cover image Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, Vol. 1

Our Dreams at Dusk: Shimanami Tasogare, Vol. 1

Yuhki Kamatani, trans, from the Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. Seven Seas, $12.99 trade paper (180p) ISBN 978-1-64275-060-7

This impressive first volume portrays a raw slice-of-life story (with some fantastical elements) centered around the queer experience in Japanese society. High schooler Tasuku Kaname is outed by classmates as gay (one spots porn on his phone) just two days before summer break. Terrified of the consequences, Tasuku contemplates suicide; but before he leaps from the stairs climbing the cliffs of his hilltop town, he leans over the railing to see a woman jumping out of a window from a nearby building. Tasuku rushes down to the base of it, where he meets a small demolition and construction crew, made up of volunteers, called Cat Clutter, along with the woman he saw—who is fine and alive—who goes by the name Someone. When he discovers they are also an LGBTQ community, Tasuku is encouraged to return and spend his summer helping them renovate abandoned houses. The script by Kamatani (the Nabari No Ou series) works harmonically with the intricate illustrations and their symbolism (such as a frame that portrays Tasuku breaking into pieces of fragmented glass, with reflections of a classmate and Someone). While manga frequently portrays the characters in yaoi/yuri (“boys’ love”/“girls’ love” genres) in a fetishized light, this series takes a refreshing turn, and the high-quality art makes it a potential breakout for broader audiences. (May)

Correction: An earlier version of this review used an incorrect pronoun in reference to Yuhki Kamatani.