Sleepeeer Hit, also known as Juhan Shuttai in Japanese, is a fun look at the world of Japanese mangas (comics) as seen through the eyes of a newbie editor who has loved reading mangas for a long time, but doesn’t know anything about the business. And yes, it really has all those “e’s” in the title. Listen for the characters to say it in the show. If you’re looking for an enjoyable, lighthearted story, you’ve come to the right place!
Within five minutes, we learn that Kokoro Kurosawa was a judo star who had been aiming for the Olympics but got injured at a meet and had to drop out. Because she loves mangas, she applies to work for a publishing company and displays not only her confidence and enthusiasm, but has a memorable introduction to the company president that you have to see to believe!
You also have to see what happens when Chief Editor Wada interviews her. He was bored before she entered the room, but between them, they certainly liven up the proceedings. Wada is crazy about baseball and is always in a good mood when his team wins. But watch out on days when they lose their game, especially if any artists are late in turning in their weekly chapters to be published!
Deputy Chief Editor Iokibe is the one with the man bun. He’s a charismatic but understated kind of guy, my favorite character here, and the one I’d like to see more of. He takes Kokoro to meet the manga artists and teaches her how editors oversee and advise them. We learn a lot about the steps in producing mangas as he gives very insightful suggestions to her when she starts supervising artists herself.
A completely different kind of editor is Yasui, who is the resident grouch and manipulates his artists in an underhanded way, although we discover he has his reasons. He almost makes up for it with hilarious comments about his coworkers on social media. And here we also have the painfully shy Koizumi, who is in the sales department and hates it, and has been asking to be transferred for several years.
There’s a running gag about Artist Takahata and his girlfriend Rinne. He’s so busy working that she keeps getting bored and running away. Then he falls apart and can’t concentrate on finishing his latest manga installment, and it’s entertaining to watch Kokoro trying to deal with him and get his artwork in on time.
There are interrelated stories about respected manga artist Midurayama and his assistants, contrasting the few people who make it in the business and the many who don’t. A couple of the assistants are resentful and cause trouble, and even Midurayama has a crisis of sorts. There’s a young guy who has writing talent but can’t draw, and a retired man who is trying for a new career drawing manga. Kokoro can’t solve everything, but she uses skills she learned from judo to help with some sticky problems.
One of Midurayama’s past assistants has published a manga called Dandelion Railroad that is doing well, and Kokoro is sent to help the sales department promote the next issue. Her earnestness and willingness to try something new causes shy Koizumi to start picking up on her example. What he tells the bookstore owners is what we could say about the whole drama: “Readers talk about the characters as though they were friends, and have only heartwarming words for the series.”
The story is very character-based, and through the ups and downs, it still has an upbeat vibe as personalities mesh and people gain experience. Even though the drama starts out rather over the top, it evens out quickly, and the relatable stories carry the day. It has a strong message of the need to stay on an even keel and support the people around you. I loved the scenes where the staff gathers to give thanks for a big success.
I began watching this in tandem with the Korean remake, Today’s Webtoon, but paused that one after three episodes because I couldn’t take two over-energetic newbies at once. After finishing Sleepeeer Hit, I tried the other one again, but it just didn’t make it for me because, for one thing, I was invested in the original characters, and for another thing, the new version ups the conflict in every storyline, which was not something I was in the mood for. Kokoro’s story is straightforward, and she stays cheerful and never mopes about her judo injuries. These shows are both on Viki; let us know in the comments if you try them, and which one you liked the best!
Until the next heartwarming show,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi