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Starry Night

Insomniacs After School, volume 4

By Makoto Ojiro 

29 Nov, 2023



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Insomniacs After School, Vol. 4 is the fourth 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 Four will appear in December 2023

Two insomniacs, Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari, had a meet-cute in , their high school observatory, which turned out to be the sole place where either could sleep. Access to the observatory being dependent on there being a recognized astronomy club, the pair have been relentlessly working to restore the moribund club1. This demanding effort has kept the boy and girl busy, so that they have no time to ponder just why it is that they enjoy each other’s company so. Nevertheless, their shared hobby is fun and entirely calamity-free2.

In this volume: calamity strikes!

The student council demands from would-be clubs reasonable proof that valuable school resources are being used for their intended purposes, not so that (to pick an entirely hypothetical example) two students can while away the sleepless hours making out3. Funds being short, the council cannot provide money until the club in question has been formally recognized. Therefore, financing pre-recognition club activities falls on Ganta and Isaki.

Ganta’s divorced father might well provide Ganta with the funds needed. But Ganta finds his father’s excessive gifts embarrassing. He would prefer to pay his own way. Being profoundly pessimistic, he does not expect to be successful in finding work. Fate smiles on him and a job at his senpais arcade falls into his lap.

Ganta and Isaki bet the club’s future on two events: a meteor-watching party and a photography contest. Thanks to their diligence, recruitment for the party is wildly successful. Victory is assured!

Cue one torrential downpour. Ganta is crushed. How could he let Isaki, his friends, and the hordes of would-be meteor watchers, down by permitting this meteorological event over which he has no control?

The fate of the club now depends on the production of noteworthy photos. Conveniently, it’s summer; lots of time to snap pictures. Even more conveniently, Isaki’s grandmother’s house is located in a scenic spot, rife with stunning vistas. The house is currently unoccupied. Perfect for two teens to use for their own purposes.


A cultural norm that North Americans may find unfamiliar is the degree to which Japanese high school kids are permitted to run around unsupervised — or so I gather from the manga I read. It’s true that if the police were to notice teens wandering the streets at 3 AM they would ask questions. Otherwise, students are free to stroll about the town without the supervision and harassment that a North American teen might experience. In fact, stores appear to welcome teens rather than using ultrasonic devices to run them off. One can only speculate about the dreadful psychological consequences that result from not being infantilized quasi-prisoners in a panopticon state.

But Japanese teens do not appear to abuse their freedoms. The central pair really do invest a lot of time arranging their party and no doubt will, once ensconced in that isolated house, use their privacy to take contest-related pictures.

Largely, this is because Ganta and Isaki are responsible (if sometimes flighty) kids. Additionally, even by manga standards, both are blind to their mutual attraction; both are terribly shy. Overtly passionate confessions along the lines of I am not unfond of you,” protests would not ensue should our hands touch,” and your company is not displeasing,” would be sure to provoke paralytic embarrassment. Japan’s low birthrate is entirely comprehensible. I don’t know how this pair is ever going to admit their attraction unless a third party intervenes.

A further impediment to teenage hormones is Isaki’s worry about her body. The same heart condition that left her terrified of sleeping (lest she never wake up) also left her with an enormous scar on her torso. There is a nigh-obligatory beach episode for which Isaki wears a concealing out-sized t‑shirt. One suspects this theme will be further developed in upcoming volumes.

Nevertheless, watching the skillfully depicted pair haplessly fumble their way through the relationship is harmless fun. The manga isn’t going anywhere at high speed, but that doesn’t matter, because the point is the journey.

Insomniacs After School, Vol. 4 is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: Long-time readers will remember that Isaki played a role in the club’s deplorable status, having spread stories that the observatory is cursed so she could have it to herself.

2: Well, it was a minor calamity when the pair was trapped in a room with no egress.

3: At least one adult assumes that Ganta and Isaki were sneaking off to the observatory to make out. Little did they know…