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Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods Vol. #08 Manga Review

4 min read
All the adult vices are on full display in this volume as the girls go out for a night on the town.
Hakumei & Mikochi: Tiny Little Life in the Woods Vol. #08

Drinking, smoking, stalking, and sleeping in all day.

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

What They Say
Hakumei and Mikochi make their regular trip into the city to run errands and restock—and to sample any tasty new beverages the Ossicle owner might have on offer! Next, Mikochi’s to-do list brings the pair to the union president’s impressive mansion, where Hakumei gets a rare glimpse of the boss off duty! But more importantly, where is Mikochi slipping off to with her best kitchen knife…when she has a perfectly capable knife-sharpening pro back home?!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This volume of Hakumei & Mikochi opens on a chapter evocative of the Ukiyo prints focusing of views of places. Each page is a scene depicting a moment of time across a day-long shopping trip to the seaside town Arabi. The end of the day becomes its own chapter as the girls descend on a familiar bar and become just another set of drinkers.

I always found the fact that the tiny folk always run around barefoot, and that their feet don’t appear to have toes, disturbing. I usually forget about it, but there’s a really great two-page spread where everyone is walking down the street in profile and you can clearly see everyone’s feet. It’s surprisingly creepy.

This volume provides a reminder that this series runs in a magazine aimed at an adult audience and the activities of the characters are the pastimes of adults. Everyone drinks and seems to be a connoisseur of fine spirits. We get a whole chapter where one acquaintance describes is exhausting detail smoking pipes, which is such an oddity. Sure, vaping is on the rise in the US and pot is more legal now than ever, but smoking is still considered a vice that really isn’t meant to be glamorized.  

While the girls seem to be spending an awful lot of time on vices in this volume, the side characters are behaving far more properly than we’ve seen. Conju meets her biggest fan, who happens to be that little stag beetle that lives above the girls. In what could have been an awkward situation, especially considering how Conju can be most of the time and the beetle’s bad luck, turns into a lovely day out. Sen, the necromantic shut-in, takes a day out of her life to comfort a lost boy who seems to be running from something. The day searching for a parent becomes the beginning of a new friendship. 

The odd story out this time around was actually one of the more compelling in the series. The construction boys decide to hook one of their friends up with some new clothes because he wants to impress a girl. A reminder: this group consists of weasels, a squirrel, and a lizard. Clothing shopping in a society made up not only of creatures of different heights but of different builds must require a large amount of custom-tailoring. That might explain why most of the larger animals in the town just wander around in a bit of jewelry. I loved looking at all the different animal fashions, especially the coat the lizard buys.

That’s where this series remains amazing, the world-building is just sublime. It’s strangely consistent too. Hakumei taking a moment to address a bug in a tree only for it to reply back was particularly cute and hilarious. Meanwhile, most of the flying birds still don’t speak the common language of the tiny folk. Mikochi eating a snack that consisted of a single grain of rice per bite is a fun reminder of that ever-present size difference. The author’s gag comic which rounds out this volume certainly puts the inspiration for the series in plain view.

In Summary
The girls are still living their best life, even if work is a little slow. All the adult vices are on full display in this volume as the girls go out for a night on the town. It doesn’t matter if it’s booze, smokes, or simply going on a spending spree, I can’t help but wonder if cancer is a leading cause of death for the tiny folk. Yet there’s no drama here from a good night on the town. The responsible adults step in to remind us that even the more troublesome characters in this series have hearts of gold. It doesn’t matter if it’s enjoying tea on your bosses’ roof or a lazy day at home, everyone enjoys relaxing.

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

Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 26, 2021
MSRP: $15.00 US /$19.50 CAN

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