Back in August 2022, Yen Press debuted the new light novel series Sasaki and Peeps. Since then they’ve also brought the manga adaptation to the English market, but how does it compare to the original work? Let’s find out!
The story follows Sasaki, a corporate drone in his late 30s, who fancies making a change to his everyday routine. Thanks to his co-worker passionately telling Sasaki all about the dog he adopted, our protagonist finds himself considering taking on a pet too. Because of a combination of living in a small apartment and having long hours, Sasaki reasons he can’t take on a dog or a cat but research suggests that a Java sparrow is the perfect pet in these situations.
So Sasaki heads out to the nearby pet shop where he meets a sparrow who calls out “pick me”, which our protagonist can’t refuse. Once home the sparrow (who gets named Peeps) reveals that he’s no ordinary bird. Peeps is a powerful mage from another world who was exiled and turned into the Java sparrow Sasaki sees before him.
In his new life as a bird, Peeps wants to live carefree in whatever way suits him at the moment and one of the things he wants is high-quality food. Sasaki reasons that on his wages things like expensive meat are out of the question, but Peeps may have a solution to that…
Using Sasaki as a middleman, Peeps can channel more magic, giving him the ability to jump back and forth between Japan and the fantasy world he’s originally from. Not only does time pass more slowly in the other world compared to Japan, but if Sasaki brings everyday items from Japan with him to sell, he’ll soon be rolling in money. So begins a new routine that sees Sasaki hopping between worlds, living life to the fullest in both Japan and this new fantasy land with Peeps by his side.
Compared to Volume 1 of the light novel, this manga adaptation doesn’t get very far into the story. By the end of the four chapters presented here, we’ve only reached the end of Sasaki’s initial trip to the fantasy world, which is not much at all, compared to all the whacky things that happened in the source material.
That’s not such a bad thing since the original could be overwhelming with how much it threw at the reader, but the pacing here is unlikely to grip new readers either. In a market so saturated with isekai stories there’s nothing very original happening in this first book, certainly not that elevates it above other titles.
So, if not for newcomers, what about existing fans? Well, I’m not convinced there is a lot here for them either. The artwork by Pureji Osho is nice to look at and better differentiates between the male characters (who looked very similar in the light novel illustrations), but because the series is so heavy on dialogue there’s not a lot of room on the page for the art to leave an impression. I imagine it will be better in Volume 2 where there should be more action scenes, but that doesn’t help right now when you need to show the fans why they should care about picking this up instead of the light novels. It’s a difficult recommendation, no matter your experience with the franchise so far.
As previously mentioned, Sasaki and Peeps Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press where it has been translated by Alice Prowse with lettering by Rachel J. Pierce. Prowse also works on the light novel, so that means all the terminology in the series aligns neatly with Yen’s other release which I’m always happy to see. There are also a few colour pages at the beginning of the book, which I certainly appreciate.
The manga is ongoing in Japan with two volumes, so not a lot of content adapted yet. Yen Press have Volume 2 scheduled for an English release in May, so not too long to go before we’re caught up.
Overall, Volume 1 of Sasaki and Peeps is an underwhelming adaptation that doesn’t do anything to grab newcomers or existing fans. While certain elements like the artwork should improve as time goes on, it’s a hard sell right now and I’d instead encourage you to check out the source material. Half the fun of the series is how many strange events get jumbled together and the manga just can’t capture that.