Story & Art by Yasunobu Yamauchi
Edited by Kristi Fernandez
Translated by David Musto
Production by Grace Lu & Anthony Quintessenza
Regardless of medium, comedy tends to be the most subjective of genres. A joke that is praised by one group could fall flat to the next, making it difficult to create a comedy that is truly universal. However, this also allows comedy to dive into smaller niches and still find an audience, and that’s what allows series like The Daily Lives of High School Boys to exist. After having a well-received anime adaptation back in 2012, this zany manga has now been brought over by Vertical for readers to enjoy.
The Daily Lives of High School Boys centers on high schoolers Tadakuni, Hidenori Tabata, and Yoashitake Tanaka, as they interact with their peers and end up in bizarre situations. It’s a straightforward premise, but the series uses its simplicity to its advantage. Each of our leads has a defined role that shapes the humor of each chapter. Hidenori is the eccentric of the group, instigating many of the gags in the first volume, while Tadakuni serves as the reactionary “straight man”. Meanwhile, Yoshitake is the passive figure, naturally going along with any situation. That said, our leads are no mere archetypes. They act and feel like high school students. From casually hanging out to juvenile banter, these boys have a genuine quality to their behavior. This also seeps into the series’ comedy, as while not all the gags in the manga are realistic, they feel strangely natural for the cast. These boys may get into abnormal situations, but they are lovable all the same.
Yasunobu Yamauchi’s artwork is by no means complicated, but it’s effective in conveying the manga’s humor. While the detail of the backgrounds tends to vary on the environment, the manga’s paneling places a heavy focus on the facial expressions of the characters. This is especially true during the setup and punchline of jokes, where characters will often shift from a more neutral face to a bombastic one. The quick transition amplifies the delivery of each gag, while also establishing the absurdity of the situation. Once again, the manga has twisted the mundane to make a thoroughly entertaining read.
The Daily Lives of High School Boys is a hilarious read that blends the ordinary with the quirkiness of youth. The cast is surprisingly entertaining and you’re sure to get a laugh out of something in this first volume. Just don’t steal any skirts like these guys.