"The dazzling neon lights were reflected in her eyes. A night like no other was beginning."
Asahina Emi arrives at a club to meet a friend, only to find herself lost and uncomfortable in the crowd. There, she is rescued by the cool and dazzling Eri. She sweeps her away from all the noise and clamor, and into the twilight. A night like no other was beginning...
Read this if you are looking for: A tender yuri story in Tokyo’s nightlife scene with just enough drama.
Recommendation: Pick it up!
“After Hours” follows unemployed Emi who is whisked into the world of nightclubs and raves by new acquaintance and DJ Kei. The two women bond quickly as Emi joins Kei’s group of friends and helps put on events, even as Emi struggles to deal with both her past and future. Kei and Emi are a joy to watch, as Nishio Yuhta’s character art greatly enhances comedy and drama alike, and detailed panels and wardrobes bring to life the dazzling world that has so enthralled
Emi. Many of the more tiresome yuri clichés are avoided, and while the overall narrative of the women’s relationship is nothing new to the genre, the adult characters and unique setting help make “After Hours” feel very fresh.
Right of the bat, the one thing I like is how straightforward the manga is. You can expect things to happen from the first chapter. So if you are not a fan of dragging a story 50 chapters until you get what you came for, this is the manga for you.
But it also comes with a disappointment, in my opinion. It certainly hypes up with the beginning, but it slowly starts turning into a bit of a drag. Because it lures you in with such a strong intro (speaking of the first chapter), you sort of start dashing through pages, expecting the same strength
in storytelling and character expression. But it sadly disappoints, as it is unconventionally getting slower in character development.
At least to me, I didn't really find myself caring about the main characters. I found that particularly odd, because I usually dive deep into a story if I find it intriguing. Even tho the story surely doesn't lack adventurousness, I just couldn't bond with the characters in any way whatsoever. I am blaming the strong first chapter, because it probably just boosted my expectations. That's why I would suggest not expecting as much of the rest of the chapters that have come out so far.
Story on its own has a refreshing tone. It is not too shallow, nor too deep. It does not follow many manga and anime-like cliches which we all know and love (well, sometimes not so much). To me that fact is a big plus, because it makes the story less predictable.
I was actually between a 6 and a 7. I like the esthetic, but it was not mindblowingly beautiful, not horrific. It was nice, but average. All in a quiet satisfying, but I wouldn't say it deserves anything over a 7.
Again, the thing that puts me off is how the character development becomes slower instead of faster. You sort of don't even want to know much about the main characters. The side characters seem much more interesting to be honest, but aren't really given the time of the day. Every new information about the leads isn't really astonishing or... giving you any impression at all really.
But I have hopes that this is solvable. If the manga continues, I am looking forward to seeing more interesting sides to the mains and hopefully more about the side characters as well.
Even though I like the concept, the setting and the refreshing tone - I couldn't really get into it that much. Sometimes you read 2 chapters of a manga, and you get so excited that you are willing to wait 6 months for another chapter, checking every day. But this one is just... it's probably something I'm gonna hit up if I ever see it on my manga list again in a few months. I do sort of want to know what happens later, because it thankfully isn't too predictable (I'm not saying it isn't predictable at all). But I'm not in a hype, like I sometimes am with new anime/manga I stumble upon.
I'm not going with a 6 because it had a warm atmosphere. Again, the refreshing setting and way the writer handles it is quiet nice. Even though my judgement may seem a bit harsh so far, I wouldn't consider this a blatantly average manga. I don't regret the chapters I've read. And I would recommend it - especially if you are a fan of quirky carefree themes in manga.
Hope my review helped if you had your doubts about reading it. Give it a read, maybe you end up enjoying it way more than I did.
(this review includes my first impression of the viz media paperback print of volume one)
After Hours is a Slice of life/yuri that follows Emi Ashiana as she learns the exciting world that is night clubs. The emphasis on music and night club lifestyle is more of a contextual element to give our characters a purpose of meeting each other. The first volume includes 5 chapters where we are introduced to our main cast and take a nice walk through Emi's eyes as she "learns to walk" before she can run into her new lifestyle as a VJ.
Story wise, this manga is fast paced enough
for someone to pick up just the first volume and pretty much have an understanding of where this series is going to go, with that being said there are some generic portions within the more 1 on 1 moments with our main characters. Lack of drama (within the first volume) is really nice to have when setting up a story about discovery and self understanding. After Hours truly shines in their musical department including references to popular EDM songs, and giving us vocabulary to use in the world of Disc Jockeying and Video Jockeying.
Visually After Hours takes on a more modern approach to the shoujo genre with a style comparable to k-on! which is interesting considering both series include female protaganists learning from scratch (no pun intended) about their newly founded musical interest. Kawaii and Bubbly with a dash of glowing aura to some of the characters and scenery at times, the atmosphere of each place in different panels really feels like it could be a real place in shibuya tokyo.
Focusing on our 2 main characters Emi and Kei, it seems that despite the 6 year age difference both characters really want to be invested in each other and want to grow together; while they also help their friends to help place themselves within the music industry. Emi is a timid character who wears that timidiness in her clothes and hairstyle which is a really nice contrast to Kei who leads Emi into this new found world. Kei is a go getter and someone who is willing to make things happen. Kei's character really does a good job at explaining the world of Dj/VJ to the audiance and Emi herself while also providing the energy and pacing this manga need inorder for it to take off so sucessfully.
(within the first volume however we are only given context to Kei and just a few jabs at Emi's backstory and thats OK really gives the later chapters more of an anticipating feel considering the next volume will not be out for a while in america for those who purchase manga physically)
Overall, the series is nice print by Viz and enjoyable story/art by Yuhta Nishio and i am looking forward to the next volume in the series. For 10 USD this really was worth it. Chapterwise though 5 in 1 volume compared to 9 or 10 kinda sucks but it is a first volume so there are alot of introduction that needs to be told; the chapters however do not drag on. Pacing wise the story establishes Kei into the music industry telling us the story is about Emi and shes just as new to this as we are as readers so it feels like im not alone when discovering more about this series. As for it being paperback, the spine doesnt crease poorly and shows less sign of wear. The cover is beautiful and i personally enjoy seeing the vinyl in the name of the manga and on the spine.
(I would personally recommend this to anyone who is interested in picking up a fairly cheap manga that isn't so taboo to read in public and to anyone who enjoys the Indy feel for those times we're in Kei's record collection)
Anything is subject to change with more reading but my reviews are always focused on the physical releases and considering this series has only 1 other review i figured it would be necessary if anyone wanted to gift this manga to someone or even buy it for themselves without going into it blindly (however it wasnt a bad choice personally).
Thank you Viz its always a pleasure reading what you provide.