Manga Review: Summer Time Rendering Volumes 1 and 2

Shinpei Ajiro hasn’t been back home to the remote island of Hitogashima since he went to Tokyo for culinary school and now he’s home for the worst of reasons, the death of his childhood friend and adoptive sister Ushio Kofune. But as soon as he gets within sight of the island strange things start happening, like a vivid dream of Ushio telling Shinpei to “find her” and save their sister Mio, rumors about the true cause of Ushio’s death, and other islanders acting strangely, or not being around to act at all. Mysteries and death are swirling in the shadows around Shinpei, something is coming that he desperately needs to prevent and it seems like the universe won’t let him die until he does.

When I finished the first omnibus volume of Summertime Rendering my first thought was “oh boy, it’s going to be a pain to remember all the characters huh?” Fortunately, as of the second omnibus volume, the cast isn’t as large as I feared it might be but there is still quite a bit to remember. You do need to remember the individual characters, which ones have been copied by shadows, and keep in mind Shinpei’s previous timeloop activities since it seems like some of his activities exist simultaneously with the current loop (it’s possible that Yasuki Tanaka got sloppy with the writing and didn’t mean to give that impression but there’s at least one instance so far of a character commenting on an action that Shinpei didn’t take until a later timeloop, something he realized when he actually did it). And the line between all of these details can get blurry at times, as clearly something is up with Shinpei given his timelooping ability (the story is also giving mixed signals as to or not he’s a shadow himself) and some of the shadows definitely behave differently than others, although none of them seem to be the strict copies of the originals that they claim to be.

Summertime Rendering volume two cover

But keeping track of all of this should be an old hat for folklore horror fans, “strange entities mix into the populace of an isolated town” is its own subgenre after all, and by the end of these first two volumes Shinpei (and the reader ) have learned the tricks to identify shadows versus regular humans at least. I do think that binge-reading helps with all of this however, versus reading week to week, although I did not read this series when it was being simulpubbed so I can only speculate on how these reading circumstances would have differed. As it stands, with the first three (hardcover) omnibuses being released at once, having half the series available to read at your leisure will certainly keep you busy for a while, and the fast paced nature of the plot also invites readers to read a lot in one go (as long as some gore and awkwardly included fanservice don’t bother you).

There a few quirks to Udon’s edition of Summertime Rendering however; I can’t speak to the hardback version but the paper in the paperback is thin enough that outlines from the other side of the page bleed through (even Tokyopop’s recent releases, which also have a bleed through issue, seem to use thicker paper) and There were a few instances where the print itself seemed a bit blurry or muddy, although this occurred in chapters that are no longer on Manga+ so I wasn’t able to compare and see if this was an intended intrinsic effect to the work itself. Udon’s edition is definitely different from the Manga+ release, I’m not sure what font Udon used for flashbacks and thought bubbles but it looked odd enough to throw me out of reading early on, although with all things I was able to get used to these issues the longer I read.

For folks who want a read that they can’t put down late into the night, this physical-only release is just the ticket. At this point no one can say when the anime adaptation will have a legal release in English but if you want to know the twists and truths before your friends do this is the way to go!

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