In Volume 1 of Nishio Yuhta’s adult life series, After Hours (アフターアワーズ), office worker Emi and DJ Kei meet at a concert. Kei’s freewheeling life sucks Emi in and the next thing she knows, she’s part of Kei’s team…and life. But what, exactly, she is to Kei, Emi has no idea.
In Volume 2, Kei decides to throw a rave event. The bulk of Volume 2 is given over to surprisingly technical details of how to run a musical event. Kei and Emi have to secure a space and a team, and equipment…exactly the kind of content that inspired me to start Okazu 15 years ago, as I was starting up an event of my very own. ^_^
But behind the energy and the excitement, Emi is feeling the strain of not knowing what, exactly, she is to Kei. This isn’t just an emotional issue to her, as she’s neglected to tell Kei she has no money, can’t afford her apartment, and has kind-of-moved-in under false pretenses. The strain is killing their relationship and Kei can tell something is wrong, of course. Both women spend as much time blaming themselves as they do wondering what’s going on until, finally, the dam breaks.
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When Emi admits that she needs to stay with Kei, but isn’t sure what they are to each other, Kei convinces her the old fashioned way, while also plainly saying that they are lovers and of course lovers can live together. The sex scene that follows is extended, but never really explicit or grossly immature. It was, I thought, a well-deserved bit of adult service for readers who now knew more about speaker set-ups than they ever expected to. ^_^ And I thought it a realistic way to resolve the “are they on-again, off-again, or an actual couple?” question we ended the first volume with. Which ws pretty much Emi’s perspective, as well.
Kei and Emi, having come to an agreement about their relationship, face squarely into the future together as the night of the rave arrives. ^_^
To celebrate the publication of the second volume, applicants are submitting comics for a special present booklet, called After Hours bonus track, sneak peaksoft which are available on the After Hours Twitter account. New chapters of the manga are available on Pixiv for preview.
I like everything about this series, except the character design. Kei is 30 and Emi 24, but because moe art prevails, they look 12. I know I’m mostly alone in this, but I would pay more to see them look 24 and 30. That aside, the actual story is great and I love both the pacing and the world building for it. Nothing feels “off” about the story itself. I’m very thankful to those of you who told me to give it a try. ^_^
Art – 5
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Service – 2 The sex still reads/looks adult and sincere, rather than creepy leering.
Yuri – 9
Overall – 8
Volume 2 has no English language release date yet, but believe me, as soon as there is one, I’ll let you know. Volume 1 (which I reviewed in June 2017) is available and a free preview of Volume 1 can be read on the Viz Media website.