Welcome back to Romance Roundtable: a feature where the editorial POME Crones gather together to discuss Romance Manga. Today we’re covering volume 1 of Restart After Coming Back Home by Cocomi. This is such a sweet story about reevaluating your priorities and learning to be vulnerable. But also it’s got jokes! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll absolutely SHRIEK!! Let’s get into it!
Rachel: i’m so glad we read this one!!
it’s so sweet
Jenny: same!! it’s so cute!!
CC: so scenic and gentle and also
kissing on a train!!!
who doesn’t love to see it
love that for anyone who can have it
transit and true love at the same time
Jenny: i feel like there are some of these where i don’t take a lot of screenshots for whatever reason (really sucked into the story, or not feeling it at all — usually one or the other), but this one was SO SWEET and i was just screenshotting like every page
but do we want to summarize?
after getting fired from his job in tokyo, 25 year old Mitsuomi moves back home and strikes up a friendship / falls in love with Yamato and they just vibe for like 175 scenic pages
Jenny: it’s called Restart After Coming Home, and that’s pretty much it. guy goes back to his hometown after blowing it at his fancy city job and has to figure out what he wants to do with his life
it’s very Big City Girl, Small Town Christmas https://pome-mag.com/holiday-double-features-rapid-fire/
Ashley: hahaha yes, i think at least 3 stories revolve around holiday even
and rachel fully called it with the ☀️ / 🌙 ship dynamic
Rachel: my favorite ship dynamic!!
it’s also very 🐶 / 🐱
CC: oh yeah so true so true great call rachel
i love it too!
Jenny: it’s also got a solid collection of classique tropes!! ^^above grumpy/sunshine but also (a personal fave) THERE WAS ONLY ONE BED
Rachel: i imagine we all screamed
Jenny: THIS BOOK WAS FULL OF SCREAMS!!! (in a fun way)
CC: I shouted “ONLY ONE BED” out loud L O L
OOBOL (only one bed out loud)
Ashley: i screenshotted that too, of course, titled “AWYEAH.jpg”
like i was never much of an “only one bed” person but because of y’all i’m rooting for OOB
Jenny: forced proximity! leads to the confession! a proven formula that works!
CC: i personally just really appreciate it when the reader, the author, and the characters all know it’s a trope and we’re all just opting into it together
i love when the OOB is just like
~~ only one bed ~~
and then the reader, the author, and the characters all high five
Jenny: honestly that’s what i love about the romance genre!! everyone is just there to have a nice time!
CC: yeah also
falling in love!!!
Ashley: 30 YEAR OLDSSSSS
Rachel: love that we see them go from 25 to 30
and also that at 25, Mitsuomi is fully like
Ashley: HAHAHA i instantly fell in love with the depressed boy
“ah yes, finally the representation i deserve”
Jenny: oh god the intros were SO STRONG for both of them!
CC: lmao “how many times you been fired now”
Jenny: shifting immediately into:
Jenny: as someone who makes my partner warm my cold hands all the time, this was peak relatable
Rachel: hell yeah HELL YEAH
also love that kind of touch that’s like, this isn’t romantic inherently but it COULD BE
Ashley: oh man yeah
i was like, “look at these two dummies, already in love and probably unaware”
Jenny: there was so much of that! they really drew out the pining on both sides and i loved it
CC: i mean like not inherently romantic necessarily but has anyone ever just held another person’s face in their hands, stared into their eyes adoringly and felt nothing but platonic affection
i do not believe it
yeah, readers, if you’re into pining this is the one for you
Rachel: it’s the plausible deniability of it for me!!
this is PROBABLY NOT romantic but
what’s that meme
“i’m not holding your face in a romantic way HAHAHA unless…???”
what if we kissed in your family’s incense shop ??????
Ashley: “it was a mosquito bite”
that thing that famously feels just like your crush’s soft lips
Rachel: these cute DUMMIES
I LOVE THEM
CC: i do love them
my heart feels so soft after reading this book
i do also really quickly want to take a quick detour
to talk about Kurai-jiichan
Rachel: i love this guy
Jenny: he’s an icon
Rachel: LOL YES
CC: sage advice king
Ashley: too bad this came out in 2019 because big crone of the year material
Rachel: YEAH DEFINITELY
CC: i love a stern but fair elder
Ashley: tfw when ur adopted son wants to know about the birds and the bees and ur like, “i’m too old for this shit”
Rachel: so good
Jenny: i do want to reiterate that this is definitely just 175 pages worth of vibes
but also there are some plot things
the grumpy one’s main arc is convincing his dad that he’s serious about taking over the family store; and the sunshine one’s main arc is about learning to open up to people (as lived out through just checking at least once if there’s any info about his birth parents that the orphanage can give him)
CC: also at the beginning, grappling with a parent’s mortality
and throughout, just falling in love!!! learning to be vulnerable!!!
Jenny: yeah for sure — jichan has a fall but he’s OK! nothing can fell our king
Rachel: i love that there are no villains!! these boys are just learning to be more open and caring
Ashley: not to sideline, but mmmmmmmmmmmmmm i’d say this guy is a little bit of a villain
just, like, in a mean way
CC: or at least a romantic rival imo L O L
Ashley: hahaha yeah, i def thought it was a romantic rival moment
but you’re so right jenny
Jenny: planting seeds!!
four-dimensional love chess
Rachel: the best kind!!!
CC: i am convinced he is a romantic rival based on the above but also
CC: would you now
Jenny: yeah that was cute
Rachel: i like that it’s ambiguous but i’m with jenny on this one! i think he’s pointing out the differences to Yamato here, like, hey dummy, see how you treat this person differently than you treat your friend of 10 years???
just your mean friend trying to help you out but in a mean way lol
but idk both readings are very good!!
CC: oh yeah i see that
i do also like to hMMMMM ominously but i think you’re right on that one hehehe
Jenny: a lot of realistic complexity in these characters!
Ashley: i do like that it’s ambiguous BUT ALSO that even tho he dates, no one says anything about girls, and his dad is the most normal about yamato and mitsuomi dating
so like, my headcanon is crush > besties > matchmaker
Rachel: OHHH yes
i love that
Jenny: love that for him
CC: can we talk about the parents’ reaction to these cuties dating real quick? bc I did not expect it and I really love it for them!!!
Ashley: yeah… that’s a very interesting sequence. i didn’t read it as like, “they came around to fully accepting us” but more like, they are slowly and silently working on it
CC: yeah agreed!
not 100% neat and tidy but I appreciated it!
Rachel: i would have liked to see jiichan’s reaction as well!
but since we didn’t see it, i’m assuming it’s positive
based on his comment earlier about “as long as you love someone…” that kind of makes me think he had an idea of what’s going on
probably before these boys themselves do lol
CC: i’m sure he probably figured it out around that point LOL
that’s my headcannon anyway and i’m sticking to it!
Ashley: hahaha. i mean, i strongly lean in favor of “i’m too old for this” also meaning “i’m too old to get weird about who my kid is dating”
Jenny: truly who has the time or the energy
Ashley: as always there may be a cross-cultural element i’m not picking up on, but it seems that grandparent-age people who adopt a teenager are gonna be more on the go with the flow side
CC: he seems like the type to just be happy if yamato is happy
also!! this actually brings me to something i really liked, which was the artist’s note at the end (i always love these)
Ashley: i really enjoyed that they sort of talk about how they wonder if their lives take twists and turns you wouldn’t normally see in a romance
and that you could really see all the “realistic” elements and all the thought she put into these characters as real humans shine through
Jenny: def appreciated the acknowledgment that life is unpredictable!
but also imo read like a teaser for sequels
like (hope this gets picked up! you might get to see them angst some more!!)
and i would LOVE to see it
CC: I would love to see these two in 2, 3, 5, 10 more years
Ashley: seriously, 10 years later? soft husbands in the country town? LET’S GO
CC: I also think this author’s note is a really nice validation for stuff you pick up on throughout! bc I do think these two actively push to grow and improve based on their relationship with each other
yamato opening up, mitsuomi restraining some of his curmedgeonliness
Ashley: yes!! but like… in a very grounded way
like how often do you see a sort of “failed” young adult kind of like, accept a humbler kind of life than the one they set out for?
as the resident failson, i truly appreciated this
CC: yeah that is a good point
return to the town of vibes, become the town’s #1 purveyor of vibes
a noble dream
Jenny: and i liked that he kind of HAD to actively choose that humbler life — like he was forced to sit down and acknowledge both that that’s what he wants AND that he’s going to do something about it
Jenny: the dad was kind of a dick (on the surface; much like his son) but this felt really important for his growth
Ashley: very much so
CC: i guess you can see where he gets it from
Ashley: HA i mean, his mom is pretty judgey too!
Jenny: i was just about to say!!
i love her though
Ashley: a lot of mitsuomi’s journey is like, finding a balance between accepting himself and growing out of the family narrative
CC: oh yeah also showing yamato the embarrassing photos
this part was so sweet
Rachel: i really liked the thought the author put into family dynamics and how unique those are
how they shape / are shaped by our personalities
Ashley: fully agree, just a few interactions really had so much emotion and story packed in
CC: yeah, a small number of characters but a lot of depth in those interactions
giving these two a really rooted and multi dimensional feeling
while also throwing in an only one bed etc – realism, but also, we are also still having fun here
Ashley: i feel like we’re starting to wind down a bit, soooo… i don’t know if y’all noticed but
volume 2 comes out… on feb 1!
Rachel: OH DANG
YES sliding in here at exactly the right moment!!
CC: oh wow!!!!!!!!
it’s a groundhog’s day miracle
Ashley: i guess it will be out by the time this is posted, haha
Rachel: hell yeah
also love this title
Ashley: yes!!!! very curious and excited about it
Jenny: i hope for more lovingly drawn vegetables
CC: omg i know
Jenny: and maybe a little more of this shit:
CC: that is me whenever rachel’s summer 2020 pickled peppers come up in conversation
Ashley: HAHAHA i screenshotted that and titled it “that’s rachel”
Rachel: awwww y’all!!!!
CC: I TOOK THIS SCREENSHOT TOO LMAO
Rachel: LOL this is what 40+ romance roundtables will do!!
Ashley: yeah but also your LEGENDARY AGRICULTURAL PROWESS
CC: growing sustenance from the earth, metal as hell true crone shit
Jenny: +1 +1
CC: are y’all ready for final thoughts?
CC: mine is very simple, very very simple
arrow through my heart true love shit
CC: any growing old together content
that hole is made just for me
i just think it’s neat
there really is a beloved trope well deployed for everyone in this sweet and lovely book
Jenny: speaking of tropes…
my final thought is really just that i sometimes don’t totally get the appeal of the grumpy one in the grumpy/sunshine trope
but this book!!
really sold me on it
Jenny: he protecc he attacc
ack i got shivers
love this page
Jenny: and like
Jenny: i took so many full-page screenshots
this was so nice
CC: LOOKS LIKE I’LL HAVE TO DO THE SMILING NOW
i love them
Ashley: god yeah i actually like, felt a weight in my chest at this part
Jenny: it was just so nice!!
so good to see them fit together
Ashley: super genuine, real love shit
Rachel: ahh those last two panels!!
CC: u can have a little grumpy blush, as a treat
Jenny: i think the author mentioned this in the end note — about how she wanted to write a story about characters that, like, compliment or like balance out each other
and that’s just so nice to see
another thing a really love about the romance genre — the idea that other people will push you to be better in ways that you cannot push yourself
CC: love!!!!! love is so powerful!!!!
Ashley: okay after all this i have to come through with a goofy final thought
i just want there to be a social function so that this guy can bust out a scandalous outfit
Rachel: YEAH this guy with the looks!!!
CC: is that
Jenny: he has another one that’s a pineapple!
CC: fruit prince!
Ashley: manifesting jackie chan mesh shirt for vol 2
Rachel: yes, GOD
ok i have 2 final thoughts, sorry for being extra
Ashley: this is GOOD and RIGHT
Rachel: first thought, i love black and white comics
Rachel: this is such a GOOD comics panel!!!!
the way the tone disappears in the bubble, shit
Ashley: it is very beautiful
Rachel: I LOVE COMICS
ok second final thought
even though i’ve never thought of myself as the moon in the sun/moon dynamic, mitsuomi is just so relatable
Rachel: MY OLD BONES
life truly does come at you fast
Rachel: i lifted one (1) box and i am DONE
Ashley: classic lma