QQ Sweeper Volume 1

“Never sweep. After four years the dirt gets no worse.” – Quentin Crisp 

Fumi Nishioka is a new transfer student at Kurokado Private High School. She has suffered a lot: her parents and grandparents are dead, while her legal guardians have left her to fend for herself. On the night before she joins the school she kips in a disused building in the school, where is she is spotted by one of the other students, Kyutaro Horikita.

Fumi’s main obsession appears to be to find a “Prince Charming” boyfriend or at least someone with plenty of money. Meanwhile Kyutaro seems to be concerned with just one thing: cleaning. He is a member of the “Beautification Committee”, and uses his free time in cleaning the whole school. 

Fumi thinks that she might have found her Prince Charming in the form of troublesome student Sakaguchi, who does seem to have plenty of cash, although he is incredibly messy and hangs out with the wrong sort of people. Kyutaro demonstrates how dirty Sakaguchi is by showing him that the room he and is buddies are in is crawling with centipedes, which in turn scare Sakaguchi away. Kyutaro cleans the room, but later Fumi hears a strange voice coming from behind a strange door in that same room. She opens it, armed only with a broom, and finds herself in a chamber full of doors. One of them leads to Sakaguchi, who is in a state of great sadness and is still haunted by the centipedes. Fumi is then attacked by a giant centipede, but is protected by Kyutaro who fights it off. Fumi herself eventually gains the strength to fight it off herself, punching the centipede away.

Kyutaro reveals that his cleaning job has a totally different side to it. He is a “Sweeper”, whose job not only involves ordinary household cleaning, but also the cleaning of dark emotions in the minds of people. The centipedes were representations of dark thoughts in Sakaguchi’s mind. Kyutaro’s boss, and headmaster of the school, Koichi Kitagawa, offers her shelter in their house and an apprenticeship as a Sweeper, which she takes up, and so her hygienic odyssey to improve the cleanliness of mind and home begins. 

As supernatural manga go, this is a rather original idea. Most of the time we’re offered the standard stuff like vampires or ghosts, but in QQ Sweeper mangaka Kyousuke Motomi (Dengeki Daisy) takes a rather dull activity and gives it a strange twist. The premise of a supernatural cleaner getting rid of the depressing muck in your mind is a nice one. The art is good too. The characters all look great, especially Kyutaro in his dark cleaning gear and the more comic Koichi who seemingly has no fashion sense whatsoever.

The one big problem this manga has is that it is rather short-lived. It began last March 2014 and ended in May 2015. Luckily though, a sequel called Queen’s Quality is already in the works.

7 / 10

Ian Wolf

Ian works as an anime and manga critic for Anime UK News, and was also the manga critic for MyM Magazine. His debut book, CLAMPdown, about the manga collective CLAMP, is available now. Outside of anime, he is data specialist for the British Comedy Guide, is QI's most pedantic viewer, has written questions for both The Wall and Richard Osman's House of Games, and has been a contestant on Mastermind.

More posts from Ian Wolf...