James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > Post

Stars Above

Insomniacs After School, volume 2

By Makoto Ojiro 

26 Apr, 2023



Support me with a Patreon monthly subscription!

2019’s Insomniacs After School, Volume Two is the second 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 Two is slated to appear in 2023.

I previously reviewed Volume One of this manga and you can find the review here. But if you don’t want to read the older review, here’s a recap.

Teacher Kurashiki accepted insomniac students Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari’s perfectly plausible explanation as to why the sleepless pair were hanging out together in their high school’s disused observatory1. She even provided the pair with a more acceptable reason to continue using the facility: re-start the school’s astronomy class.

There is a catch.

The astronomy club has to be a real club. That means fulfilling the formal bureaucratic requirements for school clubs, which is to say presenting a budget and an outline of the club’s proposed activities over the next year. Kurashiki does not intend on doing the students’ work in this matter.

The club also has to be a real astronomy club. Neither Ganta nor Isaki know much about astronomy. One quick consultation with Shirumaru, the only former club member the pair can locate, and they have a plan: a Perseids watch party and an entry for a national astronomy picture contest.

The first will require a poster: neither Ganta nor Isaki are artists. The second requires a photograph. Neither student is a skilled photographer. Learning experiences ensue.

Most vexing: Ganta and Isaki’s bond is purely sleep-based (both plagued with insomnia, they sleep better near each other) and astronomy based (to earn access to the observatory, where they take their best naps). Their chums insist on reading a romantic subtext that simply does not exist. Despite Ganta and Isaki’s firm denials, those around them insist there is a spark. It just goes to show how good people are at kidding themselves.


Nerd note: the astronomy material in this manga is actually accurate. The Perseid meteor shower offers a welcome combination of meteor rate (high) and season (moderate weather). One won’t freeze watching these shooting stars, something that is not always true of Leonids watch parties.

While there are some lingering looks between the pair (but never shared, only when they think the other won’t notice) there is no romance at this stage. Some readers, knowing how hasty young people can be, may expect the romance angle to gel almost immediately. Welcome to Japanese manga pacing, where dithering is an artform and the inevitable takes its time. You will be waiting for three or four more volumes.

Like Volume One, Volume Two is relentlessly amiable. There are no real antagonists, unless insomnia counts. None of the challenges facing the pair or their friends are world-shattering. All of them can be overcome given a bit of effort (and while neither student is perfect, they will put in effort when they deem it necessary). The zany hijinks are harmless (sometimes educational!) fun.

There’s just one catch, which is that the official English translation has a pace faster than the manga but still not fast enough to please me. Volume Two appears later this year. Presumably, the ensuing volumes will be even more delayed.

Insomniacs After School, Volume Two is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Book Depository), and here (Chapters-Indigo).

1: The observatory is the only place either of them can sleep.