Manga Monday: My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1

Series: My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! #1
Author: Tetsu Tsutsui
Artist: Koyubi Sugawara
Publisher: Kodansha Comics
Released: January 4, 2022
Received: NetGalley

What would you do if your idol transferred to your school, but nobody seemed to recognize her? This is the question that My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1 decided to tackle.

Sakiko Manaka is obsessed with Chiro-chan. Not in an unhealthy way; she just thinks that Chiro-chan is the best idol out there and that the world will someday see this and agree with her. So imagine Sakiko’s surprise (and delight) when her favorite idol walked into her classroom one day.

Only nobody else seems to know that it’s Chiro-chan. She seems to be trying to fly under the radar, likely hoping to get a good education. As a fan, it is Sakiko’s duty to keep this secret.

Oh my, goodness, did this series have potential! I love the premise of My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1. For the first few chapters, I was hooked. The plot was strong enough on its own before they decided to go and throw in another complication.

Unfortunately, I didn’t really like that complication. Her name is Maaya Tozawa, and this girl should probably come with her own trigger warnings. She’s a stalker and cyberbully and is pretty willing to do whatever it takes to get closer to her idol, including indulging in abusive behavior.

It adds a sour tone to what was otherwise an endearing and charming series. I didn’t like how lightly the whole Maaya plot was addressed. Heck (spoiler warning), at one point, Sakiko invites Maaya into the friend group, knowing full well that she’s a cyberbully. Not only was this pretty naive, but it was unkind to Chiro-chan, whom she didn’t bother to warn (side note: if you know somebody is stalking your friend, TELL THEM).

Long story short, I had high hopes for My Idol Sits the Next Desk Over! Vol. 1, but they kinda fell flat thanks to a couple (read: one) unnecessary plot points.

Thanks to Kodansha Comics and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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