By Thea Srinivasan
There are several places to find romance: at a restaurant, in the middle of a street or even a toilet. But finding love at a club is more realistic than finding love in a bathroom. Personally, I’ve never been to a club as I legally cannot drink. To me, a club is a place where people can hook up with others and let loose. Very rarely do I think of a club as a place to get to know people or enjoy music.
After Hours revolves around Emi, a 24-year-old woman who is out of university and trying to find her place in the world. She is supposed to meet up with a friend at a local club, but ends up getting lost and somehow has a drunk guy flirting with her. Kei, the local DJ, sees the leading lady in trouble and helps her out by getting rid of the drunk guy. Emi is still not able to find her friend and Kei asks if she wants to spend the night with her checking out other clubs. From there on out, Emi and Kei start a relationship revolving around music, adulthood and partying.
The story is not focused on people getting drunk just to let loose. The creator takes the time to show how party scenes are a chance for people to have a good time and enjoy good music. Behind the scenes of a great party is a business that helps make these parties possible. Without spoiling too much, part of the story discusses the realities of the party scene and how its fans come and go as time passes. Since Kei is a local DJ, she works with a small group of people to try and make elaborate parties come to life and she often has to struggle with making parties that cater to what the public wants and making parties that are more her personal style. As Emi goes deeper into a romantic relationship with Kei, she begins to learn about the party scene and how it fits into her life. She also begins to question if creating parities is what she wants from life or whether she is doing this because she has feelings for Kei.
While Kei and Emi have a romantic relationship that revolves around parties and music, they also take the time to explore their relationship with one another. So far, Emi places more emphasis on trying to please Kei while Kei tries to get Emi to open up to her world. While this seems like a bad thing at the beginning, overtime Kei tries to open up to Emi’s perspectives through smaller avenues. On a wide scale perspective, their relationship is based on the spontaneous, edgy nature of Kei. Over time, the pair learns how to work with one another at parties and make a great duo in a working environment. As for their romantic relationship, I can only hope that the pair learns how to stand by their partners’ side through emotional turmoil. So far, the relationship revolves around Emi staying by Kei’s side.
The plot starts off with a giant bang in the first chapter, and then it starts to slow down by chapter three. With the plot’s pace, readers get to see interactions of the pair with different people. I like how the plot allowed for more flexibility within the romance as their interactions specifically focused on them hanging out together or working together.
The art style is very pretty to look at. While it is slightly graphic with the naked ladies, it only features one panel of our pair naked. Plus, the added details for the background and the unique character designs make the manga’s art stand on its own. Rather than have every character have the same shape and size, several of them have their own distinct features making them memorable enough. This is one of my favorite art styles as it focuses on several details without giving up the traditional feel of a manga.
The manga is a good read with a nice simple premise without being overloaded with romantic drama. Combined with the emotional build of a yuri and the lack of naked bodies throughout the piece, I am glad to say I can recommend this manga to anyone who wants an unordinary romance with an added gimmick of partying. This manga is for the reader who wants to sit back and enjoy a story without being overly attached to the “wonderful” aspects of a good story.
After Hours vol. 1