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Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods Vol. #04 Manga Review

3 min read
EARLY LOOK: Uninvited guests and going the extra mile for a friend.
Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods Vol. #04

Uninvited guests and going the extra mile for a friend.

Creative Staff
Story/Art: Takuto Kashiki
Translation/Adaptation: Taylor Engel

What They Say
The idyllic days of Hakumei and Mikochi are full of adventures, but what do nights in the forest hold for these two pint-size friends? When the sun sets, time seems to slow to a crawl, bringing quiet moments and simple pleasures. From taking the night train to sharing a drink on a moonlit eve, Hakumei and Mikochi prove that, night or day, life is best when savored to the fullest…

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The cover illustration sets an expectation that strange things are afoot at night in this volume of Tiny Little Life in the Woods. While there are plenty of nighttime adventures inside, that’s far from the whole story.

Mostly, this is a volume about going out of your way to get what you want. One chapter has the girls deciding at the last minute to open a stall at the festival, which turns into an exhausting but rewarding experience. Following that the girls try to head to a nearby hot spring only to find it closed, so Hakumei decides to build her own outdoor bath! The last chapter of this volume has the girls riding a night train so that Hakumei can get some early morning fishing done at their destination. (I’ve done an overnight trip by train, and I can sympathize with how sore Mikochi must have been after sleeping on that train seat.)

One of the biggest moments in this volume is the arrival of an unannounced guest to the girl’s home. Ayune is Mikochi’s sister, a playwright who claims she has writer’s block. Mikochi is instantly on guard and we soon learn why, as Ayune imposes on her sister in a way only a sister could. Ayune is almost the polar opposite of her sister, bold and selfish in her desires, yet generous with her money. There’s a nice callback to the first chapter of the series as Mikochi tells her about Kafu, the bird she raised and reencountered. We eventually learn why Ayune stopped by to visit, but she flees before explaining further. It’s a funny little chapter which gives us an idea of how Mikochi became who she is, and it’s always fun to meet family in these stories.

Something this series does that I find works remarkably well is that each story is told in just the amount of time that it requires. In the last volume, there was a multi-chapter epic in the Honey Manor storyline. In this volume, the first two chapters tell an equally harrowing tale of testing out Sen’s diving bell. The following story is a short ten-page romp with Iwashi and the hairdresser. This changing-up of the chapter length is something I don’t see much in manga and it’s refreshing that the creator isn’t beholden to some arbitrary page length or a certain structure imposed by the editor at Harta.

The extras include a brief author’s comic and some translation notes.

In Summary
Hakumei & Mikochi continues its comfy ambiance of the simple life, which isn’t always so simple. The girls certainly seem to live by the rule of enjoying the simple things in life to it’s fullest, even if it means going out of the way to enjoy a hot spring or waking early to go travel across the countryside to go fishing. This series continues to be a joy to read and is certainly among the best of slice-of-life manga out there.

Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: A +
Packaging Grade: A –
Text/Translation Grade: B +

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: February 26, 2019
MSRP: $15.00 US /$19.50 CAN

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