REVIEW: ‘Captivated, by You,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Captivated By You

Captivated, By You is a  one-volume seinen manga that collects a series of stories for those who love slice-of-life and school life genres. Written and illustrated by Yama Wayama, the creative team responsible for bringing this volume to print includes translation by Leighann Harvey and lettering by Abigail Blackman. Yama Wayama is an up-and-coming artist among fans of literary and indie manga, and thankfully, Yen Press has picked up the job of handling her English-language debut. Back matter pages reveal that this book is a collection of the artist’s self-published doujinshi, online stories, and newly drawn pieces of work.

This manga follows two students who are polar opposites: Hayashi—the free spirit and oddball that everyone seems to be drawn to. His greatest hits include: counting all stairs in school, photographing street signs to make new messages to post on social media, and he even dries sweet potatoes on the classroom balcony. Nikaidou is the dreary one most people try to avoid, like the plague, whose greatest hits include: students being afraid to make eye contact, having rumors spread about him that he curses you to have bad luck or accidents, and spooky happenings.  Both are unusual in such a way that they find themselves with a fanbase, and these wondrous stories contain several encounters that I could not put down.

The mangaka’s unique sense of humor works so well with her artwork: there are a wide range of emotions on display throughout the manga. Facial expressions vary, from being embarrassed to being irritated to being happy about brown sugar soft serve ice cream to the anxiousness of seeing a bully to the extreme of seeing a ghost in a photograph. They all make an appearance in the narrative. I really enjoyed how odd and thought-provoking each new story was and what they brought to the table with our two center stage actors in this tale: Hayashi and Nikaidou. There is some narrative thread about hiding parts of ourselves and how we present ourselves to others which should catch some eyeballs as readers learn more about these two. The more I read about them, the more complicated and complex they became, and the people who played minor parts in their stories endeared me to them more.

One of my favorite moments was when our Debbie Downer of a character, Nikaidou, remembered that a nosy classmate told him that he looked like a character from a manga of a certain master of horror. When by chance, he looks up said mangaka’s work online, we, the readers, are blessed with a hilarious but on-point reference in Easter egg glory that will grab your attention whether you get the reference or not. Proving that there is magic in the ordinary, Wayama’s strength as a storyteller really shines here. I was truly captivated by these intertwining stories that engaged me as a reader and keep me laughing with such wholesome and weird vibes. While both Hayashi and Nikaidou received about equal pages to shine in the short stories, I felt that the second major player’s memorable final pages made him come out stronger, which may be something for readers to nitpick as some may feel the stories may come off as disjointed.

For those looking for a slow-paced flow of stories that lean on the charming side, be sure to check out Captivated, By You. Fans of more fast-paced, action, or fantasy genre manga may not care much for Yama Wayama’s work here as the stories can read as random or a little on the too weird side. But for those who enjoy reading the slice-of-life and school life genres, are looking to read a newer voice in the manga industry, or want to try a single volume to enjoy that won’t overwhelm you into a forty-five volume plus adventure, this may be your best bet.

Captivated, By You is available now wherever books are sold.

Captivated, By You
4.5

TL;DR

For those looking for a slow-paced flow of stories that lean on the charming side, be sure to check out Captivated, By You. Fans of more fast-paced, action, or fantasy genre manga may not care much for Yama Wayama’s work here as the stories can read as random or a little on the too weird side. But for those who enjoy reading the slice-of-life and school life genres, are looking to read a newer voice in the manga industry, or want to try a single volume to enjoy that won’t overwhelm you into a forty-five volume plus adventure, this may be your best bet.