「⼀つ星さん フオーマルハウト」 (Hitotsu Boshisan -Fuoumaruhauto-)
“Fomalhaut -Piscis Austrinus-“

Man, there’s a serious shitload of good anime out there right now, that’s for sure. There aren’t many days when at least one really good show isn’t airing, and sometimes two. It really does harken back to the halcyon days of Spring 2012, the last truly great anime season, when it seemed like every day was an event. I don’t think I can make a call until this season is in the books on whether it reaches that level – my instinct now is that in terms of sheer greatness and sheer quantity of quality it’s just short, But 11 years is a long time, so it could just as easily be me.

No doubt there is some risk of saturation with so many good series. Especially when a lot of them are relationship-driven, as well as seinen (which dominates the top of the leaderboard). Each of the really good ones carves its own niche though, to be sure. And Kimi no Houkago Insomnia is no exception. It’s very special, as anyone who reads the manga will tell you. The look, the vibe, the themes – Ojiro Makoto has created a very distinct world here, with absolutely stellar characters. Two of them most obviously, but not only them.

We begin with Ganta settling into his role as club president. With Isaki in two clubs that’s the only option, but truth be told he’s cut out for it. When Ganta applies himself to something he does it seriously – and he’s smart as well as curious. If the kids are to be allowed to keep their clubhouse they have to be a real club – which means scrounging for funds and going to meetings and presenting reports. To help, Kurashiki-sensei (would that all teachers were so chill) sends the pair off to meet with the last active member of the club, at the end of a puddle-jumper train ride somewhere into rural Ishikawa (which doesn’t ever get that urban to begin with).

After a few fits and starts and a long walk through a lot of rice paddies, they end up at “Betty” – which turns out to be a rather hoppin’ game center. The small blonde woman cleaning up initially tries to chase them off for violating curfew before realizing they were the kouhai she was warned about. She introduces herself as the manager, Shiromaru Yui (Tomatsu Haruka) and brings the kids to her trailer (who was minding the arcade, exactly?), where her cat Rollo (Ojiro-sensei clearly loves cats) is waiting for her. And thus begins the real story of Insomniacs After School.

Having Tomatsu join the cast is a fantastic turn, for starters – she’s pretty much always great. But Shiromaru-san is a very important character, Ganta and Isaki’s bridge into a world they know nothing about. Shiromaru is a true believer – she loves the stars and cameras, and despite her very offbeat communication style she eventually – after preparing dinner – gets down to the brass tacks of the “peeper club”. I’m not necessarily a big camera guy, and this gets pretty geeky to be honest – but as with Go or Karuta or the koto, interesting people passionate about something make that something itself interesting.

Now the stars, those I am interested in. And so are Isaki and Ganta, once they get to know them a little. And Ganta being a bit of a techie and tinkerer has a natural affinity for the minutiae of photography. Which there’s a ton of, especially where astrophotography is concerned. Ganta’s joy when he gets his first good star photo is infectious, and it seems as if Shiromaru enjoys having someone to share her passions with. In fact she promises to check in on the club occasionally – and turns up at their next meeting with Kurashiki-sensei to offer some advice. Ganta suggests a Perseid meteor shower viewing party as the club’s centerpiece event, and Kurashiki more or less orders him to enter a student astrophotography contest as a means of winning over the school power brokers.

In truth, this amounts to kind of a slice of life episode centered around a character we’d never met before, but it totally works. When it ended I just thought to myself that the whole thing just had a marvelous warmth to it. There’s the sense of an adventure just beginning here, a new world waiting to be explored. And for two kids who’ve suffered the way these two have from insomnia, having so much to look forward to is really a gift beyond measure. But then, the same could be said of the audience…


  1. I was a little disappointed that the focus had shifted from the main couple’s growing relationship, but I guess a week of downtime is OK now and then. Isn’t sensei a bit TOO familiar with Shiromaru, though?

    But for a series at least partly about astronomy, you’d think the animators wouldn’t commit the basic error of drawing stars in the shadowed portion of a crescent moon, as if there were a chunk of it missing.

    1. “I was a little disappointed that the focus had shifted from the main couple’s growing relationship”

      But it didn’t changed.
      It’s because now they have to work together in the astronomy clue and doing activities for it that they will be able to spend time together and actually build a relationship.

  2. WOOOW, Usako is the coolest. Usako admits she knows nothing about what the Astronomy club did during the prior school years when it was still active.
    That’s a responsible club advisor I look forward to mimicking. Most Usako will provide minimal direction; I like her, LOL.
    I like more Usako screen time … please.

    Yui the Alumni is equally hilarious, not caring about the club and its rebirth. You could tell this club is an afterthought no one in Ganta and Isaki’s school gives a ‘Sheet’ about the club.

    Now I love this Anime, however, here is my question. How does restarting the Astronomy club help both Ganta and Isaki’s insomnia? Won’t these activities make Ganta and Isaki more tired during the daytime?

    1. Seeing that the alternative to restarting the Astronomy Club was possibly the pair of them getting severely punished, it’s got to help at least a little.

      And whoever TLs the subs should know it’s “alumna” (feminine singular), not “alumni” (masculine plural). Yeah, I’m feeling really nitpicky today 🙂

      1. (Ჾ˽Ჾ) It’s okay this is the whole point of posting replies. To pick apart posts and previous replies.

        If worst comes to worst, I’ll consult my bottle of Lagavulin 16 I nicknamed “My Psychiatrist” to be at ease.

  3. Great episode! I’m glad Ganta and Isaki are have an interest together and I can’t wait to see how their relationship grows. Hopefully, this will also help with their insomnia.

    Shiromaru is also an interesting character and I’m looking forward to seeing how she helps her kouhai in this club. I was wondering what she was doing in the opening scene. Was she talking to the nurse/club advisor and that’s how the latter found where to find Shiromaru?

    Lastly, Enzo – I think this is the second time I’ve seen you mention Spring 2012 as the last truly great anime season. That is around the time that I started watching anime myself, so I probably missed out on a lot, but what are series from that time that you recommend? A quick check on MAL shows Hyouka, Sakamichi no Apollon, and Fate/Zero S2, among others, as the highest rated that season.


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