thoughts on | yokohama shopping blog volume 1 by hitoshi ashinano


Yokohama Shopping Blog Volume 1

by Hitoshi Ashinano


Hatsuseno Alpha is a girl who runs a small Cafe Alpha in the remote country side.

Alpha’s life is calm and slow-pace, yet anything but boring. Alpha enjoys drinking coffee, seeing her few neighbors, making new friends, riding her motorbike along overgrown roads, watching the sunset, swimming in the sea. She’s kind, cheerful and optimistic. She lives through small adventures and little by little learns more about people and the world she lives in.

If she hadn’t mentioned herself to be a robot, we would never guess.

Dystopia books, of all kinds, can be incredibly noisy.

Pre, during, and post ‘apocalyptic’, you always find that the narratives are told from the point of view of people right in the thick of the downfall of humanity. You rarely ever see the quiet life parts of humanity can return to, after such extreme loss.

In Yokohama Shopping Blog, the general atmosphere is quiet. We know something cataclysmic, literally world-ending (as we know it), has occurred, but you find yourself not really caring all that much as you follow Alpha in the quiet life she leads.

Each character is being developed over the space of this volume, other than Alpha herself, who is very secure in her identity and sense of self. Even though she’s a robot, and many people assume they follow, Alpha leads her own, independent life, making friends with passers-by and running her cafe, without it feeling drastic or rebellious.

Any drama is quickly resolved, or revealed to not be as bad as first expected. In a world so focused on the big things, on danger and hatred, narratives like Alpha’s are just as important, and especially soothing at this point in time when so many things seem to be going wrong in the world.

The art in this is just as serene as the story. The scenery is barren of the buildings and extravagant hubs of business we’re used to, instead showing us a landscape being reclaimed, slowly, by nature, bringing new life to lost land. It very much reads like one of my favourite songs, ‘Pluto‘ by Sleeping At Last, which I recommend listening to if you ever want to feel calm.

Even though my review of this manga is short, I wanted to release it so I could push this in anyone’s direction who may be struggling at the moment, especially in self-isolation. Look after yourselves, everyone ❀

If you like this review, you might like:

🍎Sweet Blue Flowers by Takako Shimura

🍎Books to Read Based on Your BTS Bias

🍎Graphic Recommendations #2: PANELATHON



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