Otaku USA Magazine
Nameless Asterism Volume 1 [Review]

Shiratori wants everything between herself and her best friends Washio and Kotooka to stay the same forever. But nothing stays the same. Since the first day of school, the three friends have been inseparable. But Shiratori harbors a secret crush on Washio. She was happy to keep her feelings to herself—until she discovers Washio is in love with Kotooka. Now Shiratori finds herself helping Washio keep her infatuation secret while struggling with her own feelings alone. Together the three girls navigate junior high, romance, and growing up.

Nameless Asterism deals with love, sexuality, maturity, friendship, and the inevitability of change. Just about everyone has asked themselves the same questions Shiratori wrestles with: What do I want? Who do I want to be with? Am I normal? There won’t be any easy answers for Shiratori, and the complications just keep coming when Asakura, a boy from her brother’s school, asks her out. Shiratori’s not sure what to say or do or if she wants to go out with him in the first place. Washio and Kotooka take it upon themselves to find out everything they can about Asakura and push Shiratori to accept his offer. But after an awkward group hang, Shiratori runs into Washio and finds herself driven to distraction.

Volume 1 of Nameless Asterism is a promising start to what could be a great series rife with emotional drama. The character designs are adorable and the characters are easy to tell apart. The backgrounds are serviceable. They’re not the most detailed, but at least the characters are firmly in a setting. The cute art works well with the story, though it leans a little toward the moe side of things. Shiratori’s twin brother Subaru is a cross-dresser who likes to crossplay his favorite characters and wear cute dresses. Only future volumes will tell if his character will be developed more deeply—perhaps Subaru is a transwoman—or if the cross-dressing will be played for laughs and fanservice as usual. Overall, Kobayashi makes the plot and situations feel organic. The drama arises naturally and nothing feels forced. The book hits all the right notes for a coming-of-age yuri manga and sets up no end of potential storylines. Recommended.

publisher: Seven Seas Entertainment
story and art: Kina Kobayashi
rating: T

This story appears in the June 2018 issue of Otaku USA Magazine. Click here to get a print copy.