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Smoking Behind the Supermarket with You Volume 1 Review

Updated: May 3

Publisher Summary


At age forty-five, office worker Sasaki has had enough of the corporate grind. His only solace is smoking—and the friendly smile of supermarket cashier Yamada. When Sasaki can't find Yamada after a particularly trying day, a striking woman invites him to smoke with her. The despondent man thinks he's made a new smoking buddy in the cool, teasing Tayama, but Sasaki doesn't realize he already knows her!


Story & Art by: Jinushi

Translation: Amanda Haley

Lettering: Kyla Aiko


I Received Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You Volume 1 as an Advanced Review Copy from Square Enix Manga in exchange for an honest review.


 

Background


Smoking Behind the Supermarket with You started off as a Twitter comic in 2022, which immediately became one of the most popular on the site. Which as of writing this, it's first post has exceeded a total of 2.5 million likes on the platform. The series then received a serialization in Monthly Big Gagan on August 25th, 2022.


Smoking Behind the Supermarket with You won the 2022 Next Manga Award in the web category. The annual "This Manga Is Amazing!" guidebook in Japan also listed the series among its top 20 (#7) for male readers in 2023.  


On April 3rd, 2023, Square Enix's MangaUp! App announced on X (Formally Twitter) that the manga was licensed in English for a digital release.. Then on July 1st, 2023 during Anime Expo 2023, Square Enix Manga & Books announced that Smoking Behind the Supermarket with You will be receiving a physical print release.


 

Review



Meet Sasaki, an office worker who had enough of the corporate grind. From late night meetings that could have been an email to working a bunch of overtime to hit tight deadlines for clients, After every work day, he feels drained and wants to find peace. For Sasaki, this comes from shopping at a local supermarket where an employee named Yamada works. Yamada's infectious smile and great customer service brighten up Sasaki's nights. So much so that it's become a routine for him to stop by whenever work gets rough to help get through the next day.


One day, Sasaki doesn't see Yamada at her usual register. So he makes his normal purchase for things he needs the next day and is on his way out. As he's about to leave, he notices someone behind the supermarket calling out to hang out for a few minutes to smoke. Sasaki hesitates at the idea, but then takes up the stranger's offer, as he hasn't sat down and chilled out for a while. As Sasaki is about to ask where in the supermarket she works, he's caught off guard by how close she is to him. The stranger laughs and teases Sasaki about his routine of going to specifically Yamada's counter when there are other ones he could go to and questions his intentions. Sasaski quickly defends his actions as harmless, with no ill-intentions. Then, after a brief pause, the stranger tells Sasaki that she was concerned about another guy giving Yamada the creeps, but tells him to be on his best behavior when he's around Yamada.



Once they're done with their smoke, Sasaki goes back into the supermarket and couldn't stop thinking about the interaction he had with the stranger in the back when Yamada brings him back to reality by calling out his name. Surprised by this, he asks, How does she know his name? Yamada replies that his name is on his point card, but that Tamaya told her everything about how much of a fan Sasaki is. Embarrassed by this, he quickly leaves, swearing to find Tamaya again to give her a piece of his mind. But as he walks into the night for the next work day, We see the perspective shift back over to Yamada, who scoffs at the whole interaction, and it's revealed that Yamada and Tamaya are actually the same person.



Each chapter follows a simple routine; we start off with a quick glimpse of Sasaki's work life that gets him down in the dumps. Then, it transitions to Sasaki and Tamaya hanging out behind the supermarket on a smoke break. From here, we get to see the occasional banter and teasing between our two main characters. But each interaction leads them to learn more about each other or improve on something that they otherwise weren't aware of before. Once that's done, it's on to the next work day before the cycle repeats again.



While the set-up for each chapter is simplistic in nature, the atmosphere and execution that's presented here ooze charm and a sense of relatability from both of our characters. On top of the character growth and humorous moments that's seen here, this is what really got me invested in these two, and it's the type of investment that makes you want to check back every time a new chapter comes out to see what sort of hijinx these two get up to and how both of them grow as a person.



For example, in chapter three, we start off with a scene of Sasaski getting grilled by his boss for his "lack of communication" with clients in front of his coworkers. Feeling disheartened by the encounter, he goes to the supermarket with a gloomy mood and pushes off Yamada's usual customer service, when otherwise he would have immediately brightened up. Noticing this, Yamada catches him in the back as Tamaya is in a rush, but instead of the usual teasing or banter,. We get to see a different side of Tamaya, where she sincerely checks in on Sasaki to make sure everything is okay. But to remind him that his actions have an impact on others, she tells him that his mood was bugging Yamada and got all concerned. Noticing this, Sasaki reflects on his actions and thanks Tamaya for pointing it out. Then the chapter ends with him noticing Tamaya's hair is down when it's usually pinned up and playfully jokes if Tamaya was rushing to see him before Tamaya turns off that suggestion and goes back to throwing some playful banter at him.




For some, this style of storytelling might be off-putting, as each chapter takes place in the same location and some of the interactions can feel a bit plain. But for me personally? I think this works in favor as it perfectly captures that rinse and repeat cycle most working individuals experience, giving this manga a solid base for whatever Sasaki and Yamada/Tamaya get up to.


 

Final Thoughts


Smoking Behind the Supermarket With You seriously excels in its atmosphere and relatability. While its execution is simple, Sasaki and Yamada/Tamaya's presentation really resonates with those frustrated with work wanting to find that "third" place to vent and decompress. The dynamic between Sasaki and Yamada/Tayama was really pleasant to watch, and it's fun seeing them banter with each other but show up for each other in times of need. I'm a bit biased as i've been following this series since its Twitter comic debut, but Square Enix Manga & Books really knocked this out of the park, and I HIGHLY recommend you add this one to your collection.


Final Verdict: Buy it


Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You Volume 1 from Square Enix Manga & Books is now available at all retailers.



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