Insomniacs After School piqued my interest following its upcoming anime adaptation, which is set to premiere on April 10. As the manga continues to release new chapters since its first volume was released in May 2019, I decided to check out the first volume, now out in English. If I could describe the story in two descriptive words, it would be nostalgic and bittersweet.
The manga follows the story of a school in the city of Nanao, and its astronomy club which is going defunct due to multiple personal incidents that hugely impacted its club members, who slowly left the club. Since then, the observatory they used has become a haunted place, and no one dared to go there. Fast forward to many years later, an insomniac named Ganta Nakami tries to escape from school activities by taking a nap at the supposed haunted observatory. All of a sudden, he sees a girl named Isaki Magari–who is also his classmate and also a fellow insomniac. Together, the two form an awkward relationship and slowly reestablish the long-forgotten astronomy club.
Insomniacs After School is a perfect slow-paced manga to make some love astronomy by making the reader feel both nostalgia and bittersweetness at the same time. Nostalgic, because it takes you back to your teenage years when curiosity about space and astronomy, in general, was strong but also because of that tender age in which friendships are easily formed and first love is blossoming. Bittersweet, because it reminds us, as adults, of a time long gone and the fact that younger generations today tend to have different interests.
Reading through the first volume of Insomniacs After School made me chuckle and tear up a bit at the same time. But, as someone who was fascinated by astronomy at an early age, what stood out to me was the manga’s storytelling made me realize how the night was so beautiful, and how I should relearn all of the knowledge I had of the celestial bodies, identifiable even with the naked eye. There were small moments in Insomniacs After School where I felt that the mangaka Makoto Ojiro really thought of astronomy geeks like me, and decided to connect with the manga’s main storyline. For starters, all of the chapter titles are titled on celestial bodies like Venus, the twin stars Castor and Pollux, and so forth.
A trailer for the English version of the Insomniacs After School manga is now available:
In short, Insomniacs After School is a definite must-add to your drama-romance manga collection, with your lovely hint of astronomy geekiness and wonders. While Ojiro’s art style isn’t striking at first glance, the mellowness blends well with the soft-paced sweet storyline and it will be perfect for fans of slow stories that hold a lot of symbolism and meaning.
Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of Insomniacs After School manga for review purposes.
Kimi wa Hokago Insomnia © 2019 Makoto Ojiro/Shogakukan