The month of July saw the arrival at Doki-Doki of the series Les Promeneuses de l’apocalypse, in Japanese Shûmatsu Touring (a Japanese-English name that could be translated as “Journey of the apocalypse” or “Tourism of the apocalypse”). Pre-published in Japan since 2020 in the Dengeki Maoh magazine of ASCII Mediaworks/Kadokawa with currently 3 volumes published, this work is the very first French publication by Sakae Saito, an author active since the mid-2000s, having first officiated in hentai before chaining several series for the general public including manga inspired by Robotics;Notes, Kantai Collection or Heavy Object. Note that the author is himself a fan of motorcycle road trips, and it is therefore not surprising to see him design a manga on this theme, nor to discover that since 2022 he is also in charge of manga Super Cub Rei, a spin-off of the Super Cub series which plays in the same vein and which has recently been published in France by Noeve Grafx.
As the title of the series suggests, it immerses us in a slightly futuristic Japan that has been ravaged by disasters that are not specified. More precisely, it is the whole world that has collapsed, human civilization as we know it no longer existing, having left behind only ruins and more or less empty buildings. nevertheless, human life has not completely disappeared, as shown by the young Yôko, a teenager who, in this context where she grew up in a shelter, she ended up going beyond her sister’s directives by leaving it to discover the country on an all-terrain motorcycle, all in the company of his faithful Airi, a young lady who under her somewhat neutral young girl looks will reserve a few surprises.
The work, which starts quickly and well by effectively immersing us in its universe without the need for a particular presentation, therefore largely flirts with the register of iyashi-kei, this Japanese literary current seeking well-being. of his readership by making him forget all his problems to better enjoy every moment that is offered to us. Most of the story, for the moment anyway, is actually based on the first stages of Yôko and Airi’s journey: Hakone, Yokohama, the port of Yokosuka, Setagaya, Shinbashi, Ariake… all these destinations being obviously very different from what we know today, being for example more or less severely devastated, partly engulfed under water… and yet it is indeed in these post-apocalyptic places that our heroines enjoy pleasures simple as best they can, if only by going fishing in Yokohama Bay, enjoying the hot springs of Hakone without forgetting to appreciate the views of Mount Fuji, but also by meeting a few : animals, robots, or even humans who have become cyborgs and have their own little story… because despite the collapse of the world, life still exists for those who know how to appreciate it and meet it.
The author offers us “positive post-apocalyptic” rather effective overall, where the “happy despite everything” side of the heroines willingly evokes Stopover in Yokohama, while the “journey to discover the ruins of our civilization” aspect by two girls who don’t know her” reminds us a little bit of Girl’s Last Tour, two other excellent and essential series of this kind of post-apo iyashi-kei. And other elements are there to enhance the fun alongside Yôko and Airi. We obviously think of their motorcycles, two-wheelers being a very recurring gimmick in this kind of exotic series: let’s remember Alpha’s scooter in Escale à Yokohama, Rin’s in Yuru Camp/Au Grand Air, the motorcycle changing the life of the heroine of Super Cub, or even, in a slightly different genre, of the famous Kettenkrad of the heroines of Girl’s Last Tour. But there is also the visual touch of the mangaka: rather satisfying, between the very present and neat decorations which find the right balance between clarity and richness, between realism and post-apo and futuristic elements, then the very expressive faces, quite round and light of our heroines.
Finally, while the little recipe could have simply stopped there, note that Sakae Saito distils there, from time to time, little more intriguing details. we can possibly wonder where Yôko’s big sister has gone, whose tracks our heroine follows by relying on the travel photos that she was able to send her in the past. But there is also enough to wonder about the meaning of the dreams of the past that the latter sometimes makes, or simply to find, at the turn of a page, brief elements that are a little more difficult, like the discovery of a corpse in a room, which is a good reminder of the originally sad context. Yôko and Airi, faced with these things, will they still be able to keep their smile so communicative?
On arrival, Les Promeneuses de l’apocalypse reveals enough qualities in its genre to make for a very pleasant reading experience, and we hope that it will last! And on the publishing side, it’s all good from Doki-Doki with a very thick and fairly flexible paper allowing excellent printing, a first page in color, clean lettering from Studio Charon, a clear translation by Marylou Leclerc, and a jacket close to the Japanese original with a very nice title logo.
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Review Vol.1 Walkers of the apocalypse (the) – Manga
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