Ganta Nakami has a problem, bless his heart. He’s an insomniac—unable to get any sleep during the night, which leaves him feeling drained, irritable, and dreading the rising sun. Even worse, it’s time for the school’s Culture Festival and the girls in his class aren’t down with him to catching up on sleep during the preparations. Our bro goes up to the “haunted” school observatory to fetch some extra boxes when he stumbles across one of his classmates, a girl named Isaki Magari, catching some Z’s. She’s freaked out over someone finding her secret sleeping spot and runs off, only to discover that they’re locked in. Stupid plot convenient lock that only locks from the outside! It soon comes out that she’s also an insomniac and doesn’t want anyone to know so as not to make people worry about her. While waiting for rescue, The two have a heart-to-heart relating to each other and promise to keep their napping spot a secret. One day, Isaki decides that if they’re going to be awake at night anyway, there ain’t no point in laying down stressing, and they should at least be up and having a good time. And thus, The Nightly Fun Society is born. The first meeting is pretty laid back, with our adorable dorks walking around town at night, just enjoying the emptiness of the city, dodging the cops, and snapping some pictures with the camera he brought. Soon the morning comes and our pair are naturally sleepy and make their way home promising to see each other…later today!
Out of the many shows slated for this spring anime season, this one has been close to the top of my list! I’m familiar with the original source material by Ojiro Makoto, and I’m also familiar with another one of her other works, Fujiyama-San Wa Shishunki, so seeing this work take animated form is a treat! Having dealt with a brief bout of insomnia a few years back due to the thoughts swimming through my head, I can totally attest to how the characters are suffering. That feeling of laying down with your eyes closed but not being asleep, the feeling of seeing that sunrise and getting up to face a dreadful day of pain and anguish that you don’t want to trouble others with. Praise God that I was able to overcome it thanks to some help, and it looks as though through kindred spirit Isaki and the Nightly Fun Society, Ganta might be on the road to recovery…and something more. It says something about the effectiveness of the writing that I’m able to fully relate to a character after just one episode. In under 30 minutes, I know who this dude is and I could put myself in his spot. That’s good writing, boys and girls.
Speaking of girls, for being a fellow insomniac, Isaki is just an adorable bundle of energy, the perfect counterbalance to Ganta’s grumpiness. I really want to see what her full backstory is, as characters like her in anime always tend to have something underneath that happy, chipper cover. Or maybe my reviewer’s hat is on too tight and this is just her as a character. Either way, I’m excited to find out. I can’t help but wonder though if these two would be friends with sleepy cat lover Hitoshi Shinso from My Hero Academia? Maybe he could be part of the club too?
From a production standpoint, this show is very well done! The animation style tracks along with the style in the manga; it’s dark and gloomy when needed, but when the moment calls for it, things get just stunning! I especially love the character designs in this one. Everyone just looks so realistic without overdoing it. The facial expressions are so warm and gentle. This manga-ka focuses a lot on the eyes of a character, and as such, they are very detailed. If there is any weakness in the production, the music can be a little too…present…if that makes any sense. I was aware of it a little too much, especially during the night montage. Maybe if it were turned down a bit, it would be better. Also, maybe I’m spoiled by Call of the Night, but the night scenes when our two dorks are strolling around their downtown area don’t seem as rich or immersive as in that series. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful scene, but having spent 13 episodes with a show that prides itself on showing exciting nightlife, my expectations might be a little too high.
So where does that leave us? Well, I don’t know about you, but it’s going to leave me with one more anime to watch this season! OF COURSE, I’m following it! Yes, Insomniacs After School is shaping up to be another high school rom-com, but this one offers something special. It’s totally relatable. How many times have you been up at night, unable to sleep because the thoughts in your head just won’t let you be? We all have been there. Heaven knows I have.
Insomniacs After School can be streamed on HIDIVE.