Otherside Picnic Volume 6 Review

Otherside Picnic’s fifth volume left Sorawo and Toriko facing off against the half-human, half-snake entity Kankandara at the climax of their dramatic and occasionally reckless attempt to rescue the US Marines from the Otherside.

Volume 6 gets straight back into things but produces mixed results in the conclusion of this particular arc.  Kankandara doesn’t quite fulfil its potential of being a Medusa-like snake lady, as it ends up in a peculiar stand-off with Sorawo. Any tension here is based off the idea of what it could do rather than what it does, which I felt rather diminished the threat the creature posed to the group. It’s simply an immovable wall that is trapping everyone inside, and it ends up being a case of “if you’re not going to do anything, I will” as Toriko brings in the big guns, ending in a nice twist on what is a fantastic choice of weapon.

As much as it’s not one of the greatest monster encounters in the series, it still turns out to be an inventive and well-earned victory for the extended cast, and their celebrations set the tone for the rest of this volume as we move into Resort Night at the Beach of the End. While Sorawo and Toriko have been a duo for a while, this is really the first time they see each other properly as friends and where they are truly enjoying their time together. As they’ve both had their wobbles and issues over the past few volumes as they learn to trust each other, this is just really nice to see, and I couldn’t help but find some of these scenes with them patting each other on the back really cute.

Resort Night at the Beach of the End kicks off with a big party where both have them have got absolutely sloshed to the point of which they’re waking up in bed together (but not in that way… yet). Being in Okinawa, Toriko wants to take advantage and head to the beach, which Sorawo reluctantly agrees to. Yet, on their way to the beach in a taxi, the pair fall asleep to some strange music on the radio and end up slipping into the Otherside once more. While they are greeted by the beach of their dreams – white hot sand and a calming ocean, beautifully deserted – you still have to remember that this is the Otherside, where something creepy is guaranteed to be just waiting around the corner…

For the most part, this volume is actually rather hands-off on the creepy stuff and instead focuses more on character development as our two leads relax in the sun, swap stories and just have fun together. Sorawo in particular opens up more here as her boundaries are pushed into what is uncomfortable territory – having to wear a swimsuit in public is a big bugbear due to her low self-confidence, while she also reflects that she actually hasn’t done the typical stuff people do at the beach with friends. Meanwhile, we also get some snippets about her home life which we weren’t aware of before, which I feel does help you empathise with her not being as brazen and outgoing as Toriko.

It would be easy to criticise this for having not a lot going on, and it does feel like a quieter, in-between step in the story, but on the other hand it’s also a nice change of pace and allows us to understand the girls’ personalities better and see where they are coming from. Their time together is funny, cute, and endearing, while showing that if they wanted to, they could just lie back and enjoy their lives together, if only the spooky Otherside didn’t keep distracting them!

And of course, it doesn’t stay quiet on that front for too long as the creepiness starts piling back up again in the final chapter of the volume: a giant slab of meat washed up on beach; a gang of thugs beating someone up, who aren’t people at all but inanimate objects; and a strange shadowy figure appears who somehow knows Sorawo’s name. I’ve got no idea where this is trying to go but blimey this ends horrifically good.

The artwork in this chapter is also pretty shocking as it really goes all in on the horror vibes, which provides a great contrast with a lot of the cuter vibes from the girls just chilling on the beach. And it does a great job at that too, really pulling off the touristy feel, particularly with some of the girls’ outfit choices like the dumb tourist t-shirts which I found hilarious.

The series continues to be published by Square Enix and is available both digitally and as a physical paperback. This volume is translated by Taylor Engel and reads well with no issues to note. As with other volumes, there is a bonus short story at the end of the book that puts a focus on events from Kozakura’s perspective, which in this volume is a funny read as it bounces off Sorawo and Toriko’s drunken night out in Naha as Kozakura indulges herself with a meal in front of her regular livestream viewers.

Apart from the beginning and end, Otherside Picnic’s sixth volume is its beach episode, letting our leads let down their hair a bit and relax in the series’ own way. While for the most part a lot more laidback than other volumes, which might not connect with readers specifically wanting the horror, it still offers some good character development in the meantime, before getting back down to business with another great cliffhanger.

Our review copy from Square Enix Manga was supplied by Turnaround Comics (Turnaround Publisher Services).

7 / 10


With a chant of "Ai-katsu!", Matthew Tinn spends their days filled with idol music and J-Pop. A somewhat frequent-ish visitor to Japan, they love writing and talking about anime, Japanese music and video games.

More posts from Onosume...