My Life is Not a Manga, or maybe...

My Life is Not a Manga, or maybe...

by EO Tenkey

Xavier had a happy, humdrum life: normal friendships, a normal girlfriend, a somewhat oddball family. Until, that is, he literally stumbled through the fourth wall and discovered he was the protagonist of a manga.

Now he's scrambling to maintain any semblance of control over his own life in the face of something he never imagined he would need to contend with: the power of the Genre.

Hello, E.O. Tenkey here; thank you for your interest in "Not A Manga"! This was my first serial novel, and I hope you enjoy Xavier's predicament!

Familiarity with manga not required (though it can't hurt)! I look forward to exploring the bounds of the Genre with you.

(First volume is rated PG-13 for comic mayhem and light profanity—these are high school students, after all. Second volume is rated PG-13 to R for some violence and similar levels of profanity. Tags may or may not contain spoilers.)

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EO Tenkey

EO Tenkey

Top List #2000
Royal Writathon April 2022 winner
Word Count (13)
3rd Anniversary
Premium Member
Table of Contents
102 Chapters
Chapter Name Release Date
Harem Scarem: 001 ago
Harem Scarem: 002 ago
Harem Scarem: 003 ago
Harem Scarem: 004 ago
Harem Scarem: 005 ago
Harem Scarem: 006 ago
Harem Scarem: 007 ago
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Harem Scarem: 037 ago
Harem Scarem: 038 ago
Harem Scarem: 039 ago
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Volume 1 Author's Note (Royal Road exclusive) ago
Styx: 001 ago
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Styx: 027 - Interlude ago
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5 Years Later ago

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Fun and entertaining

Reviewed at: Styx: 001

This story is about a guy who one day realizes he's in a harem manga and does everything in his power to maintain control.

It's fun to see the tropes subverted. You might think that x character is a typical tsundere/older sister character/something else, but the author has something up his sleeve. 

There is also a sadistic pleasure in watching the MC think he has more control over his life than he actually does. It's like pets in a box. No matter what they do or where they go, at anytime the big and scary human can do literally anything to them.


The author keeps things logically consistent and the grammar is good. There is no need to over think or memorize anything to enjoy the story. Just sit back and relax.

Edit: unfortunately the author didn't really go anywhere with the first arc and the ending was extremely anticlimactic. To make things worse, the second arc basically threw away all the previous characters. It's like the author got bored of the initial story and decided to trash it.


Suprised at the lack of reviews on this one.

It's always a pleasure to come across technically sound writing in a story and this one is no exception. Clear care has been taken to minimising typos and word choice is apt. The first chapter rambles somewhat when introducing the subject matter. That awkward bit of exposition aside, the rest of the writing is much easier to follow.

It took a while but i like the fact that the protagonist has started to act rather than react to/avoid certain scenarios. Genre savvy/common sense is usually a nice quality in protagonist and, is almost a requirement with this premise, and our lead has this in spades. It was appreciated to read about a lead who can think critically about, and react sensibly to, thier situation.

The supporting characters are all decently done but of those introduced as of Chapter 26, the only ones that really had me curious about thier backstory were the one with with the suprisingly wild past and the one with the unfortunate home situation. Given the premise/genre the majority of scenarios are inevitably contrived or coincidental and as a result I'd have like to see a greater emphasis on developing engaging characters. Thankfully the protagonists proactive attitude appears to be encouraging this development.

Overall the writing is good, plot is interesting and characters are nicely written. I would definitely recommend this work.


Spoilers ahead. Only read TL;DR if you don't want any spoilers. But let me make this clear, regardless of my negative views, this is definitely a well written story that is rarely found in RR.


Honestly, the first volume was great. It didn't fail in doing what it was supposed to do and it kept up the quality until the last chapter or two with no real problems.

The real problem came with the second volume however, and with the authors confession of just skipping the real second volume because he didn't really like the genre he originally planned for it... I mean, it's good that the author didn't write a fic he doesn't enjoy personally because there's no way the readers will enjoy that in that case but c'mon, how does that make sense?

Anyway, the second volume... It's not good. It's not as well planned, or well written as the first one. Also, the genre changed waaayyy too much in a matter of half a chapter. Every single character aside from the protagonist will appearently never be seen for at least 2 whole volumes because this next genre is going to last for so long. Addittionally, 2 years of timeskip between the first volume and the second was a bad idea considering the fact that we never even got to see how his life turned out to be after he solved his problem in the first volume. So learning that this is 2 years after that and understanding that he'll never get to be friends with those girls again is honestly speaking; annoying. It was such a disappointing and half assed ending that somehow managed to keep him-an avid manga reader-satisfied for over two years even though he probably would have raged at reading this type of ending to one of his favourite series.

Think about it, 2 YEARS. The girl who was staying with them has probably moved on looong ago, his 'childhood friend' might have gone through 5 other boyfriends by now and has most certainly forgotten about him, the busty girl is probably having difficulties making any friends now that she is going to college and can't even spend time with the tsundere and the tsundere and the teacher still haven't even gotten close to somehow solving their personal problems that end up causing them so much grief.

How am I supposed to be satisfied with that ending? Especially when it has been going on for so long that there's literally no chance of ever getting back what he briefly had back then. It's not even about the harem, it's just the fact that he gave up such a fun and interesting highschool life. And for what? For having 'control' of his life?

"Well, enjoy your stupid control now, you dumb isekai 'hero' who has to try his goddamn hardest to even survive. I bet you are regretting ever getting out of that genre. And I hope you never get it back because you don't deserve any of them" This was all I could think of while reading the first couple of chapters of volume 2. Yeah... It's certainly frustrating.



TL;DR: Anyway, read this only if you are sure that a completely unsatisfying ending will not bother you. It's written very well, but the frustrating ways he deals with his amazing life makes it a bit uncertain if the quality writing is worth it or not.


Mildly interesting

Reviewed at: Styx: 016

Watch the tags before reading otherwise you're setting yourself up for disapointment big time at the end of volume 1. The prose is good though, so that's something at least.


I got to ch.20 (it’s ok)

Reviewed at: Harem Scarem: 020

it’s a ok read just didn’t appeal to me characters just couldn’t capture my interest.


Interesting premise but I found myself disappointed by the fact that after a bit the story devolves to just being a standard harem manga type story.

Nothing wrong with that but I was hoping for the MC to change things from the standard harem story given the fact that he is self-aware. If you enjoy these types of stories this novel is for you. if you expecting this novel to actually subvert your expectations then i would recommend looking elsewhere.

Still can't say I disliked it so ill give it a 3/5. I would recommend giving it a few chapters before deciding for yourself.

Please keep in mind I did not read all the way and my review is just based on what I saw in the first 10 chapters.



It just keeps on giving Cliche after Cliche

Reviewed at: Harem Scarem: 015

Found this purely by chance and I'm loving it. Characters are straight out of Manga, hence the title, but they are so well done.

I'm not knowledgeable on the subject matter but you don't need to be as it's very well written and 9 chapters in I'm laughing out loud and really enjoying it.

Look forward to reading more and seeing how this all goes.



Well written, entertaining

Reviewed at: Harem Scarem: 004

Let's do this in order, shall we? Mild spoilers ahead. Maybe.

TL;DR: Great story. Read it. Features a genre-aware MC, something of a rarity.

First off is Style. While I still have no idea what really goes into the Style category, so I'll just base this off of things like Memorability and Flow. Or basically anything that doesn't really fall into the other categories.

The story flows smoothly. I found nothing interrupted me in-story while I was reading. The problem, though, is how memorable it is. While the story's good. Like, really good. Sometimes the events all blur together in a general idea of 'This'. And while this may simply be a personal problem due to reading too many things at the same time, a few stories manage to stand out. Not a Manga, despite its rather unique premise, somehow fails to stand out as Impressive (note the capital I) in my mind.

Maybe a re-read is in order.

Next comes Story. The story is about Xavier, a normal high-school student. Or he is, until he breaks through the fourth wall and discovers he's a Manga protagonist.

So I've seen a few other stories advertising similar premises. But they tend to turn into Action and probably Harem stories, where the MC doesn't focus on subverting their tropes after a while. Which is a shame, because that's what I came in for. But hey, this one actually focuses on character development and subverting tropes! And it didn't get derailed by invading demons, system notifications, and mysterious magical factions meant to differentiate the various 'routes' of each girl!

... Okay, getting a little sidetracked there. Not a Manga, despite its Harem tag, is more about the Main Character trying to get out of the harem, rather than collect it. And while it takes a little bit for Xavier to start plotting, it doesn't get boring in the in-between times. Well, it didn't for me, anyway. A few people seem to think different. *shrug*

I expect there to be more plot now that we're out of the Harem genre. Or maybe we're still in it...?

Aaaand then Grammar. Nothing to really say here. It's practically flawless. Or at least, I've failed to notice any mistakes. 5/5

And last but not least, Character. I like the characters. They're great. At first they seem two-dimensional, like any self-respecting manga character should be (lol), but they eventually reveal themselves to have their own Selves. I mean, there are a lot of harem stories where the harem members get their own backgrounds, but they tend to become dependent on the MC. But these ones are just, y'know, they're like people. Once Xavier pushes them away a little, it's revealed that their worlds don't completely revolve around him. Unlike Some stories...

Xavier bumbles a little at first, getting to grips on a certain Thing that happened after he found out that he was in a manga. I saw someone complaining about it (or I think I did), but I think it's understandable, and totally in-character. It's nice to see that the MC isn't perfect. The story picks up after a while, if you wanna know. If you're too impatient to get through it... well then. Your loss, I guess.

He's genre-aware, which, despite many stories trying to incorporate that into their characters, they end up using as a get-out-of-jail-free card instead of a character trait. Not a Manga doesn't fall into that trap, and incorporates it into the character nicely.

Characters are important. Especially in a Harem story. The thing is, few people who actually write harem don't seem to get that, adding girls and making them like planets to a sun. In which the sun is the Main Character. That makes them kind of bland when you take them away from the guy. Only thinking about him. Will he like it if I wear this, would he praise me if I brought him that. Oh hey, other harem member, let's talk about The Man. Look it's a non-harem member background guy/gal, let's regale him with tales of our beloved! And so on. They're all so... so... what's the point of making a character with a background and a personality when all they do is swoon!?


Sorry, this went into rant territory. Anyway, they aren't like that. I think. Maybe I'm biased, but it's my opinion on this story. And if you disagree with me, maybe write your own review?


“A” for effort, “meh” for execution

Reviewed at: Styx: 001

Disclaimer: I only read the first story arc and the first and last chapters of the second story arc.

The premise of the story was really interesting; harem manga protagonist accidentally breaks the 4th wall, realizes he's in a manga and tries to get his life back. But the actual construction fell flat.

First off, there were a lot of genre and culture explanations that just felt unnecessary. I get that the MC's character archetype is "dangerously genre savvy", but I didn't need an entire intro chapter dedicated to explaining the existence of manga, complete with vocabulary references that don't have any further bearing on the story. The random Japanese terms and explanations interspersed in the story made it feel more like middle school fanfiction than anything else. Also, I'm supposed to believe that his high school has a Japanese language class (as opposed to French, Spanish, or any number of languages that a small town high school might be inclined to offer) and yet no one he knows is interested in manga or anime? 

The author tried to give justifications for why the MC "had" to go along with things, but they were unconvincing. Giving his phone number to a girl he finds annoying because the doesn't want to be late for class? Going to a party with someone because she emotionally blackmailed him into it? I'm not buying that there was no other way to resolve these situations.

The harem itself was underwhelming. The girls in the harem had lacklustre motivations and their character arcs were repetitive. One of them just kind of... faded from the story with no real justification. The MC's plan for dealing with her was "ignore it and hope it goes away". It worked, but then why didn't he do that with all the others? His final "solution" for not having to spend time with the entire harem was something he could have done right from the beginning.

Also, I don't know if the author was trying to call out the inherent sexism in the harem genre, or just attempting to characterize the MC as a stereotypical teenage boy, but I random elements of the story oversexualised the harem women to the point of misogyny. He walks in on a girl in the bathroom, points out the "lucky lecher" trope, and we get a parapgraph about her perfect butt. Random encounter with a woman in the mall and his first impression of her is "sex on legs", and he continues to refer to her as the "sex bomb" throughout the story. The objectification didn't add anything to the story, but it sure did a good job of alienating me.

So in the end, it felt like a story written by a horny middle school boy who just got into Japanese culture and is super eager to share his "expertise". I commend the author for finishing the story, because writing is *hard* and that accomplishment deserves to be acknowledged. 

Hairdryer Ascender

This is good! Hehe, I look forward to it. It’s only been 2 chapters so far, but I want moar.