, she tells him about her favorite anime and all that stuff she has no one to talk to about. He gladly listens to her since, well, she’s cute and he’s charmed. In the end, she (name’s Yuri, btw) does give him her LINE ID, and they part ways.

On his way home, Ashiya bumps into a fearsome guy who claims to be Yuri’s boyfriend – and he breaks Ashiya’s nose. Ashiya runs for his life, arrives at a park, locks himself up in a bathroom stall, but soon the bad guy catches up. He’s about to kick the stall door in, when something in Ashiya feels weird and his vision goes dark – he wakes up in his bed.

He has no injuries. His little sister barges in, demanding a “once in a lifetime” favor (her catchphrase) for him to carry her downstairs. Their parents are working overseas right now, so it’s just the two of them with Ashiya doing all the chores. Ashiya feels like it’s pretty hot for April and turns on the AC.

On the way to school, he notices everyone wearing summer uniforms, and after arriving in class, he notices that the date on the blackboard says June. Apparently, he’s missing two months. Suddenly, Nozomi comes to his seat, looking all fidgety: She wants to go somewhere with him during lunch.

In class, Ashiya tries to figure out his “power.” It’s a super boring class so he tries to skip through it, and sure enough, he wakes up at lunch – but gets dragged out by Nozomi before long. Prepared to die this time for sure and unable to forward time for some reason, he gets dragged to an isolated spot in school. However, it turns out she made a bento for him. Furthermore, it turns out she just wants him to have it. And feed it to him. ‘Cause they’re a couple. They’ve been for about a month. Shocked to the bone, Ashiya can’t get the story of them getting together out of Nozomi, she doesn’t want to talk about it when they barely got together, and Ashiya doesn’t even bother saying he’s got no memory, since who’d believe him, right? After school, he goes to eat a crepe with her, realizing she isn’t exactly as terrifying as he thought, but after one of those incidents, she does throw him to the ground, proving that she’s got muscle.

At home, his sister, Chika, got another once in a lifetime favor to ask of him: To come to her softball match tomorrow. However, turns out Ashiya can’t, ’cause he’s got a new LINE message from Nozomi (whose ID he apparently has now): Don’t forget about our date tomorrow at 10! It’s 9:45 when Ashiya wakes up, he overslept. He throw onto himself whatevers clothes are lying around and charges out of the house. Arriving at the meeting spot, someone covers his eyes from behind. To his surprise, it’s Yuri. He’s, of course, not very amused since he still very well remembers that tough guy beating him up. Turns out that she’s not together with him, although he’s a stalker who claims to be together with her. Anyway, Yuri is a friend of Nozomi’s from middle school. Going over to Nozomi, she rather describes their relationship as “someone I can’t seem to get rid of” and also warns Ashiya that Yuri’s famous for taking away other girls’ boyfriends and thus having made many enemies (which also lead to the incident of Nozomi beating up 30 guys). Yuri denies that and clarifies that they come after her, she doesn’t come after them. However, asked why she’s like that she also says that she wants to be the princess of her own country – whatever that means. So it’s Nozomi and Ashiya’s first date – and Yuri refuses to leave and sticks with them. After all, Nozomi had called her in tears last night, consulting about what to do on dates, so she’s going to give them first-hand instructions. First stop: Fashion store. Yuri points out how bland Ashiya’s clothes are; and Nozomi agrees. Arriving at a store, they decide to make a contest out of it. Whoever picks the better outfit for the other person, gets to ask one whatever thing of them. Yuri’s the judge. Ashiya agrees since that’s his chance to ask Nozomi about how they wound up going out together. Yuri assures him that she’ll vote for him since, in her mind, he’s bound to ask something perverted of Nozomi and she’s dying to see that. After outfit-picking time’s up, Nozomi summons a store clerk, since she’s not trusting Yuri, which obviously frustrates her (although Nozomi’s right to doubt her). Anyway, it’s Nozmi’s win. The clothes she picked for Ashiya are, however, of surprisingly good fashion sense, so he isn’t all too sad about her winning – now he’s got some decent-looking clothes.

They’re eating in the food court, when Nozomi has to go to the toilet and Yuri hints at the fact that Ashiya’s someone special to her as well. At the end of the day, after Yuri’s parted from them, Nozomi decides what the favor she can ask Ashiya to do will be: Calling her by her first name from now on.

Ashiya forgot his homework for a class and decides to timeskip again. He wakes up after school in the classroom. On his way back home, he meets Yuri, who’s been waiting for him. She insists for him to go to a certain place with her. It turns out to be a small store in front of which one of those people in a costume advertise for the store. Apparently, Nozomi is in that costume to earn money for her family (father gone, mother working alone). He saves her from some kids who try to strip her off the costume and gives her a ride home on his bike. He ends up visiting her house as well. Her mother’s not there, but her siblings – a younger brother and sister – are. They eat dinner together and Nozomi invites Ashiya to her secret place on the roof, from where they gaze at the stars. She makes him promise to gaze at the anticipated meteor shower on her birthday – although he doesn’t know when her birthday is.

After he’s back home, Ashiya gets a message from Nozomi – she wants the CD she lent him back tomorrow, as it’s a very important CD to her. He’s got no idea what she’s talking about, looks through his stuff, finds nothing, and decides to skip time to not experience getting mad at.

From here on out, the huge drama starts, just thinking of it makes me kinda angry, so I’ll summarize it in less detail.

He’s having a dream. A dream from back in middle school, where he gave his all in the baseball club. He didn’t have talent, but enjoyed the sport, so he trained a lot to make up for it. Their manager – a girl – one day speaks to him and tells him that she likes his hardworking side. Some day, however, a guy with true talent joins and takes his spot on the team, reducing him to a substitute. They keep winning with him and when they eventually are about to qualify for the nationals, the guy gets pissed off in the game because of girl trouble and leaves. Apparently, the manager ended up going out with the talented guy and that dude was two-timing. Anyway, Ashiya does his best to substitute and tries everything, even getting cheered on by a girl in the crowd, but fails and they don’t go to the nationals. That was the day he realized that hard work doesn’t matter and only the result counts. So if you’re not training much but got the talent to succeed, it’s better than trying hard and failing to show results.

He wakes up in someone else’s bed. In Yuri’s, to be exact. It’s three months later. She says – in hardly any clothes – that they had a lot of fun last night, and that they should have more fun all day since it’s Sunday. He leaves her apartment and looks through his phone – a new one he hasn’t seen before – Nozomi’s number is nowhere to be found.

Arriving at school, Nozomi’s already in class and cheerfully talks with a bunch of classmates. When she takes notice of him, all she’s got is a cold, piercing stare. Later, Ashiya tries to talk to her, but she basically tells him to f*ck off. When she leaves the classroom, he shadows her, but of course gets spotted out by her, and she asks him whether he’s trying to make her even more angry. He’s no idea what she’s talking about, which does indeed make her even more angry. Suddenly, his phone rings. She insists that he picks it up. It’s Yuri who asks whether he’s got her handkerchief, he must’ve kept it after he spent the night with her. Nozomi hears all of it, breaks out in tears and says that he wasn’t there yesterday on her birthday, to watch the meteorite shower with her. Everything had been planned, she had a cake, deco, but was alone. And on top of that he spent the night before her birthday with Yuri. She leaves in tears.

Yuri’s waiting for him. He finally asks her whether they’d done something wrong that night. She tells him that they were only gaming until late, and that Nozomi is a friend of hers and she wouldn’t do anything to hurt her. And she wants him to make up with her. He also finally asks her how Nozomi and him ended up together. Apparently, there was an almost drowning small kitten they saved and took care of together, and they looked for a new home for the kitten. After that incident, Ashiya ended up visiting Nozomi behind the gym a lot, talking with her. She called Yuri on a daily basis and told her how fun it is to not be lonely in school and have someone to talk to. When Yuri mentions to her that she should look out so that he won’t get taken away by another girl, Nozomi suddenly confessed to him the next day. When he also finally asks her why she would be with a dirtbag like him, it gets out that actually the two of them were watching that baseball game back in the day and Nozomi liked how he was trying so hard when his whole team had already given up. By the way, Yuri was the reason the other guy left pissed off since their manager thought he was two-timing with Yuri. Anyway, also during the school sports festival which was like two weeks ago, while timeskipping Ashiya (or whoever he is when he’s not consciously experiencing reality) held a fiery speech declaring that Nozomi isn’t the punk everyone takes her for, but a good and innocent girl instead and begs them to give her a chance on the team. He also gets a photo from that event on which Nozomi and he are, close to each other, smiling from ear to ear.

At last, that makes Ashiya realize that it’s not just the result that matters, but also the way to get there on which he’s been skipping out.

The next day in school he goes to the sports field on a hill there and shouts out that he loves Nozomi. She comes running for him and tells him to stop, it’s embarrassing. He then does his dogeza, starts an inspirational speech that’s supposed to be romantic, I guess, and asks her to dump his ass so that they could start again from zero. She agrees and kisses him.


Volume 1 Cover

Usually, I like to tear my reviews down into parts like story, characters, and so on to try and show you where the book excels and where it falls short. This time, however, I won’t do that. In fact, it might become one lengthy rant, since ShiranaiRomCom has, in my opinion, exactly one strong point. Let’s get that point over with:

The main heroine, Nozomi, is a very likeable, authentic, considerate, and sweet character that you just cannot help but like. She does get an okay amount of depth and tries her best to save this novel, but it’s not enough. Why? Well, let’s start the rant, then.

While the book has a kinda interesting beginning that suggests a cinderella-kind of story, it doesn’t make you wait to disappoint in that regard. This novel basically wants to tell you the same thing that that movie with Adam Sandlers (I think) where he got that remote to control his life wants to tell you: Fast-forwarding through annoying parts of your life wouldn’t help you, or in other words, it’s not just the result that counts, but the way you took to get there. How does it do that? Well, Ashiya discovers that he has the “power” to skip time into the future. Why in quotes? Because the moment he first discovers that “power,” he thinks he’s going to get killed, so I’d even argue he had a mental breakdown and developed a split personality while his original consciousness is gone until it becomes active again – which is two months later in his case. There’s no real evidence that he’s got any power whatsoever. He can’t use it reliably, can’t control it, and it’s basically just him closing his eyes, wishing for time to fly by, and then a random amount of time’s gone, while his split personality as I call it lives his life in the meantime.

Is him having a “split personality” a bad thing? For you, as a reader, it is. Effectively, you’re missing out on 5 1/2 months of a total 6 months of all the stuff that happens in volume 1. And it’s not like you get to read the good two weeks of that. All the good stuff happens in those 5 1/2 months which are skipped, and you don’t get to know all too much about those events, just a few short sentences to tease you that something good happened. Practically, however, Ashiya’s split personality does better than him. By far. When “Ashiya himself” is active, all he does is being a self-doubting, cold asshole, while his split personality actually does an effort to be nice to Nozomi and get closer to her.

That’s actually one of the biggest problems of ShiranaRomCom: The protagonist. He skips time since he’s about to get killed, then awakes two months later and finds out that he’s together with that delinquent girl everyone’s afraid of. He super afraid of her although all she did to him now was showing him sweet gestures and smiles, she didn’t do a single thing that would make him think the rumors are true. He states that he doesn’t just believe those rumors, yet clearly behaves like someone who does. Anyway, on top of not giving him reasons to be afraid of her, after his time skip and them ending up going out together, she goes out of her way to be the perfect girlfriend. Yet all he does is doubting that someone like her would like his sorry ass, so he’s looking for a hitch all the time while showing her the could shoulder or being a flat-out asshole. Like when she’s trying on cute clothes and while he thinks she looks super cute he’s like, “Looks okay, I guess.” You gotta actively try to be that much of a jerk.

He even ends up breaking her heart just because he wants to skip time to not have to face her when he can’t give back a f*cking CD he borrowed. Half the novel is the drama he produces with that dumbass decision. But it’s not the skipping alone that screws him over, it’s also the persistent miscommunication that takes place. I’d go even further and say all problems don’t stem from his “power” but his lack of communication skills. He doesn’t make much of an effort to get the information he’s missing due to the skipping. He breaks her heart by leaving her alone on her birthday, he didn’t skip past her birthday – I’d even bet his split personality would’ve rocked it – he simply didn’t know when her birthday was and ended up missing it. That’s one big part of the resulting drama and heartbreak: Why did he not ask when her birthday is? She obviously told his split personality, so was he afraid to ask since he was ought to know already? Maybe. However, he could’ve just been like, “Sorry, just to make sure: When’s your birthday again? I really don’t want to forget.” But no, he decides to remain silent. Another big part of the drama is him waking up in Yuri’s bed the day before Nozomi’s birthday. To be f*cking honest with you, that’s pretty cheaty already. Even if nothing happened, how would you feel about that in Nozomi’s shoes? Anyway, again, Ashiya made no effort to ask Yuri whether something had happened between them. That also contradicts the message this novel tries to convey, when the skipping’s not the issue, but his sorry uncommunicative ass is. It’s just so frustrating to read nothing but the parts where Ashiya keeps f*cking up trying to figure out what happened by doing effectively nothing. All you read about is him being cold and breaking the heart of one of the sweetest heroines I’ve come across by being one of the biggest and dumbest jerks of all time. I actually agree with him: He doesn’t deserve her.

But even she has her weak points because of the author’s weird sense for story development. Literally the first time Ashiya talks to her, she makes him grab her boobs in an effort to prove that she’s not a delinquent like everyone says. Even suggesting she should strip on the spot to show that she’s got no tattoos. How does that make a point in anything? All it does is leave the impression that she’s a slut, and it just plain goes against the character she then shows to be. Dumb.

Yuri, probably supposed to be the second heroine of sorts, is a character I don’t know what to make of. She seems to be a cute, young nerd at first. But then again she also hits on Ashiya when Nozomi’s a good friend of hers. But then again she doesn’t want to make her sad and only loves Ashiya as a friend. But then again she spends the night with him half naked. On top of that she has dozens of male “friends” who are all over her. I just don’t know what she’s supposed to be. And I’m not sure whether the author knows either.

Honestly, the only thing that would’ve saved this dumb story full of plotholes would’ve been if Ashiya’s “power” would work in both ways – skip forward and backward. If Ashiya could’ve gone back to fix his crap, I could’ve kinda settled with the story. However, all you get is the worst parts of a “rom-com” while the author keeps all the good stuff sealed away in skipped time and then lets it end in one of the dumbest conclusions I’ve ever read. Ashiya doesn’t deserve a second chance by a long shot. His dumb ass broke her heart, he should’ve had to pay for it. Yet, she goes with the “break up with me” bullsh*t and even kisses him. I don’t even…

All this novel has going for itself is Nozomi, and that it’s not a total mess in terms of writing. I guess you could also say that the setting is not a totally overused one, but not a unique gem, either. I can bring myself to give it 4 points, it’s a weak 4, though. A very weak one. Easily one of the worst light novels I’ve read so far.

Rating 4/10


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