Treat yourself to something nice, even if you might be splurging.
Story/Art: Takuto Kashiki
Translation/Adaptation: Taylor Engel
What They Say
Hakumei and Mikochi go to work, run errands, go to the hospital, save money, stand in line, have sleepovers…basic, everyday stuff. But at nine centimeters tall, they’re also capable of some highly unusual things! Hitching a ride on the back of a bird, donning leaf helmets, using mushrooms for beds–their tiny little life in the woods is just as extraordinary as it’s ordinary!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Life is full of ups and downs.
There are ten chapters in this volume of Hakumei and Mikochi, and they run the gamut of experiences. We get several check-in chapters for the usual group of side characters. The librarian has a nicer day than usual, for once. A wholesaler goes the extra mile to source some excellent mushrooms at Mikochi’s request. Yet the girls are present for all of the chapters in some capacity.
We have an official height for our favorite little folks, 9 centimeters. That’s about 3 1/2 inches. While many times the leads are in the city with other like-sized folks and it’s easy to forget their actual size, they are tiny. And with tiny comes some challenges that a human might overlook.
For example, one downpour isn’t going to create a potentially life-threatening flood. We don’t have to worry about falling in holes (normally) when we take a walk in the woods. Sen finds herself trapped in such a hole when she was out looking for skeletons for her experiments. She isn’t alone for long. This chapter could be quite harrowing, even deadly, yet the girls remain upbeat as they locate food and shelter in the damp earthen cave. That’s not the only misadventure. Mikochi ends up admitted to a shorthanded clinic for food poisoning, and ends up drafted into helping out the doctor’s assistant. Hakumei receives a bittersweet gift from a place she stayed during her wandering days and decides that grief is a drink best enjoyed alone.
To counteract the tough times are good friends, good food, and of course, a good drink. The cover story of this volume involves a look into how airmail is handled in their society and I finally get my answer about birds. In previous volumes, the birds were dangerous, uncommunicative creatures… except for a single penguin who lived and spoke like the rest of the animals. Apparently flying birds have their own language and culture, and only work with ground dwellers under strict circumstances. Plus, the cost of doing business is pricey.
Then there is the allure of a fine set of antique lacquer cups that catch the girls’ eyes. It’s time to tighten the belt and save for the chance to buy something nice. They say good things are worth the wait, but don’t tell Conju that.
There are a few more extras than usual in this volume. A selection of illustrations that were done for magazine extras are included in a mini gallery. The author has his usual short comic about his own life struggles. And there’s a page of translation notes as well.
There’s never a bad volume of Hakumei & Mikochi. For as wondrous as their world is, you can’t get more down-to-earth than living three inches away from it. Sometimes though, you just want to live above your pay grade. Especially if your recent life events have you needing to be rescued from a cave or ending up in the clinic for food poisoning. Sometimes you just need to drown your sorrows in fine sake, fine mushrooms, and good company. Living up to your mistakes and showing some humility never hurts either.
Content Grade: A –
Art Grade: A +
Packaging Grade: A –
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: October 15, 2019
MSRP: $15.00 US /$19.50 CAN