Reading O-Shaka-sama mo Miteru: Cho Nankai Mondaishuu (お釈迦様もみてる超難解問題集) it suddenly dawned on me why I simply do not enjoy this series as much as I might. And with that, I formulated a new rule of writing for myself:
If you create a really great ensemble of characters and then spend a lot of time with a really irritating character instead, people will not like your story.
In the Oshaka series we have Yuuki, Arisu, Kobayashi and Takada all of whom are fun to follow. And no matter how many of these books there are, Andre-sempai will never, ever be a fun character. He’s a self-important jerk at the best of times. So when you keep taking the focus off your fun characters to spend time with the jerk, it’s going to make readers grumpy.
This book deals with the end-of-term exams and the four first-years’ issues with them. Yuuki is, predictably, a good if not outstanding student. Arisu is in the top ten of their year. Takada barely passed last semester and Kobayashi failed just about everything that wasn’t math. Andre-sempai spends much of the first two thirds of the book importuning the younger students to “Study, already” to the point of obsession. He’s not wrong – members of the Student Council do need to keep their grades up, but his constant nagging was merely that – nagging.
In the end, everyone’s grades jumped but Arisu, who remained #7. So yay, but what an annoying story.
The final third of the book is what happened on the day after New Year’s Day and why Yuuki was at Sachiko’s house when Yumi arrived. Once again I adore Sayoko, Sachiko’s mother more than anyone. And once again we spend a few moments in Yuuki’s head wondering if Kashiwagi is gay…or, not really wondering, just sort of mentioning it, just in case we forgot that he might be. The more Yuuki wonders about it, the less I’m convinced. It seems too much like service.
I don’t hate these novels – and we know that Andre-sempai isn’t in the Hanadera Council next year – so I’m sticking with the series to see what happens. I expect the next one deals with the Student Council elections and, maybe, Valentine’s Day.
Overall – 7
It was nice to see Sei again…. ^_^