cover image My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1

My Solo Exchange Diary, Vol. 1

Nagata Kabi, translated from the Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. Seven Seas, $14.99 trade paper (168p) ISBN 978-1-62692-889-3

In this vulnerable autobiographical follow-up to Kabi’s surprise-hit debut manga, My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness, Kabi writes to her past self: “Dear Nagata Kabi, hello. This is Nagata Kabi.” She updates herself on new events, shares deep and not-so-deep thoughts, and frequently panics over her messy life. Compared to the previous manga, this sequel is looser, with less of the driving, neurotic urgency that distinguished Loneliness. Kabi is still struggling to understand sex and love, still dominated by her disapproving parents, still awkwardly learning how to be an adult—but circumstances are slowly becoming less dire. She moves into her own apartment and even goes on a nervous first date. All these developments are illustrated in Kabi’s distinctive sketchy, high-energy art, with her cartoon avatar appearing as a cute, spindly figure with big worried eyes. She depicts her inner conflicts with fanciful visuals: when she discovers that her mom has read her comics, for example, a rope squeezes her heart. While it feels less essential than its predecessor, fans will be eager to check in on Kabi and cheer for her floundering movements toward happiness. (June)