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Adults' Picture Book: New Edition Volume 1 Review



volume 1 cover for Adults' Picture Book: New Edition by Kei Itoi

Publisher Summary


THOUGHT IF I ASKED, YOU’D TAKE HER. AND SO! SHE’S ALL YOURS.

With those words, Souichiro Kudou’s life was changed forever. Suddenly, he has a four-year-old daughter named Kiki, thanks to his late friend Haruki. And it only gets more complicated when he proposes to a total stranger… Husband, lover, father, and friend—only time will tell whether Kudou can reconcile his past with Haruki and learn to fill these roles for the new people in his life. Luckily for him, Kiki and his new spouse, Fusako, are ready and willing to figure it out alongside him!


Author: Kei Itoi

Translator: Stephen Paul

Letterer: Alexis Eckerman


Background

 

Adults' Picture Book by Kei Itoi is a seinen manga series that ran in Shogakukan's Big Comic Spirits magazine in 2021. The series has completed with 3 volumes.


Yen Press announced that they had licensed the series in October 2023. When it was announced, there wasn't much fanfare. For me, the premise was interesting enough to want to check out. Would the series be more of a comedy or would it be serious?


Review

 

Souichiro Kudou, an erotic manga creator, becomes the guardian of his late friend's child, Kiki. While getting his taxes filed, he encounters Fusako, a woman who looks similar to his late friend Hauki. In an attempt to help his child better adjust to her new situation, he proposes to Fusako.


This story is about them becoming a family for this little girl while Souichiro attempts to understand what it is to be part of a family and moving on from the passing of his friend.


This series is a slow burn slice of life. Souichiro has to learn to adjust his entire life for this kid. He's at least aware to prevent her from knowing what he draws for a living. You can see that he's trying to be a good guardian to her while aimlessly walking in the dark.


To me, the series hammers the mindset that parenting is an unpredictable task and you can only do your best.


The story also addresses creating a found family as you're placed into a life changing situation. This is the story's strength based on how each of the characters interact with one another. You can see the slow buildup to becoming a familial unit. You can tell the mangaka has placed a lot of thought and consideration into the subject. It's something I could see many relating to.



Souichiro talking with Kiki trying to make her go to sleep


I like Souichiro as our lead. He's very reserve, contemplative, but confused about his feelings and circumstances. He's sorting through his feelings of his late friend while slowly growing into the parent needed for Kiki.


Kiki is a delight! She acts her age without going too childish or too mature. She's a good way for the mangaka to ease the tension of certain scenes, such as the scene with Souichiro's acquaintance signing off on being a witness to his marriage.


The scene that had me laughing was when Souichiro and Fusako are in the government office. Both are confused on how to get to the marriage filing department. Kiki runs over to an employee, yells, "I want to get married!". The employee, stunned at first, gives her the right directions to the office. It was incredibly funny and something a 4 year old would do.


I liked how the mangaka handled the flashbacks between Souichiro and Haruki. You can tell that Souichiro has taken quotes or behaviors from Haruki and applied them as advice for Kiki. It shows their friendship in action and shows why it's so difficult for Souichiro to move on from his grief.


I disliked how abrupt the volume ended. It's not a conclusive ending to the chapter but just abrupt, making you think you missed a page.


Final Thoughts

 

Overall, Adults' Picture Book is off to a strong start. The characters are interesting and grounded. I want to see them become a family and for Souichiro to move on from his grief.


Verdict: Buy It


Adults' Picture Book: New Edition Volume 1 from Yen Press is now available at all retailers

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