As two people mature and enter adulthood, their young relationships never quite remain the same. Even though it seems like the world is crumbling when it happens, falling apart is a normal part of life. This idea is presented in a much more perverse way in the acclaimed manga The Summer Hikaru Died, which shows what transpires when the person who is drifting away has actually changed into someone or something else.
Following Yoshiki and Hikaru, childhood friends who have been inseparable for the majority of their lives in a small village and also the only teenagers in the area, the pair are accustomed to only having each other to rely on. One fateful summer, the dynamic between the close friends starts to change, and Yoshiki starts to notice changes in Hikaru. He soon finds out that an extraterrestrial terror has taken control of Hikaru's body and has developed feelings for him.
Horror Is Found In Tragedy In The Summer Hikaru Died
Aside from its masterfully crafted body horror, part of what makes The Summer Hikaru Died terrifying is how far the series goes to show Yoshiki's grief over his friend's death. While the "new" Hikaru has kept all of his original memories, the person Yoshiki spent his childhood with is no longer with him, and he will never have the opportunity to say goodbye. This lack of closure, as well as the mystery surrounding why the creature inside Hikaru's body is so obsessed with Yoshiki, propels the manga far beyond a simple gore fest, instead delving into the psychological toll this scenario takes on its main character.
Readers are given a candid, introspective glimpse into Yoshiki's mind as he negotiates a very natural and expected fear for this monstrous Hikaru while clinging desperately to the hope that maybe, just maybe, he can act like everything is fine and keep the one person who matters to him the most. The Summer Hikaru Died is a truly horrifying experience because of this psychological dissonance.
Superior Horror Manga Experience
While the fear connected to loss and tragedy is one of The Summer Hikaru Died's recurrent themes, the writing shouldn't overshadow the mangaka Mokumokuren's exquisite artwork. Mokumokuren, an illustrator who declares himself a fan of psychological seinen horror manga like Tokyo Ghoul, uses his artwork to emphasize the otherworldly terror and beauty that permeate the entire narrative.
Even though there have only been twelve chapters of The Summer Hikaru Died released across two volumes, the series has already made a significant impact on the manga industry as a whole. The series has received nothing but positive reviews from critics, placing first in Takarajimasha's Kono Manga ga Sugoi! list of the best manga for male readers and taking 11th place in the web manga category during the 2022 Next Manga Award ranking, besting other highly regarded works like Goodbye Eri by Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto.
The Summer Hikaru Died is published in English by Yen Press.