Review: Days with My Stepsister, Vol. 1

Evaluation: Days with My Stepsister, Vol. 1

This is a story about this girl and me—two strangers until yesterday—and how we became family

The cover of Days with My Stepsister’s first volume isn’t porn, and most of the pictures are either humorous or totally devoid of fanservice. Starting a family is mentioned in the story’s opening line, and Yuuta, the main character, behaves elegantly with his new 16-year-old sister, who is a week younger than him. But is it all the series has to offer? It’s heading in that direction, isn’t it? Great questions. Overall, volume one is a pleasant and enjoyable read, although there are signs that many readers would find it uncomfortable.

Days with My Stepsister opens with Yuuta recalling his father’s announcement that their two-person family would be expanding by two. He manages it quite well, particularly when they believe he is expecting a baby sister who will attend elementary school. However, Yuuta and his father are shocked to learn about Saki Ayase, a gorgeous, blonde teenager who attends Yuuta’s school, on the day of the move-in. His best friend Maru explains that there are claims that she sells her body for sex, which is how he learns that she doesn’t have the best reputation there.

This seems like the perfect backdrop for a novel with graphic sexual content, but volume one takes a different turn. Yuuta and Saki do, in fact, have a humorous but fascinating debate regarding sex workers (one could also infer from this what they think about LGBTQ problems generally). Aside from being full of fluffy bits that are put together in a “pick your tropes” style, the novel is also quite enjoyable to read. It features an underappreciated but incredibly skilled and kind protagonist, an amazing but misunderstood woman who cooks and keeps your relationship a secret from others, and supportive friends.

Yes, this is essentially The Angel Next Door Spoils Me Rotten, except of course Yuuta and Saki are siblings and help each other with “assignments” (she cooks, while he looks for a high-paying, part-time job for her).

The rub is right there. Going back to the introduction, you may be tempted to believe that the central theme of this series is actually the formation of a family. Alternatively, you may be more dubious and ponder why the author italicized the word “family.” To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where the series is going. Eventually, Yuuta and Saki might start dating and become married. Saki might work as a prostitute legally. The two might grow up to be real siblings in the accurate, non-otaku sense of the word. Or a mix of the aforementioned elements might be included in the series.

But it does appear inevitable that Yuuta and Saki will grow closer to one another romantically before deciding to either go the icky Oreimo (sorry for the spoiler!) path or separate and behave like family members as they should.

Overall, this is a very enjoyable and captivating book, but whether or not you want to check out the series will depend mostly on how well you can handle the incestuous relationship. The fact that Days with My Stepsister has side characters that merit (and appear to be getting) substantial development in subsequent volumes makes it better written than the previously noted comparable series, The Angel Next Door Spoilers Me Rotten.

Naturally, there is a big “but” in this situation. We’ll forgive you up front if you decide to forego this series in favor of the sibling road that lies ahead. For my part, I’ll keep reading since it’s so short and enjoyable—at least until the nausea makes me want to say goodbye to Yuuta and his stepsister.

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