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Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Volume 1: 04/11/19

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Volume 1

In the summer of 2017 while we were temporarily living in a tiny apartment. That same summer, Crunchyroll simulcasted a delightful anime series, Elegant Yokai Apartment Life. As the anime wrapped up, I saw that the manga was available on Books. Since space was at a premium and I didn't know how long we'd be there, I purchased an ebook copy and there it sat on my phone until this year. I had Cybils to read for and our time in the apartment was much shorter than I expected and we were once again caught up in the excitement of moving.

Elegant Yokai Apartment Life, Volume 1 by Hinowa Kouzuki is one of an ongoing series. There are currently eighteen volumes (if you can read Japanese), with eight of them translated into English.

This opening volume introduces Yushi Inaba and his situation. Like so many high school aged manga protagonists, he is an orphan and he has been living with his uncle's family. In American literature, that situation wouldn't be the starting off point, but in manga it is.

Yushi has worked hart and gotten into a high school that has dormitories. Unfortunately just before school starts, the dorm he's been assigned to burns down (another manga / anime trope). Yushi, now desperate because he doesn't want to go back to being dependent on his uncle, he needs an apartment he can afford. Two problems: he's a teenager with a part-time job, and he's living in Tokyo.

Japan, even modern day Tokyo, is rife with supernatural housing options for those most in need. For Yushi, it's an older building that offers spacious rooms, apparently has space to spare, free food, and is something he can afford.

But by the second day there, Yushi realizes that his elegant apartment building is inhabited by ghosts and other spirits. The excellent food served there is made by a spirit who is only a pair disembodied hands.

Since this is an ongoing series, Yushi's sixth month stay in the apartment ends up being a full time thing. The remainder of this first volume introduces the other main characters who reside there.

The manga is as delightful as the anime adaptation. I have the second volume on hand and hope to read it sooner than the two years it took me to read this volume.

Five stars

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