Shounen – Comedy, slice-of-life
1 Volume of 8 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (Akita Publishing)
Seto and Utsumi like to sit and chat after school. Whether it’s not wanting to study, figuring out how to talk to a girl, or a casual game of badminton, who knows where the conversation’s going to go!
You know the CGDCT genre? Cute girls doing cute things? Well, Seto Utsumi has arrived to help pad the CBDCT genre.
… But is Seto really cute? I dunno, who cares. It’s two guys wasting time together while hanging out on the steps by a river — and it’s good.
Seto Utsumi is named after its two high school leads. Every day (well, every chapter), the two of them just hang out after school. While it could change in the other volumes, the manga doesn’t show them at school (unless it’s a flashback), and they don’t go to the arcade or anything. They just talk at the same spot. Talk about what? Well, whatever they want to. Sometimes they’ll talk about a girl from school, their life, rant about something, or set off a rocket.
On one hand, yeah, it’s not exciting. But it’s also like hanging out with your friends: you don’t always have a grand adventure, but you have a natural good time because you’re with people you like. This is probably one of the most slice-of-life manga you’ll ever read.
Seto and Utsumi are two people that they themselves think wouldn’t click. Utsumi is more academically inclined than his friend, and he’s also more serious. So Seto is often asking for clarification or trying to tell Utsumi to be more approachable. Seto usually steers the conversation since he’s more talkative, but they both play off each other with occasional ribbing. But even though they haven’t been friends for very long, they are clearly buds, and from the pieces here and there, they both have some friction with their families.
We also meet Ichigo, a girl whose family runs a temple, Naruyama, a scary guy from school, and Tanaka, an eccentric schoolmate. We also see the leads talk about other people who are in the area.
So while this is a slice-of-life manga, the manga almost always ends with a reason to make readers let out a little chuckle. Not a guffaw or ROFLing, but something humorous to make you smile. For instance, Seto worries about how to text Ichigo, and her response? “Who dis?” In another case, Seto ends up copying Utsumi’s weird face when he was trying to get Utsumi to look more friendly. Again, Seto Utsumi is supposed to have that unforced “a funny/interesting thing happened today” feel to it. It’s also neat to see two young men just talking, and a lot of authors would have had them be friends from way back. They’re close enough to joke around but still don’t know a lot about each other’s families.
The art is really nice, a blend of realism and mangaism. You can picture a couple of high schoolers just sitting and talking, but yet there’s visual humor with exaggerated expressions. The backgrounds and images of the area are awesome, and almost every panel feels full. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the shots were actually photographs, and the down-to-earth character designs don’t make them look out-of-place in the world. The chapters are about 15 pages each, so long enough to cover the day’s topic or activity but without overstaying its welcome. It’s just really good.
I spotted a couple of typos. Sometimes their accent comes across more clearly than at other times. Occasional footnotes as necessary. Fortunately, this is one of the better Media Do releases.
Seto Utsumi is like people-watching the same two individuals every day. As long as you understand what you’re getting into — no absurd comedy, otaku jokes, or manzai routines — I think you’ll enjoy it. Also, I really want a fighter jet balloon…
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