This Looks Cool: Romance In The City of Darkness


Kowloon Generic Romance | Art/Words: Jun Mayuzuki | Publisher: Yen Press | Release Date: August 2022

Kowloon Generic Romance is the newest work from After the Rain mangaka Jun Mayuzuki. I’m not too sure what the story is about. Yen Press writes the following:

Welcome to Kowloon Walled City—a dystopian townscape full of people brimming with nostalgia and a place where the past, present, and future converge. This vividly drawn tale tells the story of the secret feelings and extraordinary daily lives of the working men and women living in the city.

I’m gonna pre-order without really knowing what it’s about because the images I pulled from a quick Google search look promising. Like, it might be a grown-up, sexy romance story? Looks like there might be a good dose of humour as well, I got some Maison Ikkoku vibes for sure.

Plus, Mayuzuki’s After the Rain was really good. They handle the story of a young girl [17] falling for her much older boss [45], with maturity and realism that didn’t devolve into something questionable and disturbing. It was also refreshing to read a manga that had an older character at the centre of the story as well.

I am also a big fan of Mayuzuki’s style. First the detail in the majority of their pages is astonishing, but I also love the sequencing of the panels. I really appreciate manga that can capture small moments like someone smoking a cigarette, or enjoying a meal. Both of which are illustrated so well in the panel below. I don’t even smoke and that cigarette looks so good!

Kowloon Walled City actually exists, or I should say existed. It was razed to the ground by the Hong Kong government in 1994 and converted into a huge bougie park. Before it was destroyed it was the most densely populated area on Earth. Over 40 000 people were crammed into 0.26 square kilometres, an area about the size of Grand Central Station in New York.

Apparently nicknamed “The City of Darkness”, Kowloon Walled City was portrayed as a hot bed of crime. Crime syndicates did run the turf primarily in the 50s and 60s, but the majority of the residents where just living their lives. 

The images of the city are incredible, the lower levels of the Kowloon look almost subterranean, with the upper levels towering overhead blocking out the sun. Kowloon has been featured in novels, movies and even video games. It will be interesting to see what type of story Mayuzuki weaves against such a famous backdrop.

Kowloon Generic Romance is slated to drop August 10, 2022 with an English translated version from Yen Press.