For the past six months, Ordinary High-School Student Saya Hokage has been suffering from a strange case of insomnia. She's tried everything she can think of— tea, exercise, sleeping meds, you name it— no matter what, Saya just can't get to sleep. But her luck finally turns around when she has a strange encounter with Hitsuji Konparu, an odd girl with a habit of falling asleep in unusual places. Despite seemingly being polar opposites, Hitsuji and Saya's oddities stem from the same source.
You see, Hitsuji is actually a "Sleepwalker," a person who is able to control their actions in the "Nightland," a realm made up of the collective unconscious of humanity during sleep. In Nightland, the Sleepwalkers have to fight the Suiju, parasitic monsters that possess people as they sleep. Saya ends up joining Hitsuji and the rest of her team of Sleepwalkers in order to protect humanity from the Suiju— and also in order to get a good night's sleep from Hitsuji's powers.
Side-By-Side Dreamers (そいねドリーマー , Soine Dreamer) is a Sci-Fi action Yuri Light Novel written by Iori Miyazawa (Otherside Picnic) and illustrated by Akane Malbeni. J-Novel Club licensed the book in English in 2019.
This work provides examples of:
- Animal Motifs: Hitsuji has a minor sheep motif. Her mug has a lamb character on it, her curly hair is evocative of sheep's wool, and when the mysterious goat riding man tries to warn Saya about the egg-shaped cores that Hitsuji keeps pulling from defeated Suiju, he tells her to "beware the sheep's egg."
- Asleep in Class: The book opens with Saya in class with the narration noting how several other girls are clearly on the verge of nodding off, while Saya is literally unable to.
- Bittersweet Ending: Saya and Hitsuji end up unable to return to Dayland after enacting their plan against the Suiju, but they have each other.
- Conveniently Seated: The opening narration of the book notes that Saya is in the perfect seat to get away with napping during class (back row, window seat), but she's of course unable to due to her insomnia.
- Dream Land: The Nightland.
- Dream Weaver: All of the Sleepwalkers are able to use lucid dreaming to fight the Suiju. Kaede in particular has a talent at this, often transforming herself into different, more powerful forms while dreaming.
- Exhausted Eyebags: It's noted several times that Saya has prominent eyebags due to her insomnia.
- Gamer Girl: Ran is a self-proclaimed gamer and uses armor and weapons that look straight out of an RPG when fighting Suiju in Nightland. She tells Saya that it's easier to prepare a weapon based on something one is familiar with.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: The first thing Saya notices when she enters Hitsuji's room is the variety of stuffed animals lined up by her bed.
- The Insomniac: Saya starts the book suffering from an extended case of insomnia, which turns out to have been the work of a Suiju.
- Multiple Narrative Modes: The story switches from third person to first person during dreams.
- An Odd Place to Sleep: Hitsuji has a reputation for sleeping in strange places, such as the school roof. It turns out she's choosing to sleep in strange places because her "Blanket" ability makes anyone else in the vicinity fall asleep when she starts sleeping.
- Once Done, Never Forgotten: The other Sleepwalkers never resist an opportunity to give Saya a hard time about the time she kissed Hitsuji while her mind was still addled from a dream.
- Weaker in the Real World: Saya notes that it's surprising to see Hitsuji so intense while fighting Suiju in the Nightland when she seems so delicate and aloof in the waking world.
- Yuri Genre: A reoccurring point of tension is the fact that Hitsuji and Saya have some strange chemistry in the Nightland while just being (somewhat frosty) friends in the real world, but at the book's end Saya realizes that she actually has feelings for Hitsuji, who reveals herself to having loved Saya since the day they met, whether dreaming or waking. In addition, a dream towards the middle of the book reveals that Kaede seems to have secret, unrequited feelings for Midori.