Series: Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You
Story & Art by: Jinushi
Translator: Amanda Haley
Letter: Kyla Aiko
Cover Designer: Ti Collier
Editor: Jennifer Sherman
Publisher: Square Enix (JP & NA)

For some people daily life is hard, and sometimes they just need to find that little ray of sunshine in their day just to get by. Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You depicts that exact struggle with Sasaki, an over-worked and over-tired middle-aged salaryman, that finds his little daily dose of sunshine in the form of Yamada, a bright and cheerful cashier, at his local supermarket. After every stressful day at his demanding office job, Sasaki loves to stop by the supermarket, grab a few snacks, and see his dear Yamada. It’s not so much that he is romantically interested in Yamada, although he does find her very beautiful, it’s that brightness she gives off is incredibly precious to him.

It just so happens that after a late night of brutal overtime work, Sasaki stops by the supermarket only to find Yamada had just gotten off work and left. Just as Sasaki is about to leave, he stop to light his cigarette only to be greeted by Tayama, one of Yamada “co-workers” and ushered to smoke behind the supermarket with her.

Little does Sasaki know that bright and cheerful demeanor Yamada radiates is nothing more than a carefully honed mask she puts on, just to cope with the less than desirable aspects of customer service she deals with on a daily basis. Inside she is a fairly jaded college-aged woman that is not overly fond of random strangers, but loves to tease and poke fun at her friends. Conveniently, because Yamada doesn’t have her typical radiating energy, Sasaki is completely oblivious that his angel of positivity is actually right in front of him, work-weary and dressed out of her work uniform. Sensing that he is completely oblivious to who she actually is, and also quickly catching on that it’s because she’s not the beacon of sunshine she usually is, she decides to have a little fun with Sasaki and introduces herself as Tayama. This late-night encounter starts off the budding friendship between the two.

Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You continues building this friendship through a series of fairly quickly paced but highly entertaining, charming and comedic “slice-of-life” interactions between the two. The way the series is structured is that each chapter has maybe 6-7 pages per, covering one specific interaction between the pair, and the volume having a total of 19 chapters in it’s first volume alone. This might seem out of the ordinary for a lot of manga these days, but given Smoking Behind the Supermarket With You originally started as a self-published series on Twitter, it begins to make more sense. As I continued to read through the first volume, one thing I began to notice is that these snapshots in time of their interactions with each other essentially last only as long as it takes to finish their cigarettes. Sometimes maybe a little more, but never less.

When reading the series, the one aspect that stood out most to me was without a doubt the budding dynamic between Sasaki and Tayama. Initially Sasaki comes across as this introverted man exhausted with life, but as time goes on – and thanks to constant teasing from Tayama – Tayama slowly begins to get Sasaki to be much more comfortable around her to the point their usual discussions expressing their frustrations with their work begin to take a more personal tone. This results in one of my absolute favorite chapters I’ve recently read, complete with an absolute standout panel in the series so far. Now, I would love to show it, but this is absolutely a sequence you need to experience for yourselves.

At the end of a long day work day, Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You offers a sarcastically comical yet realistic look at the struggles many adults go through in their work and personal lives, one smoke break at a time!

If Smoking Behind The Supermarket With You sounds like a series you’d be interested in, you can purchase Volume 1 in stores now!

Also, if you’d like to check out past reviews of manga I have covered, as well as manga related news, feel free to click here!

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