In Yuhta Nishio’s After Hours, Volume 1, Emi is suffering an introvert’s worst nightmare – being stuck alone at a loud venue surrounded by strangers and unable to find the friend she was there to meet. After having discomfort increased by being hit on, Emi is paralyzed until she’s rescued by Kei, a woman a little older than herself, but who seems far more self-assured and mature.
Kei takes Emi home. They sleep together, and, when Emi wakes up the next day, she finds her life completely changed for the more interesting, as she’s drawn into Kei’s creative work and her love of life.
This is a manga about Japanese millennials; two women creating something out of the little enough society is prepared to give them. It’s charming and lively as a story, with decent characters. Despite the moe art (especially on the cover, where it’s almost creepily infantilizing,) both Emi and Kei are adult women with adult responses to situations. The story in Volume 1 has no room for histrionics or melodrama and the characters do not tends towards either. The translation by Abby Lehrke leans a very little to hip which will undoubtedly wear poorly, but was otherwise perfectly competent. I want to nod in appreciation to all the production side folks, lettering, touch-up, editing and design, as these have become good enough that we no longer notice them. This is as it should be, but I remember when it wasn’t, so thanks Viz and staff for giving us the authentic manga reading experience we’d like.
As one of the few Yuri manga I have read first in English, having skipped the Japanese volume altogether, I ws cautiously optimistic, but I find myself very interested in what Volume 2 will bring both women. Whether they stay together or not (and I don’t require that of them) I have enjoyed our time together.
Art – 5, YMMV, but I rolled my eyes hard at the cover and found the moe blob faces on the women – but not the men – really irksome.
Story – 8 Enjoyable and plausible
Characters – 9 I’d gladly buy them a drink and hear their stories of club life
Service – Not really, even in the sex scene, which was drawn for nice, rather than creepy
Yuri – 9
Overall – 8
Volume 2 does not yet have a release date in America, it’s going to be released in July in Japan. If you’ve read scans or the Japanese volume, kindly don’t spoiler us here, I’d like to just read this one on it’s own. Thank you for your consideration.