Great Graphic Novels (#GGN2024) Featured Review: Insomniacs After School by Makoto Ojiro

  • Insomniacs After School, Vol. 1
  • by Makoto Ojiro
  • VIZ Media
  • Publication Date: March 21, 2023
  • ISBN-13: ‎9781974736577

Ganta Nakami is a grumpy and unfriendly high schooler with few friends but it’s primarily because he’s an insomniac and hardly ever sleeps. This causes him to also fall asleep at school and, while trying to find a good place to nap, he comes across the abandoned astronomy club room. Only it’s not so abandoned when he finds a fellow insomniac, outgoing Isaki Magari. After some forced proximity bonding, they discover that they can get some rest together and become secret friends.

Insomniacs After School, vol. 1 is the beginning of a heartwarming series about two unlikely high schoolers becoming closer as they are plagued by their shared disorder. The story addresses friendship, healing, and the power of dreams while also giving the reader cute banter and lightheartedness. Each character in Insomniacs After School is distinct, not only in their design but also in their personalities, allowing readers from various backgrounds to find a character they resonate with. The magic of the abandoned astronomy tower is captured in detail by Makoto Ojiro, but it is the beautiful renderings of abandoned nighttime streets that really pack an atmospheric and emotional punch.

Those who like stories about teenage friendship and unconventional bonding should read Chion-san of the Cat Temple, also by Makoto Ojiro. For manga readers who like the coming-of-age, finding-yourself vibes, I recommend Blue Period by Tsubasa Yamaguchi. Teens who enjoyed the unlikely friendship and emotional themes of the novel Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell may also enjoy this new manga series.

Cheyenne Sons

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The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.

Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.