Title: Kubo Won't Let Me Be Invisible Vol. 1
Author: Nene Yukimori
Release Date: May 3, 2022
Publisher: VIZ Media
Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible Vol. 1 is a comedy manga about a young man people don’t notice. However, his classmate Kubo detects his presence somehow every time. As far as the first volume is concerned, this seems to be the start of many shenanigans.
In real life, there are bland people with little presence. Shiraishi is one such unremarkable person, but his case is uncanny. The manga decides to go over the top and make him practically invisible. People may not see him despite him being right by their sides, and they may even sit on him thinking the spot is empty.
His “ability” leads to many undesirable situations, putting him in a tough spot. Teachers will miss him during roll calls, and it’s more difficult for him to interact with others. The volume shows various troubles he gets into because of it.
However, a classmate called Kubo is constantly interacting with him. Kubo’s a cute and playful girl who seems interested in understanding the limits of his skill. But maybe this attraction goes beyond curiosity, and a relationship could bloom between those two.
On the volume, it’s easy to see how her trickster side makes her prone to break his shell. Thanks to this friend, Shiraishi gets to have his first experience in things he’d otherwise never enjoy. The protagonist doesn’t want to be invisible, and continuing that way would make his youth feel lacking.
Each chapter of Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible feels short, with a quick pace focused on running the gags. Even so, there’s a good amount of character development here and there. Each chapter’s ending is especially good at hinting at how Kubo and Shiraishi feel.
While there are side characters, and some of them, like Kubo’s sister, get a prominent role, the story centers itself on the two protagonists. As a result, it’s like the world only has those two; the manga is their playground where they enjoy their precious but short time together.
Visually, the art style also goes for a simplified look. Many panels deform the characters’ faces, simplifying their features while giving them a very expressive look. This is especially true for Shiraishi, whose simple face features don’t change even when everything else is more detailed.
The entire volume also has various additional extra stories (omake). One of those has more pages than any of the main story chapters, exploring a Christmas Kubo and Shiraishi spend together. Curiously, I’d say all the omake feel just as full-fledged as the actual chapters. Missing that content would be a shame, as these chapters are some of the best in the whole book, and it’d be good to see more in the next volumes.
Kubo Won’t Let Me Be Invisible Vol. 1 is an enjoyable comedy with romantic undertones. While it may be a little by the books, both Kubo and Shiraishi are relatable teenagers who are cute and charismatic. I’m looking forward to their development as friends whose presence significantly impacts the other and as a potential couple.
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