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Your Sleep to Encumber

Insomniacs After School, volume 5

By Makoto Ojiro 

13 Mar, 2024



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Insomniacs After School, Vol. 5 is the fifth 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 Five is 2024.

Insomniacs Ganta Nakami and Isaki Magari can’t fall asleep anywhere else than their school’s astronomical observatory. To protect access to the observatory, the pair needs to revive the school astronomy club. Their previous effort at raising the club’s profile having been sabotaged by weather, they now focus on a photography contest. 

Isaki’s grandmother’s house enjoys scenic location, rife with stunning vistas. The house is currently unoccupied. Perfect for two teens to use for their own purposes. Who knows? Perhaps astronomy will be among their activities. 

And yet… the pair are not sent off to spend a few weeks alone and unsupervised in an isolated home where anything could happen without adults knowing about it. Isaki’s older sister Haya provides the two high school students with a ride, then free chaperone service. The teens can look forward to a vacation monitored by Haya.

Among Haya’s hobbies, needling her younger sister. The university student can see something kindling between Isaki and Ganta. It’s easy to trick Ganta into admitting that he is fond of Isaki. Haya’s advice to Ganta? Dump Isaki and look for someone better. Ganta, of course, rejects Haya’s suggestion… passing Haya’s test. 

Having amused herself at Isaki and Ganta’s expense, Haya abandons them so she can enjoy a rendezvous with her own boyfriend. How ever will two energetic teens entertain themselves all alone? 

The stars are right!


Haya isn’t negligent… well, Haya isn’t completely negligent. One reason she is so willing to leave her younger sister and Ganta unchaperoned is that the pair can be trusted not to get up to any untoward activities, age appropriate or not1. Indeed, chaste hand-holding and awkward conversations seem to be the limit of their comfort zones… at least until the final pages, when a very important milestone is reached.

In a previous volume, readers discovered that Isaki fears sleep because her heart condition means she can never be sure that she will wake again. In this volume, we discover the doleful story behind Ganta’s sleep issues: his mother having walked out on the family while he slept, he is now convinced that each day will be worse than the one before. He tries to make each day last as long as possible. Both kids might benefit from therapy, but my impression is that this is not an option favored in Japan at this time. 

In addition to a sober romance conducted by two sensible, prudent teens, Ojiro provides readers with lovingly detailed scenery porn, from landscapes to starscapes. Even if no translation had been available, the manga would have been worth reading if only for the art. 

Curiously for a manga whose protagonists are haunted by fear of death or entrenched pessimism, Insomniacs is an upbeat story of two teenagers learning useful new skills while navigating a first romance. It’s all very charming, which seems to be this week’s theme. Well, there are much worse trends than reading books about people who like each other and are doing worthwhile things.

Insomniacs After School, Vol. 5 is available here (Amazon US), here (Amazon Canada), here (Amazon UK), here (Apple Books), here (Barnes & Noble), here (Chapters-Indigo), and here (Words Worth Books).

1: They can also be trusted to do the daily cooking and cleaning.

Once when my parents left home for a visit, a decision was made to forgo cleaning until two days before my parents returned. The flaw in this otherwise perfect plan was that they came home three days early.