Story & Art: Yasunobu Yamauchi
Translation: David Musto
Production: Grace Lu & Anthony Quintessenza
Editor: Kristi Fernandez
In the vast sea of manga centering around high school dramas — sports, romance, the quest for fame — it is gratifying to find a series that is just fun, following the meandering path of teenage existence without a grander theme. Yasunobu Yamauchi’s The Daily Lives of High School Boys provides the much needed low-stakes, slice-of-life comedy that will keep readers in stitches over the weird antics of its young cast.
Tadakuni, Yoshitake, and Hidenori are typical teenage boys who attend an all-boys’ high school. That’s about all the background readers are given, since the focus of the series is on the strange situations they all find themselves in, many of which they create on their own. In the very first chapter, the boys are hanging out at Tadakuni’s house when they decide to try on his sister’s school uniform skirt, including panties. Tadakuni is initially against the idea, but his friends manage to trick him into being the only one who actually changes clothes. His sister happens to walk in as they’re trying to fasten Tadakuni into one of her bras, the punchline coming when she says, “What’s the matter? Keep going.”
The boys’ other exploits are equally silly, including simulating overwrought school dating scenarios, swapping pseudo-philosophical lines with a schoolgirl who is writing a romantic novel, and learning the false history of their school’s 70-hour fasting tradition. Though the three central boys are the main focal point of the manga, other high school boys appear, widening the range of character types. Current high school readers will recognize their friends in the quirky cast of this series, and older readers will be reminded of the more carefree moments of their high school days, when they bridged the transition from childhood to adulthood. In fact, the boys spend a whole chapter playing as characters from a role playing video game on their walk home from school, highlighting their immaturity, while their reflections on dating evince their growing interest in the world of adult concerns.
Yamauchi’s artwork takes a little getting used to, as it is stiff and less polished than most other manga series. But the awkward figures lend to the laid back nature of the entire series, enforcing the idea that this isn’t a story to be taken too seriously; rather, it is a quick, funny read intended to provide chuckles and cheer. Some readers may initially be put off by the lettering, which combines lower and uppercase fonts, but the fast-paced nature of the gags helps to streamline the reading experience.
Those seeking to relive the folly of youth can find the first volume of The Daily Lives of High School Boys available now from Vertical Comics. While waiting for volume two’s October release, you can watch the anime adaptation, available to stream on Crunchyroll.