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And By A Sleep

Insomniacs After School, volume 3

By Makoto Ojiro 

31 May, 2023



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2020’s Insomniacs After School, Volume Three is the third tankōbon of Makoto Ojiro’s manga series. Serialized in Shogakukan’s seinen manga magazine Weekly Big Comic Spirits, Insomniacs After School has been ongoing since May 2019. The English translation of Volume Three is slated to appear sometime in 2023

Sleepless students Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari have protected their access to their school’s observatory by restarting the school astronomy club. The pair has acquired some of the necessary skills. Now they must organize an event.

Isaki Magari is a boundlessly energetic, likable girl. Therefore, it falls to gloomy, antisocial Ganta to approach fellow students to ask for help distributing posters for the upcoming meteor-watching event. He enjoys more success at this than one might expect. It is as though he too has friends despite his forbidding demeanor.

Organizing the event is a welcome distraction from minor mysteries that might otherwise confound and alarm the two friends, whose relationship is (of course) entire platonic without romantic subtext. For example, a pair with more spare time might wonder why the image a friend created for the poster is of Isaki and Ganta posing romantically. Ganta might be distracted by his peculiar habit of lingering over the photos he took of Isaki. They might wonder if perhaps there was some significance in the way they organize their lives to maximize time spent together.

The impending fireworks festival offers a chance to distribute posters for the Perseids watching party. It’s also an opportunity for Isaki and Ganta to observe the fireworks together. Which will prove more important to Ganta, duty or companionship? What would the consequences of the wrong choice be? Not to worry, because Isaki and Ganta’s friends are determined to provide well-timed guidance.


The artist has clearly put a lot of thought into the facial expressions of awkward, often inarticulate teens. The art is in general well executed.

This manga reminds me of a trio I observed while riding the bus. There were two teenagers doing their best to flirt despite lacking all applicable skills, while their friend resolutely tried to facilitate flirtation by keeping the conversation on track. I never saw them again so I don’t know how it worked out, but if the kids did end up dating, it was entirely thanks to the tireless efforts of their friend.

Likewise, while the penny has clearly dropped for both Ganta and Isaki, neither one is quite willing to say anything out loud. Who knows how the other would react? It falls to their friends to keep nudging the pair towards each other whenever necessary. Although it could also be that what’s going on is so obvious that people assume Ganta and Isaki already are a couple. The friends are politely facilitating activities expected of any courting couple.

Ganta and Isaki may not have time to waste1 as Isaki’s tragic backstory reveals. Her insomnia has a psychological basis: born with a weak heart (for which she has had surgery), she’s still not completely safe. Every night she goes to sleep knowing that there is a small chance she will die in her sleep. Existential terror apparently does not lend itself to a full night’s rest. 

IMHO, Isaki needs more support than she is getting from her parents.

I found this manga quite amusing. There is one drawback to fandom, which is that North American publication lags the Japanese. Readers will have to wait to purchase this but at least Insomniacs After School, Volume 3 is available for pre-order here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: Death may loom, but the loom will be long. Romance has better odds but no extra speed. This is an on-going manga, so its pacing is certain to be deliberate.

Perhaps I should add that any of us may die in our sleep. Tonight.