What Happens When the Second Male Lead Powers Up


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I was transported into the romantic fantasy novel my younger sister was reading, not as the male lead but as the second male lead. If I remember correctly, this punk is fated to go into war in the future and die in the male lead’s place.

Okay, I’ve made up my mind. Let’s not go anywhere near the main characters and stay healthy until I can go home.

Associated Names
One entry per line
What Happens When the Sub Male Lead Goes on Strike
When the Third Wheel Strikes Back
서브 남주가 파업하면 생기는 일
Related Series
Trash of the Count’s Family (17)
Omniscient Reader’s Viewpoint (7)
The S-Classes That I Raised (6)
Ex Rank Supporting Role’s Replay in a Prestigious School (5)
Trapped in a Webnovel as a Good-For-Nothing (3)
Emilone’s Temptation Labyrinth (3)
Recommendation Lists
  1. fantasy
  2. Historical Setting
  3. comfort reads
  4. the holy trinity and...
  5. Gonna read(one dayT-T)

Latest Release

Date Group Release
06/13/24 EatApplePies c184
06/06/24 EatApplePies c183
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62 Reviews sorted by

anonmily rated it
March 25, 2021
Status: --
Oooh this is really great this far. Love the MC and there's this sense of mystery as we figure things out along with him. The MC is righteous and definitely healthy mentally (unlike the characters in so many other isekai novels who seem to be psychopathic or morally lax), and it is just so heartwarming to see his kindness change the people around him. Great translation too! Definitely looking forward to more.

I see a reviewer complain that he is mary sue/virg*n mary, but he is far from mary sue in... more>> my opinion. He just has a healthy, compassionate mentality with a soft spot for kids. Rather than going to the extremes and seeing the world in black and white, he sees the world in gray—everyone has a bit of white in them. That's not to say he is a pushover though; when he sees injustice he isn't afraid to stand out to protect what he believes in or to right a wrong. He's willing to give people a second chance when he sees that their troubles, but only if they can be redeemed and the damage is not too great. Also, it's actually easier on yourself to forgive than hold hatred and resentment. Why hold onto negative feelings when you can choose to be happy?

Apart from the great MC, the surrounding characters are also very lively and deep, and the author does a great job with plot and character development. There's definitely plot twists and suspense too! It's also just so funny whenever the two protagonists fight for his attention like fire and water (literally) and he's just like "Ah, they make such a good couple". XD <<less
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Fanya rated it
March 25, 2021
Status: c12
Maybe I'm too jaded/realistic to read such novels. The plot is flowing fine so far, the translation is also nice, but I just can't stand the virg*n mary type of MC anymore after reading so many LN. The "oh they tried to kill me? um...I'm sure they regret it, I forgive them!" or "ah, I just encountered kid assassins and now there's another kid throwing knife at me.... but he looks like he's not feeling well so I'm gonna go over to feel his forehead". I'm done with MCs with... more>> I'm-just-gonna-work-hard-I'm-sure-everyone-is-nice-everything-will-be-fine mentality. If you like mary sue/virg*n mary type of MC, then this is a nice read. <<less
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FanGirlNoha rated it
June 14, 2021
Status: c23
This is quite good. It's not an action packed novel, but a slice of life one. So, if you like relaxing things to read, you can read it. I like the story so far and many readers who have gone at least 2/3rd of the novel have praised its quality. Our MC is a nice person and he has similar aspirations as Cale from TCF - leading a slacker life. And just like Cale, he fails magnificently! 😅🤣 Though we can't get a concrete idea about the MC, it's easy... more>> to say that he'll be similar to Cale (though he seems like a Gary Stu in the beginning, he's not completely saint-like) The other ML is probably a tsundere


(although some readers say that he's a yandere.)


The FL hasn't been seen too many times till now. So we're still in the mystery when it comes to her. The worldbuilding itself seems quite interesting. The only thing I hate about this is that this is not BL. (Don't get me wrong, I like my share of action packed straight romances, but the sheer potential that this novel has for crossing over into the BL genre is too much! 🙈🙈🙈 It's a josei. So, there's this teasing manner that creates a compulsion of shipping the two male leads together 😂)

Anyway, jokes apart, there's no real romance till now.

I do have this faint suspicion that the FL is the MC's sister who has also reincarnated/transmigrated - the OG FL was supposed to be a transmigrated person anyway. She was in a coma and woke up after the MC came into the novel and her actions have been slightly different from the original novel. Although this is just a suspicion, if it becomes true, we'll probably have zero romance : (


Overall, it's a good novel. Don't get discouraged about my BL joke. Just take a look at the tags. It ain't BL.

P.S. I don't know why, but this reminds me of 07 Ghost for some reason. 🤷‍♀️ <<less
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peterkxm rated it
August 1, 2021
Status: c30
So this is the first time I have probably ever read a Korean novel with a male protagonist who is this weak-willed and weak-minded (I've read the raws of this novel as well).

To make it short and quick, protagonists who refuse to take action against antagonistic people by "giving second chances" or "hoping that they will become better people" are what we call "foolish white knights". They don't want to hurt people because they think it'll hurt them, they refuse to kill despite the situation calling for it, and they... more>> are complete pushovers that aren't proactive, rather they want to let someone else do the work for them. Essentially, we have some beta-JP-like shounen MC who mediocrely accomplishes every task and manages to live on due to really cliche plot armor.

If you're into beta-JP/shounen/pushover MC's who do about anything to accomplish this fantasy-like "quiet life" that they are pursuing, go ahead and read this novel. If you're looking for a proactive protagonist who is willing to take action and change the actual narrative of the story, then this novel is definitely not it for you. <<less
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NovelSchemer rated it
August 30, 2021
Status: c324
Warning: *SPOILER ALERT!!*

Hi. I'm not good at giving reviews but since I wanted to advise for those who wanted to read this novel, so I'll try my best.


... more>> At first, I thought this was similar to TOTCF. But no. The character developement is awesome, especially for the MC and people around him. There were some parts that made me emotional, and also relatable.

Also, I've read some mc's that were transmigrated into bodies that were supposed to die, and they try to survive. But the MC here is different. He tries and strives to go home. And that thought, makes me realize that his way of thinking is what relatively makes him human.

The characters all around him also have human like personalities which is why I said earlier that the character development is so good.

The Mc's personality:


I kind of get why the mc's personality is like that. At the novel world, his personality is akin to a saint but in the real world, I guess it's normal because modern society is very peaceful unlike in the novel, where wars can be easily be triggered and lives can easily be lost. The comment I've read here earlier said that he's like mary sue, I kind of agree. Almost everybody likes him because of his compassionate heart



The MC is also a bit of a pushover


*Spoiler Alert*


The original main characters, are also interested in him. (Not in that way) At first they were just attracted to the pure and warm ether that he emits (his powers) but later on liked him as an individual.


At the later part of the story, where the mysteries are slowly unveiled the more thrilling this story is.



Especially when 'Prince Jesse' died. I was crying loads of buckets even though I knew he didn't really die.


I loved the trio, which consists of Jesse, Christel and Cedric. The original main characters and the MC. I also loved all the three's interactions and their adventures, where they uphold justice. (Lol)


the original "prince jesse's" step-father really shitty


All in all, this story is absolutely golden!



The MC and his food is super iconic haha

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RottenPineapple rated it
June 12, 2021
Status: c200
@Empress is an example of someone who didn't read past chapter 1 and had the audacity the judge the book :/

Anyway, I love the novel. I love the characters, the world-building and the plot. And no, MC isn't a s*upid Mary Sue type. He's an angel, yes, but he knew when someone's wrong and doesn't justify their sins. He frowned upon the mention of "torture" however because it is against his morals as someone who came from 21st century. He gives people second chances and he'd always try to see... more>> the bright side of things, but he punishes those who deserves punishment. He can sometimes be a dense c (Oh our poor aether pig who suffers from jesse' obliviousness) but he's also very sharp and observant.

PS. Just beware because the OG!ML shows yandere tendencies 👀 Like, seriously. He's just too obsessive of our MC, Jesse. Kukukuku. <<less
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Gladddddd rated it
September 20, 2021
Status: c33
The MC is way too foolish. He constantly mentions that he knows he is a political hostage in the empire yet he trust the people of said empire easily, and his own kingdom wants him dead, yet knowing that he is in danger does nothing to prevent that. Despite knowing that he will be killed in a war, or being a political hostage means they could kill him yet he doesn't train or anything but spends his time walking around a garden, having tea and enjoying his life. His s*upidity... more>> is severe as he constantly goes for confessions only to go "Eeek" when someone strong is approaching. MC was almost assassinated in the earlier chapters yet he feels bad for his assailants, on one occasion in his confession booth, the crown prince who disguised as a kid came in and attacked with a knife. What does our MC do? He simply walks up to the kid after realizing he was sick and wanted to help him. Even if the MC is from modern times, such s*upidity could kill him. The author had set the MC as a 28 years old guy but he acts like he was 8. Too naive and innocent. Will probably revisit this novel and revise my rating when it gets better but for now, it's gonna be shelved. <<less
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Raizel_Pendragon rated it
November 17, 2021
Status: c150
Maybe the degree of enjoyment for this novel depends entirely on one's tastes or what you're in the mood for. But the one thing I'm sure of is that if I ever transmigrate and become a Saint/Priest I'll have to change professions cause even my 21st century morality doesn't confer me with this level of pushoverness kindness.😶

Totally agree with reviewer @Fanya.
The MC is the very naive calming sort. and is mostly still alive cause of the plot armour 'calming vibes'. The world-building is fine but events are very predictable. Translation is great.

Btw can the people who compare this to ToCF/ORV explain how they developed such blatant misconceptions?? The MCs are nothing similar. Both Cale and Dokja are cautious schemers who actively plan and plot the situations and outcomes. Comparing them with this dude who's got the naive holy mother character setting feels like comparing a houseplant that'd unalive itself if you accidentally water it 2drops more than you're supposed to to sturdy oak trees that can weather anything... And I can't perceive this supposed "BL-ish aura" either [even though the original ML is more interested in him than the FL (& vice versa) ]. Well it's probably cause this dude keeps trying to set up two characters with the least compatibility cause of the freakin orgNovel (even when the situations and people are so vastly different from what he knows from the novel). Like Bruh- please stop! Cause of their 'nature' they literally repel eachother... (-‸ლ) I can understand a 9yr old or even a 19yr old coming up with the 'They should be together cause the novel said so~' bullshi argument but a 29yr old adult following suit by turning a blind eye to every single clue that says otherwise is just cringey jarring.
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I recommended What happens when the second male lead power up....

It has a LOT BL vibe...

Even the og!ML openly Simped over the MC lol

It's pretty hilarious, and the MC is just like.... ANGEL

Maybe you'll hate it at first, since the MC was so angelic, holic... But try to read until 100+ chaps then you'll know! How precious this novel is!

# dense protag, but I loves to see his reaction🤣 really it's pretty hilarious
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Ludoret rated it
June 23, 2022
Status: --
I find it as an insult that this being recommended alongside ORV and ToCF. These two are actually good novels with cool and badass MCs. In this novel, Jesse the MC is so much of a naive, s*upid pushover it hurts. He's like the typical Mary Sue protagonist in many romance novels, only just genderbent. And I could see, even in the early parts of the novel, how the author would queerbait the MC with the original Male Lead. MC is already acting like a typical pushover... more>> uke and the original Male Lead as the domineering seme who takes and takes without permission. And I bet nothing will happen between the two of them in the end because this isn't BL. Nice translation. Too bad it cannot save a mediocre novel. <<less
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August 24, 2021
Status: c25
I really get the vibe of BL here. Like im already shipping him with the first male lead 🤣 so translator nim please let me know if its BL 🎉

The pacing of the story is slow but its nice to read.
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Meishou rated it
May 5, 2022
Status: c10
I don't know why this novel is in the same list of recommendation with LOCF and ORV.

as my principal, I gave every webnovel I picked up a 10 chapters trial, if it doesn't interest me, I'll drop it While this novel is not terrible, it's not excellent either, about 3 stars is the best I can give.


First few chapters in, I don't see a lot of brain works out of the MC. He said that he is a loner and an introvert but then tried... more>> his best to get his servants to have tea with him (introvert my arse). First encounter with Cedric feel like opening to a BL fanfiction (their eyes met and the uke flinched, hiding away from the window, he then startled and yelled out "holly cow" when someone walked in - please, enough with the dramatic reaction that only happens in movie). He is a people pleaser and always act like a timid young boy who doesn't know how to Prince. He doesn't understand the weight of his influence even after his servants pointed it out right at the start for him. He has a goal but seems to have neither plan nor actions to prevent undesirable outcomes.

I prefer my MC strong, man or woman, in the good or the bad side of the spectrum. And Jessie is just not that.

While I don't often thinking critically when reading a webnovel and have read and enjoyed quite a few novels full of cliché and plot holes (LOCF included). This novel is unfortunately filled with the elements that itched me so much.

Also, Not sure how anyone can see Cale Henituse in Jessie. I love Cale and I will defend him from this terrible comparison. Cale is compose even if he is panicked inside and he has his air of authority from the beginning of the novel. He is consistent throughout the story and has good understanding of his own standing even though he gets dense quite often when it comes to his own charisma. While he does get caught in lots of stuff, it's always because he saw a lot of benefits (even massive materialistic benefits) out of them for him and his people. He is also relentless and unapologetic toward those he considered enemies.

At the end of the day, I think I might've been more difficult in rating this novel since it was in the same list of recommendation with LOCF. But it's just my personal reading taste, I'm, of course, still encourage anyone who is curious to pick up the novel and read at least 10 first chapters to see if it's your style. <<less
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Winterbourne rated it
June 15, 2023
Status: c695
Yes, I'm a female reader. And yes, this novel actually seems a bit more female-oriented than male-reader-oriented, you know, since the premise is MC transmigrating into the female-oriented romance novel that his sister was a fan of. Of course, there are no evident borders between genres, so even if male readers are interested in trying a read, I'd recommend them a try as well. There are no rules saying male readers shouldn't read this novel, are they?

Okay, the audience gender talks aside, here is my opinion about the novel's audience limit. As others also said, the novel is aimed at a pretty specific taste. The MC is altruistic, enough to be called a pushover by some, and the story is not always eventful so if you're interested in constant fast-paced... more>> adventures or fight/action scenes, this is probably not for you. Also, this is debatable too, but the story has a lot of portrayals of the bond between the 3 main characters - Yeseo/Jesse, Christelle, and Cedric, which may disappoint the romance-seeking audience since every interaction between Yeseo/Jesse and Christelle is pretty much... just romance bait, and on the other hand, it will also cause confusion since the bond between Cedric and Yeseo/Jesse seems... above what we would call normal bro friends. Not to mention, the novel is too long at this point and the ending in raws will probably be next year. That'll be an extremely long journey not everyone would want to embark on.

That's for the audience, now, about the story. I used to enjoy the novel very much, but as you can see, currently I'm at chapter 695 and I gave this 3 stars. The reasons are that:

    • There is literally no character growth. The characters are on 700 chapters now, yet there is absolutely no growth in them. At first, Yeseo/Jesse's misunderstanding about Cedric x Christelle ship is funny and also heartbreaking since he just literally considered them 'unreal characters', but now, even when things have cleared up, they have got a talk, he is considering them his friends, he still projects his 'opinion' over them. Not to mention, when the war arc came in full swing, Yeseo/Jesse still... projected his idealism and altruism over things. Yes, I know he's a law student and he has a very strong mindset of justice, but by now, he should have already realized medieval politics and wars don't function the same as a modern court. Christelle and Cedric are also the same. After the friends' fight, then understanding and sympathizing, their behaviors... still remain the same.
    • Too many idle talks and useless details. Around the first 100 chapters or so, the idle slice-of-life scenes like the food descriptions were fun and cute. But it's supposed to be a big fight right now, with layers of conspiracies and schemes underneath. Yet... the novel still includes those useless scenes of the 'romance/BL' bait, the food descriptions, the divine beasts acting cute, and random monologues. Mind you, I'm also a fan of romance and BL genres, but I really can't immerse myself when the novel is supposed to be during some serious happenings and yet they still manage to include those idle breaks. The villains and masterminds are there, alive and well, then what are the main characters even doing? Joking around like some children and getting 'jealous' of each other?
    • Too many Korean meme references. Yes, the meme references were funny and comedic during the first arc, in Christelle's POV. It really showed the spirit of an energetic Korean during the modern era, and I enjoyed the cameos referring to Duke, Please Repent and some other famous novels too. But now... it's just a huge mix of unserious memes and as I said, the story is supposed to enter a serious arc right now. Why does it feel that the story is becoming more and more of a children's novel?
I used to like TWSB every much but as expected of novels that are stretched out with no conclusions, TWSB has lost its charm and appeal. (Even on R*dibooks which is a major platform, the reviews recently aren't positive, either). So I'll have to consider whether I should go with this novel till the end or not, sadly. <<less
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Ichigoeater rated it
February 27, 2021
Status: c7
Loving it, so far! It's refreshing for multiple reasons, but I'm especially enjoying the lack of a romance tag. It's rare enough to find a story like this without a harem, but this guy ain't about them bishies at all! Really, it's the romance tag that turns an average guy in an unexpected situation, just trying to survive, into a gary stu loved by one and all, so I'm really happy that romance isn't a part of this.

Maybe that's part of the reason I feel like this is similar to... more>> my all-time favorite novel, tr*sh of the Count's Family. Jesse and Cale have very different personalities on the surface, but they also somehow have the same vibe. One thing is for sure: EatApplePies and me, we have similar tastes. <<less
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MentalPygmy rated it
November 23, 2021
Status: c28
TLDR: To read, and enjoy, this story you have to turn off critical thinking before you start.

While the protagonist is far from the most naïve or dense character I've read about, he's certainly naïve and dense enough to annoy anyone who invests even a moment of thought in his circumstances and choices. It has become clear that the protagonist will have a happy ending only due to the thickness of his 'plot armor.'

To make things worse, for me at least, the protagonist tolerates abusive behavior that would have throw me... more>> into a fury even if it risked my life. It makes it even more difficult to empathize with the protagonist, leading me to simply not care much about what happens. <<less
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Kthp rated it
August 9, 2021
Status: c31
If you are like me and reading TCF (or S Classes/ORV) wishing there was more cute family bonding, this story is for you. MC is such a sweetheart and constantly doting on/feeding the people around him; and there is NO manipulative undertone. Compared to TCF, I feel like there is more "emotional" substance. MC has a high EQ, lots of compassion, and strong morals that he puts to use as a [job you can guess by the cover photo]. He reminds me of Cale with his desperate desire to ignore... more>> all dangers/annoyances. Unlike Cale, he's already achieved his slacker life, but the protagonists/plot keep trying to drag him in.

To my fellow BL fans, you'll love this. This is obvs NOT a BL. But as a BL fan, I feel very satisfied, like I'm reading a platonic romcom between a MC and ML. Please pay attention to their palace names, bc I totally missed it

Romero and Juliette omg


It's hilarious and not ridiculous queer bait bc we are given the info early on that

choosing a "religious partner, " essentially a platonic, lifelong, soulmate - is a thing for royals.


The translation is also wonderfully done! Thank you Eats Apple Pies. <<less
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Spaciry rated it
March 30, 2021
Status: c12
I just loved it!

The protagonist is super identifiable just wanting to go unnoticed and live well to the fullest! But of course the problems have to come to him.....

He is kind and hardworking, I feel a little sorry for him being away from his family, but he is trying his best. He makes me laugh in many moments and sometimes I share his thought of wanting everything to remain calm and simple, I don't want to see such a nice person at risk.

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PandoraTiger rated it
September 24, 2022
Status: c15
This one have potential to be a good novel but failed in the middle of the proccess because the MC itself. Weak, Naive, Passive MC that easily got riden by other character, feels like he doesnt even know what he want to do and basically just follow the plot made by other character, Basically the MC is just Omega Uke. Overall this one is not Recomended.
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Lorielth rated it
February 3, 2021
Status: c1
I kind of want to know what happen next it get my curious up.

Hopefully it will continue get translated and will not get dropped.

Thank you for translating this novel, keep up 😁. Fighting !
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LTigh rated it
July 26, 2022
Status: --
I'm usually a fan of slice-of-life/slow life novels.


Not when the MC is a mid-wit whose denseness and idiocy are at teeth-ache inducing levels.

... more>> Also, that borderline crap designed to titillate rotten girls may appeal to rotten girls, but I prefer my webnovels to not have rotten-girl appeal.

Dunno if it's the translation or the original writer, but the writing style also feels clunky enough that reading becomes a chore.

So, mid-wit MC + borderline rotten-girl stuff + writing that feels like you're trying to slog through some obscure literature class elective in college = big effing NOPE

Your mileage may vary, but yet another good premise ruined by poor execution, this time in Korean flavor. <<less
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