REVIEW: ‘The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes is a series by Sorato Shunsuke that is being published by Denpa. The Girl with the Sanpake Eyes started as a Twitter and Pixiv comic. Online, it received a lot of attention, which led to its serialization and eventual localization. Currently, this is Sorato’s first localized work. David Goldberg is serving as the series’ translator with proofreading by Patrick Sutton. Additionally, the digital edition was handled by Taneli Vatanen, with production being handled by Glen Isip and Nicole Dochych.  While a smaller, boutique publisher, Denpa has made a strong impact on the market, most notably with its large-sized editions of Gambling Apocalypse Kaiji, a cult classic among many global manga fans.

The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 follows Amane Mizuno, our titular girl with the sanpaku eyes. Just in case you don’t know, sanpaku eyes refer to eyes that have the sclera -or whites- revealed above or below the iris. Notable bearers include former American President John F. Kennedy.  Many people think that sanpaku eyes are a mark of tragedy soon to come. This is fitting for Amane who’s fierce eyes cover up her quite pure heart and sweet attitude. They keep people at a distance, including her crush Katou, a boy with the exact opposite attitude and personality. However, will Amane tell him how she feels?!

That’s pretty much the gist of The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1, which is a “cute girl meets cute boy” kind of series that honestly, is really charming. Told in bite-sized vignettes, readers get to see Amane rise to the occasion and maybe talk to Katou… if she can muster up the courage.  And honestly, that’s half of the enjoyment of Sanpaku Eyes Vol. 1.

Truth be told, Sorato Shunsuke isn’t bending any genre tropes. Sanpaku Eyes Vol. 1 also isn’t upending it, nor subverting things. In fact, Sanpaku Eyes Vol. 1 leans into tropes of the genre, especially when it comes to the “will they, won’t they?” aspects of Amane and Katou’s budding relationship. 

However, there’s a lot of heart and solid execution on the part of Sorato Shunsuke, as well as the localization team. Sorato’s art is lovely, the translation is solid, and the sfx looks great. All of those elements combine together to make an incredibly readable first volume that’s so cute!

In the end, The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 is a solid first volume that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s cute, it’s sweet, it’s heartfelt, and it’s earnest in its execution. That’s Sanpaku Eyes Vol. 1 great. Readers know they’re in for a sweet story about two kids falling for each other. In the end, the story is ultimately very straightforward. Even still, I found it hard to put down my copy. It’s just that charming!

Fans of Komi Can’t Communicate will feel right at home with Amane. I also think there’s some crossover appeal for fans of Please Tell Me! Galko-chan. Even if you’ve never engaged with either of those works, there’s definitely something here for every kind of fan, especially those who really vibe with the shoujo genre in general.

The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1 is available now wherever books are sold.

The Girl with the Sanpaku Eyes Volume 1
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TL;DR

Fans of Komi Can’t Communicate will feel right at home with Amane. I also think there’s some crossover appeal for fans of Please Tell Me! Galko-chan. Even if you’ve never engaged with either of those works, there’s definitely something here for every kind of fan, especially those who really vibe with the shoujo genre in general.