In Volume 1 of The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes, we learn about Amane Mizuno, an adorably awkward girl who has trouble showing her feelings but does her best anyway to have simple yet meaningful interactions with Katou Mitsuhide, the classmate that sits next to her (and also her crush).
The first thing I noticed was that everything is so… bright, like it was full of color. Wait, that’s because it is full color. As a medium, manga is traditionally black and white, only being allotted a color page or two on occasion. Something even rarer is for the publisher to issue a full-color version of a series, which mainly only happens with popular series such as One Piece and Dragon Ball. However, there has been a rise in popularity of digital-only publications on platforms such as Twitter, Pixiv, or a publisher’s own web magazine. Hopefully, this will encourage publishers to serialize and license more full-color series for us to enjoy!
That is why I was so excited to open up the book and be greeted with an entire full-color volume. It’s different from the standard manga experience and helps amplify everything that’s already good about the series. It is a very lighthearted and wholesome read, with each chapter showing our heroine gathering up the courage to do increasingly more to get closer to Katou. Each chapter brings small moments of development that continue to add up for our main characters.
She’s not alone, of course. She has two close friends, Miyo and Yui, and all her classmates cheering her on and celebrating with her every step of the way. Seeing the classmates’ reactions in the background has that small effect of breaking the fourth wall for me because it’s how I would be reacting seeing this overwhelming cuteness take place and that small addition makes it feel like you’re part of the action.
There aren’t too many bad things to say since there’s only one volume out right now. It is a solid (and very cute) start to the series, so the main concern would be to see if this can continue while still progressing the story and the characters’ relationship. I could see this getting labeled stale or repetitive if the author drags things out for too long or recycles the same elements of the opening chapters (Amane worries about interacting with Katou, builds up courage and actually does it, she reacts happily, background characters react happily, and repeat).
However, one thing that did bother me while reading was with the font size of the sound effects (SFX) in this volume. It’s much smaller compared to the Japanese text, which makes it a lot more difficult to read. I found myself having to zoom in on the review copy to be able to properly read some of the sound effects. The image below are some example screenshots taken at 100% zoom to best show the decreased readability.
In manga lettering, there are two approaches taken with SFX: Full replacement or stylized subtitling. The former requires a lot more time and resources, especially if the staff working on the series have to do retouching on the files before completely recreating them in English with similar effects to the original Japanese. The latter does the same thing but subtitles it near the original Japanese SFX at an appropriate size. Readability is incredibly important with both methods, but I feel it’s even more so with stylized subtitling because there is already additional text in a panel from the subtitling, so anything with low readability only further clogs up the page.
In summary, The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 is a lighthearted and wholesome rom-com manga that any fan of the genre can pick up and enjoy. The chapters are short, but it’s the small leaps of faith by our main characters that continually add up and contribute to the development of their relationship. Also, the volume being in full color certainly helps to enhance the enjoyment of the series. There are some issues with the volume that have been pointed out above, but they are minor and should be easily fixable.
The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 is available for preorder now and goes on sale soon.
The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 Credits:
Original Author: Shunsuke Sorato
Translator: David Goldberg
Letterer: Glen Isip
Thank you to Denpa for the opportunity to review this manga.