Flash Review – The Girl I Saved on the Train Turned Out to Be My Childhood Friend (Vol. 1)

The last time Ryo Takamori spoke to Hina Fushimi was in middle school, when the two started drifting apart. However, they have a chance reunion in high school when he saves her from a molester on a train. Terrible as this harassment is for her, it rekindles the pair’s dead friendship. Friendship isn’t all that Fushimi’s after, though, because she’s helplessly in love with Ryo, who’s 112% oblivious to her feelings.

The Breezy Pace:

The chief appeal of the light novel is getting full stories in bite-sized increments, but I was surprised at how speedily this light novel shoots off its scenes and chapters. The protagonist goes from school to the convenience store for snacks in a single sentence, then arrives home by the next sentence. The obvious drawback to this approach is that scenes end as quickly as they begin, so you get about twenty seconds to enjoy something before you’re shuffled off to the next scenario. Still, I was digging the rapid fire. I wish isekais would borrow this cue rather than harping on and on about the minor stat boost the protagonist gets from rocks.

The Yandere Heroine:

I must say I was shocked at how forward Fushimi is with her advances. Like, spectacularly forward, without making a spectacle of it. In casual conversation, she comes right out with “I love you.” Mad respect for her. Though she loses some of that respect when she goes yandere. A girl could ask Ryo for the time and she drops the room temperature to below freezing with her murderous aura. She’s a decent, courageous girl but has this unhealthy belief that jealousy is good for a relationship.

That Oddball Character:

Fushimi’s yandere tendencies aside, the cast are normal, believable people. Cartoony personalities in manga are great fun, but it’s nice to kick back and relax with everyday folk. Regrettably, that R&R gets a hairline fracture when we meet Ryo’s little sister: a gyaru who plays the part of his mother and shows hints of wanting to bed him. I’m not sure why it is that manga and light novels will have a cast of upright citizens and then feel the need to toss in a catgirl. It’s like they’re terrified readers will dump them into the incinerator if there isn’t that one cringey character real-life people steer clear of on the sidewalk.

The Verdict:

Quite nice. Partly probably because the occasional talk of Ryo’s social capital going up after shutting down a girl smack-talking Fushimi gives me vibes of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki, which I love and adore. But it’s also a slice-of-life that doesn’t get mired in the unnecessary details, which is perfect for someone like me, who gets bored easily.

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