REVIEW: ‘Inside Mari’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Inside Mari Volume 1

Inside Mari Volume 1 is a mystery drama manga created by Oshimi Shuzo and published by American manga publisher Denpa. Oshimi has had previous works published in English, including the Flowers of Evil and Happiness. Oftentimes, his work mixes modern fantasy with the difficulties of being a teenager. The same could be said of Inside Mari Vol. 1.

Inside Mari Vol. 1 follows Komori Isao, a college drop out and shut-in with no social life who spends most of his day playing video games. Though he keeps inside, he’s also in love with a high school girl that he often sees when he goes to the convenience store. However, because he’s too shy to talk to her, he often watches her from afar. Yet one day, Isao suddenly finds that he’s switched bodies with Yoshizaki Mari, the object of his affections.

Translation for Inside Mari Volume 1 was handled by Sheldon Drzka, with proofreading by Ed Chavez and Emily Martha Sorensen. Production was handled by Nicol Dochych. Finally, Tanelia Vatanen handled the digital work for this volume. Additionally, while Inside Mari is available via Crunchyroll, this volume received new edits and proofreading prior to publication. That all being said, let’s dive into Inside Mari Volume 1 and see what the story has to offer.

Inside Mari Volume 1 starts off in media res with Komori Isao having switched into Mari’s body. Why this happened isn’t explained. Instead, a few pages later, the story bounces back to Isao as he usually is: a  college-aged man who spends most of his time in a junk-filled apartment playing video games. Isao is a deeply disillusioned individual who dropped out after life in the big city let him down.

Rather than continuing college, Isao dropped out, and three years later, stays inside… until it’s time to head to the convenience store. It’s there that he encounters Yoshizaki Mari, a high school girl who buys chocolate and a drink daily around nine at night. Soon after, in a scene that’s pointedly discomforting, Isao follows Mari on her path back home… only to wake up in her body.

What ensues is a series of painful trials and tribulations as Isao -in Mari’s body- tries to blend in. Of course, that’s impossible: they’re two very different people. Plus, Isao has never actually even talked to Mari. Naturally, this leads to Isao risking being discovered, which means nothing but trouble.

This is a deeply discomforting story that’s very well-written. It explores what probably would happen if people switched bodies. That is to say, it explores the horror of body-swapping, and how distressing it would be if you woke up in a body that doesn’t align with who you are. Inside Mari Vol. 1 is a twisty first, setting up a curious story about bodies and literal out of body experiences.

That being said, this is not a manga for everyone and comes with some caveats. Readers who have experienced stalking or live with body dysmorphia may not find this an easy read. Additionally, readers who live with and experience dissociation may find this story discomforting as well. That’s really important to consider before picking up a volume of this series. 

In the end, Inside Mari Volume 1 is a really strong first volume in a series that’s haunting, discomforting, and curious all the same. I have no clue where this story will go, though I’m eager to pick up volume 2 and get current with the series. Isao and Mari’s body switch, as well as the mystery of why it happened, is an intriguing hook that will keep fans of mystery and drama eagerly waiting to see how things unfold.

Inside Mari Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.

 


Inside Mari Volume 1
4.5

TL;DR

In the end, Inside Mari Volume 1 is a really strong first volume in a series that’s haunting, discomforting, and curious all the same. I have no clue where this story will go, though I’m eager to pick up volume 2 and get current with the series. Isao and Mari’s body switch, as well as the mystery of why it happened, is an intriguing hook that will keep fans of mystery and drama eagerly waiting to see how things unfold.