By Hachi Ito, Aya Fumio and Toitentsu, based on the visual novel by Liar-Soft. Released in Japan in two separate volumes as “Okujou no Yurirei-san” by Shinshokan, serialized in the magazine Hirari. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Amy Osteraas; Adapted by David Liederman.
The success of Kindred Spirits on the Roof as a visual novel was one of the big events of 2016 – indeed, I even reviewed the game here – so it shouldn’t be a surprise that Seven Seas would pick up a manga adaptation of it. What is a surprise is that this isn’t just the usual manga adaptation of the visual novel itself; instead, you get two long stories that take place the year after the game happened, featuring new characters but with many cameos and supporting appearances from our heroines we know and love. This, of course, also allows the authors to hook up new couples, something that wasn’t likely to happen if they focused on the already resolved game pairings.
This was released in Japan as two separate volumes, “Side A” and “Side B”, by two different artist teams. As with many series that follow this path, the A side is better. Shiori is a shy student with a talent for art who is trying to recover from her best friend confessing to her the previous year. They haven’t spoken since, though it doesn’t appear to be because Shiori isn’t interested (certainly not in THIS series, at least), but because she has no idea what to say or how to react, and also she’s a giant introvert. Luckily, she’s in a class with Hina and Seina, two of the visual novel’s heroines, and they can help give her perspective and also talk about their own experiences. As this year’s cultural festival comes up, Shiori finds the courage to tell Maki how she really feels. The festival also gives us an opportunity to have everyone else cameo, even the girls who had graduated (and the ghosts, though they’re reduced to sort of smiling down on the new lesbians from heaven, as one does).
The second half isn’t quite as gripping, though it isn’t actually bad or anything. Chiharu is also a new first-year, and she’s a fan of yuri pairs (boy, did she come to the right school). When she sees two upperclassmen try to get members for the quiz club, she’s enthralled… not by quizzes, but at the thought of what a cute couple they’d make. Joining the club, she finds a kindred spirit (see what I did there?) in Tokino, who is taller and more reserved but also a yuri fan. If this manga weren’t so light and fluffy, this would be a recipe for disaster. But it is light and fluffy, and so Chiharu and Tokino turn out to be correct, and resolve to help push their two sempais together… and possibly learn something more about their own relationship. There are fewer cameos here, so things lean more heavily on the new girls.
Both stories are cute and fluffy and not too deep, and filled with cute fluffy high school yuri. I do think that anyone who wants to read them should play the game first; it adds to the experience of knowing who all these people are. If you have played the game, you’ll definitely want to buy this.