Insomniacs After School Episode 3 solidifies something viewers already knew; this is a series for a very specific audience. While the series will undoubtedly draw in slice-of-life lovers and those looking for their latest romance fix, those who stick around will be enthralled with the minutiae of these characters. There is little drama beyond Ganta (Gen Satō) and Isaki’s (Konomi Tamura) insomnia, and the main driving force of the narrative is to keep the observatory so that the two have a place to nap. While it’s a near certainty that this will change as the show progresses and the story opens up to a greater landscape and host of characters, for now, at least, the show is engaged in the small stuff. Fitting since the small stuff is about all the truly sleep-deprived can deal with.
Following in the footsteps of many sports or hobby-based anime, we get a full rundown on astronomy photography this week. It’s part of what will divide viewers into those willing to watch week to week and those stepping away until there’s more to binge. Insomniacs After School Episode 3 flirts with the possibility of redundancy and solves this by introducing a new character, Shiromaru (Haruka Tomatsu). She’s an alumni of Ganta and Isaki’s high school, and their advisor suggests they meet her as she was once a part of the astronomy club.
However, it would seem loners and sleepless drift in similar circles because Shiromaru was the sole member of the club by the time she graduated. She has less to offer in terms of advice on how to run the club than she does on photography itself. Her presence strikes an immediate, needed balance as she levels out Isaki’s exuberance while providing something of a mirror to Ganta, who initially projects a lot of his shortcomings onto her. Even this has little friction, with Shiromura becoming an indispensable member of their group before the episode is done. She may not be a student who can help with club activities, but she can guide the two in finding the best spots to capture the night sky and offer another ear as they wait until the sun rises.
The character’s likable enough to weather solo time in the episode as we watch her wanders to find the perfect spot to capture a particularly bright and starry night. The sequence where she walks her cat up the steps of a shrine, at peace in her isolation, eating pancakes as her camera shutters with timed snapshots, is a standout. Meditative, and dreamlike, it offers a look at the greatest strength of the series thus far, the landscape visuals of the night sky.
For a series to be about something, a hobby in particular, the audience needs to get a relative understanding of why people would be so passionate about it. Not all of us play volleyball or aspire to attend art school, but series such as Haikyu!! and Blue Period, respectively, give us a taste of the characters’ enthusiasm, so we’re caught up in it. Insomniacs After School has yet to achieve that same infectiousness, but it captures the sensation of sharing something you love with others who take a genuine interest.
It’s why Shiromura sharing a photo she takes with the other two is such a strong character beat for all three because it gives them all an outlet for discussion. While Ganta and Isaki are behind in the craft and even understand it, just being given an outlet for conversation that isn’t just about their inability to sleep is a relief. It also shows how one person’s talent can inspire others to try and chase after a similar goal.
It’s part of what makes Ganta’s revelation in this episode so touching. Insomnia is his and Isaki’s greatest hurdle right now, but it’s also allowed them to meet each other. Meeting one another jump-started the club, introducing them to Shiromaru, who taught them the wonders of nighttime photography. Ganta may be concerned about what he must do to keep the observatory around, but his positive spin on a tough situation is admirable. The show still needs to flesh out him along with Isaki beyond what we’ve gotten so far, but this is another piece of his character that allows us to get a greater look at his processes.
Insomniacs After School Episode 3 may lose some viewers due to its pacing. That said, a deliberate pace will also be part of the charm for those who stick around. If anything, we need more of the internal lives of these characters, Ganta and Isaki in particular, so that we grow further attached to them and their sleepless misadventures. Until the characters are given greater depth, the series’s atmospheric visuals and calming tone will be enough for fans to stick around.
Insomniacs After School Episode 3 is available now to stream on HIDIVE.
Insomniacs After School Episode 3
Insomniacs After School Episode 3 may lose some viewers due to its pacing. That said, a deliberate pace will also be part of the charm for those who stick around.