HomeComics/MangaMANGA REVIEW | "Hirayasumi" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Hirayasumi" - Volume One

MANGA REVIEW | "Hirayasumi" - Volume One

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes dreams crumble, and the only thing we can do is pick ourselves up and find a new passion in life. Thus far, Hiroto — our first main character in Keigo Shingo’s Hirayasumi — has not found that flame to light up a new lifelong goal. But when his younger cousin Natsumi moves in to a house he was given, a reason to wake up every morning slowly comes to be.

How Hiroto gets this house is interesting. For a while, he had befriended an old woman who’d feed him on occasions. She’s a bit of a grouch, but Hiroto always finds a way to bring a little warmth to her heart. But then, as you can probably guess, she dies, leaving Hiroto her home in her will. It’s a big place, which is why he decides to open his door to the college-bound Natsumi.

From there, Hirayasumi takes a slice-of-life approach to its storytelling. The two cousins embark on various situations that don’t exactly connect to one another. From Hiroto’s job and his married friend’s problems to Natsumi going through the motions of college, these moments do more to grow the characters than they do to build a full narrative. But then again, if you really think about it, life is but a small collection of stories interwoven into our beings.

At times, Natsumi’s goings-on remind me both of Honey & Clover and Skip and Loafer. Here’s a college student who thinks she has everything figured out. Suddenly, Natsumi finds herself with no friends, no sense of direction, and in the middle of a subway station late at night after a night of underaged drinking. She’s become lost, with only her love of drawing manga getting her through the toughest of days.

Perhaps that’s why it’s good she has a cousin like Hiroto in her life. Despite his acting dreams going up in smoke, he tends to be a happy fellow. Hiroto is a man who goes with the flow, and while life hasn’t worked out in the way he hoped, he isn’t bothered by it. In fact, he’s incredibly focused!

It’s that relationship with the old woman that makes Hiroto become a better man. At first, it seems simple enough. She cooks for him, and he gives her a bit of company. But it’s a hospital visit after the old woman trips and his kind gesture where readers see he’s a man who cares deeply about the people in his life. And it’s that gesture that gave the old woman all she needed to know that her house would be best in Hiroto’s hands.

In the first volume of Hirayasumi, there isn’t too much of an overarching plot happening. However, it does hint of things that will happen. One character that pops in and out of this volume is Yomogi Tachibana, a real estate agent. While she hasn’t done anything life-changing, her small interactions with Hiroto at his job and at the subway (an incident that’s too funny to spoil here) show signs that she’ll be playing an important role in the manga’s future. A new friend, or perhaps something a bit more for Hiroto?

Hirayasumi shows that life isn’t always going to be sunshine and rainbows. But there’s always a little light that’ll break through on the cloudiest of days. Hiroto and Natsumi are both well-written and relatable characters, with their situations being the kind I’m certain we’ve all experienced in our lives. Thankfully, with Hiroto’s positivity and Natsumi’s college life woes, Hirayasumi has the potential to be a slice-of-life that’s both endearing and sweet.


Promotional consideration provided by Chantelle Sturt of VIZ Media.

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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)