Have you ever seen the cover of a manga and instantly decided that you were going to love that manga? It happens to me all the time. Just goes to show you that you shouldn’t skimp out on cover design expenses.
I don’t bring this up randomly. It did happen to me with Nightfall Travelers. I think it’s specifically the pink and purple colours of the dusk scene. They looked so soothing to me. I’m not always right when I get smitten by a manga like that but I do always look forward to it.
Why I Picked up Nightfall Travelers
I have to rethink my format. I keep giving away my reasons for picking up a book in the opening paragraph.
Two girls explore their haunted hometown in this beautifully illustrated manga.
High schooler Ninamori Akane is assigned by the newspaper club to report on local places that are rumored to be haunted. She asks the new transfer student, Amemura Fujino, to join her, and together they discover the simple truths behind the spooky stories. Their friendship grows as they explore their town of labyrinthine paths and endless stairways.
My First Impression
Oh wow, this art….
What I liked
I looked up Tomohi after finishing the first volume. Turns out she’s been working mostly as an illustrator (a lot of VN illustrations for the Higurashi franchise). This is her first time as an author. You can see it by how great the art is. In the first volume, there are a total of 12 coloured pages. That’s pretty luxurious and every one of them is taken full advantage of.
Also, I’m not sure if it’s a filter or if the original art is this way, but everything looks painted. Like an oil painting maybe. It’s a fairly unique look for a manga and brings a lot of depth to the images. I have to wonder if they’ll actually preserve the art style should Nightfall Travellers ever get adapted to anime. It seems like it would be a lot of work. I think it would be worth it though.
The story itself is rather sweet. Akane gets roped into investigating urban legends and supposedly haunted spots around town for the school newspaper. She is a friendly bubbly girl but a bit of a scardy cat. Out of desperation, she begs the new transfer student to accompany her even though they have never spoken before and the two end up hitting it off.
From there a story of urban exploration, forgotten places and friendship grows. It’s on the warm and fuzzy side so far. There are some Yuri undertones. Akane mentions a few times how beautiful Amemura s without any particular provocation. Amemura also seems quite concerned for Akane’s happiness and safety. The latter is rather justified.
It’s a generally cute story with really beautiful art so why wouldn’t you pick it up?
I’m not sure I could reproach anything to the first volume really. I guess not much happens or to be more accurate, a lot happens but it’s a bit repetitive. The girls hear a rumour about some supernatural event. They go in to investigate. It turns out to be something very obvious and mundane, rinse repeat. Some of the explanations seem rather unlikely, as in someone should have debunked them by now because of how obvious they are. But it does a great job showing how these types of rumours can spread.
There are one-page mini intermediate chapters after each adventure (all adventures last one chapter and are roughly the same length which makes sense since they go investigate on school nights). These mini-chapters tell us what Akane does in the evening after coming back from an investigation. I really liked them myself but I can see how someone might consider them filler or repetitive. Or both!
As I mentioned, all the rumours have to be investigated and resolved within a handful of pages or a few hours in-universe. This means there’s never much challenge to figuring out what’s really happening. It’s more a relaxing travel and friendship manga than a mystery investigation manga. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you were expecting or hoping for the latter, you could be disappointed.
Nightfall Travellers is a potentially Yuri cute girl manga that is worth your time if you like the genre. I have no idea what the odds of adaptation are but I think it would be a huge success as an anime. I would watch it for sure! It has some Yuru Camp vibes at times. In the meantime, I will get more volumes.