Summer is here and Udon Entertainment, a manga and comic publishing studio in Canada, has produced volume one of Summer Time Rendering by Yasuki Tanaka. If you live here in the U.S., then it’s great news!
For those unfamiliar with the story of Summertime Rendering, read on and learn the premise.
Warning: spoilers for the first few chapters of Summer Time Rendering below!
Summer Time Rendering Isn’t As Sweet As It Sounds
Shinpei Ajiro grew up with the Kofune sisters Ushio and Mio and their dad Alain on the island of Hitogashima after his parents both had died when he was younger. He eventually leaves his home town to live in Tokyo. After two years, the news of the untimely passing of Ushio brings him back to his hometown island but things take an odd turn. At her wake, people were whispering among themselves and he overheard something about her autopsy.
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Shinpei’s childhood friend Sou comes tearfully apologizing profusely to Shinpei because he knew how close the two were. He was also blaming himself because he was there when it happened and couldn’t do anything about it. Sou told him that she had drowned saving a little girl who was also in attendance at the funeral. She had apparently become mute after the incident. As Sou was talking to Shinpei, Masahito Karakiri, who is the caretaker of the island’s religious services, was telling everyone it was time for the procession to begin.
Sou told Shinpei they’d talk later that night and when that happened, he told Shinpei that there were marks on Ushio’s neck. Shinpei was horrified at the thought that Ushio may have been murdered. And things only get more mysterious from there in Summer Time Rendering.
Sou’s father was the doctor that everyone was talking about that did her autopsy but Sou was quick to let Shinpei know that there never even was an autopsy. Only him, his father, the cop (the only cop on the island, at that), Mio, Alain, and now Shinpei were the only ones that knew about it. Sou said that the police deemed it impossible for it to be a murder and seemingly called it an accident. The shot changes to a girl who looks exactly like Mio standing outside her own house in a school uniform, even though we know the actual Mio is inside the house.
The next day, we find out that the Kobayakawa family had disappeared (the family of the little girl who went mute after allegedly being saved by Ushio). The story quickly escalates into something supernatural as there is a myth about a disease called the Shadow Sickness that an older man tells Shinpei and Mio after Mio says she’s seen Ushio right before her eyes even though they just had a funeral for her.
Shinpei thought it wasn’t possible until he saw Ushio himself, begging him to find her and to protect her sister Mio. Flabbergasted at this new development, he begins figuring out patterns of mysterious deaths around him as supernatural entities roam about. The mystery behind Ushio’s “death” becomes even more important now: how is it possible that he and everyone else can see her, but they just put her to rest? Even this “apparition” of Ushio doesn’t remember how she died or what led to it. And so begins Summer Time Rendering!
As we read along with Summer Time Rendering, we see more catastrophic events and meet other important characters. We realize that there is a bigger picture here that needs to be addressed, because if nothing is done, the whole island will be consumed…with the rest of the world presumably not far behind. I will say that I was NOT expecting the plot to go where it went; I literally did a double-take. It was giving me Groundhogs Day mixed with Erased, mixed with Anohana, mixed with 20th Century Boys.
I understand that these comparisons might be very confusing to whoever hasn’t read Summer Time Rendering yet but if you have, you’ll know exactly what and who I’m referring to. The story took a very gory turn that I wasn’t expecting – from the way the title of this manga sounds, I was totally expecting a summer time romance type of feel. Not to say that that’s inaccurate, but the fact that it turned out to be a supernatural thriller/mystery is so cool to me (even though I don’t have the stomach for gore…but somehow it’s easier to swallow when it’s in manga form).
Yasuki Tanaka really came through with Summer Time Rendering, as the details in the plot were meticulously done and his artwork is beautiful. Some of his other works include Baku, a one-shot that he was given an Honorable Mention for at the 39th Tenkaichi Manga Awards in 2002. Various other one-shots were published in subsequent years in magazines including: DEAD/UNDEAD, Katobure Pass of Hitomi. He had a few short-term series as well such as Key Man Kagijin, Medabots 7, and Gaist Crusher.
Summer Time Rendering was serialized by Shonen Jump+, a digital magazine by Shueisha, from October 2017 to February 2021. OLM studio produced an anime TV series adaptation of Summer Time Rendering in April of this year but it is unfortunately only available internationally. When I was trying to find it, my search showed me that Disney+ was streaming it. I was a little dumbfounded at this information and quickly checked my app, but only to find that it’s only available in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore as of June 1st. I’m REALLY hoping it’s released in the west soon because this is the type of anime that would be really visually fascinating due to the nature of the story.
I may have to watch behind my fingers, but the one advantage I have is that I know what’s coming since I’ve already read volume 1! Yay for manga! Super stoked to see where this story goes and how Shinpei saves his loved ones. He also gives me Eren Yeagar vibes because of his cute little ponytail (don’t judge me! Call me a Yeagerist if you want!) so I’m double excited!
Who doesn’t love a good supernatural thriller mystery? It’s not all the time you see a time loop story done this way. Usually you can get caught up in the confusion of time loops and what not, but I’m hoping that I can stay this attentive with more volumes of Summer Time Rendering to come, and eventually the anime adaptation.
Are you excited for Summer Time Rendering? Let us know in the comments and on Twitter.
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