First Look: Insomniacs After School

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Alternative title(s): Kimi wa Houkago Insomnia
Manga Adaptation by Liden Films
Streaming on HIDIVE


Ganta Nakami suffers from insomnia, and it’s ruining his school life. One day he attempts to take nap in the old school observatory, only to encounter a girl who beat him to it. The two become fast friends as they bond over their… lack of sleep?

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Jel’s verdict: A Little Too Sleepy

While I like the concept of this series, there were two things that held it back for me. First, I did not like the main character. He’s kind of a jerk, spends the first half of the episode feeling sorry for himself, and then gets rewarded with a cute girlfriend. It feels like self-insert male wish fulfillment, perhaps in a more subtle way than usual, but it’s still there. And yes, before you come after me in the comments, I know he’s “supposed” to be a jerk, and I know the original author is a woman. That context doesn’t change how I feel about it.

My other issue is that the episode is kind of boring. I think a fair comparison would be last year’s Call of the Night, a show that I eventually grew to love. That series used its fantasy elements to create a more exciting dynamic between the main couple, and even the rest of the cast. It also had more surreal art direction, which did a much better job depicting the allure of walking around town after dark. I never felt bored watching it.

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Insomniacs After School goes for a more down to Earth vibe, which is fine, but you better back that up with some amazing dialogue and characters you want to spend time with. What we got here was average, maybe a little above average if I’m being generous. I liked Magari’s low energy playfulness, and Nakami is slightly less of a jerk in the second half of the episode. They have a pleasant, natural chemistry. It’s all fine, but in a season packed with laid back slice-of-life romances, you need to be more than just “fine” to stand out.

I will end on a positive note and say, as a person who has dealt with insomnia all my life, I appreciated the accurate and detailed depiction of what it does to you. Not just the obvious things like feeling tired, but feeling like you need to cover it up and act like everything is normal. When I saw Nakami playing a boring YouTube video on his phone to try and help him sleep, I felt that in my soul. Of course that’s not enough in itself to keep me interested, but I appreciated it nonetheless.

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Artemis’ verdict: Nothing More or Less Than Adequate

Insomniacs is one of those titles that I want to like more than I actually do. To be clear, it doesn’t commit any major sins – there’s zero in-your-face fanservice, the dialogue isn’t eye-rollingly cliché, and the characters are, if not necessarily immediately likable, then at least perfectly tolerable. However, the premiere also didn’t do anything overwhelmingly right to draw me in, with the result being that I finished up the episode feeling a bit cool toward it. Neither of the main characters say or do anything that makes me want to really root for them or care too much about their development, and their romance – which I have to assume is a foregone conclusion – is again perfectly fine but not compelling in any particular way. I even felt pretty much the same about all the technical qualities of the show, from the artwork and animation to the music. If nothing else has caught your eye this season yet, by all means, give Insomniacs a shot – I may even give it another episode myself next week just in case I’m missing something. However, so far for me, it’s managed to be the definition of “adequate” in basically every respect, and I’ll need more than that to commit to another 12 episodes.

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