Hakumei & Mikochi // Volumes 1 - 7 Manga Review

Hakumei & Mikochi is the most wholesome manga I've ever read. What I love most about this series is that each chapter is a slice of life story starring the friendship of these two girls. Hakumei builds things for a living. There are some chapters where you see her progress as a builder and her apprenticing under this ferret character. She is the take action kind of character. She and Mikochi share a love of food. I love it when they go to the market to shop for clothes and eat lots of food. Mikochi makes and sells food at a local store she works out of. She also is a seamstress. She's more reserved than Hakumei. They are both hard workers. I do love Mikochi the best but I love both of their friendships together. There are other side characters that I grew to know and love as well. This is such a cozy and lovely series.

Below you will see my reviews of each volume. I wanted to write down my precise thoughts on each of the chapters so I can remember them in the future. You can basically start anywhere in the series but I recommend starting from volume 1 so you can get the introduction of all the characters. If you don't want anything spoiled then I hope my first paragraph convinced you to check out Hakumei & Mikochi. It's such a lovely series.

Hakumei & Mikochi starts off a little strange. Mikochi makes some minestrone which she used to make for her pet who never came back one day. I was worried I wasn't going to like this because I didn't know where the story was going. Once I figured it had unique chapters with days in the life of these two best friends I got into it real quick. Then we get introduced to Conju who in any other circumstance I wouldn't like but her brattiness to want to sing in the festival by herself didn't deter me from liking her in the future. Next, we meet Sen who is my most favorite side character. She reanimated animal bones so they move and do things for her. She's such a quiet weirdo and I love her so much. This bleeds into the next chapter where she makes them a home. Later we get to see Hakumei on a day at work. Her little mask she wears when she's making things is so cool that it's cute on her. We get introduced to her mentor who is a ferret named Iwashi. He's a reluctant teacher whose cranky but has a good heart. He's also a hard worker and appreciated Hakumei. Hakumei & Mikochi go to a market where they buy a bunch of food. This is when I really began loving them. Such a nice and relaxing chapter. Mikochi is up next and we see her workday. She's making food to sell at the Mujina store. Conju comes along and she's hopeless in the kitchen. Lastly, we get introduced to two sisters who own a pub. They're named Mimari and Shinato. Mimari is easy going while Shinato is a bit tougher. They drink and gamble. It's not as serious as it sounds. It's lighthearted. This volume is my favorite. I love the beginnings of series the best always so that's no surprise.

This second volume of Hakumei & Mikochi starts off with another bird story. This time a horned owl. I didn't make much of this chapter like the volume previous to it. In the next chapter starter (almost all the chapters start with a little information on the story) we learn about Old Greentail whose a wolf. She's head of an organization of people who guard merchandise for merchants. She has an eyepatch which just adds to her coolness. I love love love that Mikochi made clothes for Sen. This is where I fell for her. She is just so shy and sweet as well as intelligent and confident. She has gap teeth. She's so cute! I will take any chance to gush about Sen. Then we go more into learning about Hakumei's job. She's part of a builder's union. The president sees her ambition and she's able to help the organization with a build. He's best friends and I think copartners with this huge badger I think. I love seeing their size difference. And I love that animals were incorporated as characters in this series. We then get introduced to the weirdest person. I don't really like her. I guess I don't know what to make of her. She's a hippie beauty salon owner who cuts hair when she feels like it. She seems to only want to cut mohawks or at least suggests them a lot. Her name is Jada and she lives inside an egg... Lastly, the two girls go on an adventure to a cafe. Not a surprise because all they think of is food. Not like I'm complaining.

The third volume was my least favorite out of the bunch. I didn't like discovering Honey Manor which is a place anyone can live even outlaws. The girls, some villagers, and Conju are trying to make a stage so Conju can sing for this popup concert but the old residents don't like having newcomers. It just wasn't my cup of tea and then unlike most of the previous and upcoming volumes this storyline last five chapters. After that, the next chapter has the two girls discovering new neighbors on top of the tree they live in. They live in the base of a tree so they venture on up and meet a couple of their new neighbors including a beetle who wants to live in the big city. It's a strange character to bring into the mix. I loved that they brought in Iwashi to hand out with them. He's cranky so it was nice to see them interact with him and show him parts of the marketplace he's never discovered before. Next up we get introduced to what I'm sure has to be two badgers. One is Hakumei's boss. She wants her to convince someone to sell their canelés at the shop. The person in question shows them how to make the canelés. I love when books describe food being made so the description and actually seeing the images of the canelés being made were a feast for the eyes. Lastly, a cute little mouse I hope we see again is taking some photographs. It's this mouse that inspired me to draw again. I haven't attempted to draw her but I will have to give it ago eventually.

Hakumei & Mikochi go underwater with Sen and Conju. I am so excited to see more of the side characters interact with each other. I love seeing Sen at any opportunity too. Their personalities are direct opposites so it was interesting to see how they would get along. Speaking of side characters interacting, the weird hippie lady, Jada, has had her egg fallen. Iwashi happens upon her and helps her building back her home right. Two total opposites again. Then there's a festival which Mikochi last minute makes and sells jam. Hakumei helps her along and we are introduced to the grocer. His name is Miki. He buys up a lot of produce in order to make a good profit. I feel like none of the girls are going to get into a relationship. This is more about their friendship and adventures together but if they did I would absolutely LOVE Miki and Mikochi together. They would be such a fun duo to read about! They both end up being very good hagglers even if Miki overbuys. Another side character who might have been introduced in earlier volumes but she's really showcased in this one. I don't know her name but she's this older lady who makes coffee for them. Her coffee maker isn't working so she asks Hakumei to fix it for her. She's a funny cranky character to add to the growing list of characters. The girls want to go to one of those fancy baths next. But they aren't able to. So what do they do? Make one of their own of course! I'm really glad that Hakumei has this builder side of her because it's so much fun seeing her make things unexpected. Since they are tiny, they make things out of things that look big to them but aren't that big for us. Surprisingly we meet Mikochi's sister. Who knew she had a sister! And a flighty playwriter at that. I didn't know what to make of her. Apparently, they have a brother too who I hope I get to meet in one of the volumes soon. The volume is finished off with the girls going on a night train. Of course, it would end with a cozy chapter. Perfect for this cozy series.

The girls start off this volume by going fly fishing. Hakumei is into it while Mikochi is not. Conju's neighbor Laika makes breakfast for her. I don't know whether she has a crush or is fangirling over Conju but Laika is really sweet and I hope to see more of her in the future. The first time we meet the librarian! Oh, what a serious guy he is. I love how he gets into a kind of competition in recommending books while the other person is not even registering the competitiveness of the librarian. Then Hakumei is trying to meet up with Old Greentail who she knew in the past. They blow some things up and have an adventure of it. I really liked the next chapter where they dressed up for this festival. It's based on a story where a man scared people off into cutting down the forest. It's basically an environmentally aware story that fits with the vibe of the series. Hakumei & Mikochi do live in a tree. Iwashi, Hakumei, and Mikochi get stuck in this dilapidated home the builder's are planning to fix. It's raining down hard outside so they have to spend the night. It's a nice bonding chapter with the three of them again. The beetle neighbor evidently needs a story. I find her weird but whatever. She wants basically a city looking home but realizes it might just not fit her. Lastly, the builder's union president thinks he's in trouble with his wife so he worries about how to apologize to her. Not my favorite chapter honestly but overall I enjoyed this volume.

This is the best start of a volume of Hakumei & Mikochi. There's a flood and these two girls are hungry so they are going to get some food on a raft. The commitment to food for them is at the top priority. We learn that Hakumei doesn't know how to swim and Minari is going to attempt to teach her. I loved seeing Hakumei's vulnerable side. She's usually very confident. And her learning how to swim is hilarious. We get more background on Jada who is apparently one of the best hair stylists. She's more hardworking than I thought according to an annoying old classmate. Hakumei cuts her hair short for the second time and she looks cute. Next, their love of food makes them go for illegal clam. It's dangerous to make this clam because it'll jump up and could hurt those around it. The lengths these girls go for food is admirable. Mikochi is in a clothing design competition and Hakumei models her design. She does such a good job! I love seeing her designs and seeing her sew. I have such a desire to learn but I don't give myself the time to do so. So I'm jealous of a fictional character. The Librarian has another nice chapter where it's a day in his life. It's a nice little chapter that I appreciate. The badger siblings are not getting along and it makes sense. An older sibling treating you like a little kid is no fun. Another chapter with Sen and Conju bonding. Sen is funny in this one and Conju is plain old drunk. We end the volume with Iwashi helping Hakumei build something for their home. He goes above and beyond. I love the mentor/student relationship they have.

The last volume available in English 😥. This seventh volume is the third one that started off with birds. Carrier birds this time which is such a perfect idea to add to this story. Next up Mikochi is sick so she goes to a hospital and they end up putting her to work. Poor, Mikochi haha. I don't know why but Jada has another chapter. I don't really care for her if you can tell. Anyway, she sleeps over at the girls' house and she broke something. She's trying to avoid telling them. Later, Conju and Mikochi are standing in line for of course some food. It's a long line for not a lot of food. It's pretty good but it's supposed to be about the experience most of all. It's just another chapter reimagining everyday life made cozy by the characters. Sen falls down a hole and is crying! My perfect cinnamon roll 😭. Thankfully, Mikochi and Hakumei fall in later on so she isn't by herself. They explore this hole/cave and find some mushrooms. Not a surprise. Hakumei makes them all leaf "helmets" which are adorable. It's laundry day at Honey Manor and Conju needs help hanging all her clothes. It's a cute little chapter where they break some walls and hang some clothes. Miki the grocer and Mikochi interact again. Yay! Miki overbuys again to try to sell some mushrooms to Mikochi. I don't know how he isn't in debt but I love him. The Librarian is back with another chapter and Hakumei beats him again to a recommendation. I think he's accepted he'll never win with her. A friend has died and Hakumei is determined to drink the last of the sake he's made for her. It was a somber chapter but done in their usual not too heavy feel. The final chapter had the girls saving for some glasses. Others were worried about them cutting down on food. The foodie's not eating a crazy amount is worrying. It was nice and reminded me I needed to work on a budget haha.

 Well, I hope I have convinced you. If you've never read a manga and are looking for something sweet look no further. If you love manga you really should give this one a try.