Sunday, August 22, 2021

REVIEW: Play It Cool, Guys (manga, vol. 1) by Kokone Nata, translated by Amanda Haley

Play It Cool, Guys is a slice-of-life comedy series. I got this volume via interlibrary loan.


This full-color manga stars four different "clumsy-cool" guys: Hayate Ichikura (age 20, college student), the "embarrassed and introspective" type; Shun Futami (age 17, high school student), the "bluffing stoic" type; Takayuki Mima (age 27, working adult), the "unaware and unaffected" type; and Souma Shiki (age 19, vocational college student), the "self-accepting positive" type. Each guy is introduced with examples of how they manage to remain cool despite being awkward or clumsy, and each section transitions to the next guy by having the previous one bump into the new one. By the last few chapters, however, their paths start to cross in more significant ways.

This volume was super short, which was depressing, because it was such a warm and wholesome read that I didn't want it to stop. Nothing much really happened, but it was just so...nice.

It's tough to tell how long this series will manage to go on before becoming stale, but for now there's some nice potential in the ways the different guys might interact with each other. All of the characters had at least one moment where they admired one of the other guys for being particularly mature or cool - my favorite was probably Hayate and his awe at the way Takayuki didn't even blink at his own verbal slip-up (which he might not even have noticed). And I loved the way Takayuki encouraged Hayate.

I'm looking forward to finding out how well Volume 2 holds up. For now, this seems like an excellent warm and soothing kind of series.


A page of translator's notes.

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