Manga lovers everywhere know the bittersweet pain of following a fantastic manga that’s ongoing. Sometimes it’s better to wait… and sometimes it’s better to go along for the ride. So, is The Summer Hikaru Died worth following?

This horror manga follows Yoshiki and Hikaru, two boys who live in a rural village, enshadowed by a mountain no one is allowed on. One year ago, Hikaru vanished onto that mountain. What returned is mysterious entity who’s occupied Hikaru’s body, possessing all his memories, and all his love, for Yoshiki.

Yoshiki knows that his best friend Hikaru is dead. He’s known from the very start. And though he’s certain the impostor is dangerous… he’s set on being beside him. Even as their small town slowly descends into madness and people start to die. It’s the classic case of “I can change him”.

The Summer Hikaru Died is ultimately the complicated romance between two high schoolers(/a terrifying, formless entity) that is codependent, touching, and likely doomed. But unlike The Night Beyond The Tricornered Window, Yoshiki and Hikaru’s relationship is gripping and genuine.

The art style and atmosphere are also on point. The omnipresent serenade of cicadas and frogs. The dramatic angles and shadowing. Even mundane scenes can seem ominous and full of meaning. But it truly shines in its surreal and horrific moments.

Hikaru's true self. He shows his swirly bits in the first chapter, don't worry.
This is what love looks like, probably.

In terms of plot, the first few chapters have provided a great foundation for Yoshiki and Hikaru’s relationship, their friend group, and the town… and not much else. But it’s still meaty enough to feel satisfying. I’m not clinging to the edge of my seat, desperately refreshing, but I’ll definitely be checking out the subreddit every other week to see if the next chapter has been translated.

So, is The Summer Hikaru Died worth following? I’d say so, if you enjoy casual spooky romances with monsters and the boys who love them.

Released in August 2021, there are currently nine chapters translated and freely available. New chapters are released monthly but translations may take longer.