Nightfall Travelers: Leave Only Footprints Vol 1 Review

Tomohi’s Nightfall Travelers: Leave Only Footprints follows a pair of high school girls as they do some urban exploring after school as part of an assignment. Together they experience the beauty of their town, handle a few brief scares and start to become friends. But is there more than meets the eye when it comes to their peaceful investigations?

Synopsis:

Since ghost stories are becoming popular at school, the Newspaper Club Akane is a member of decides to put together a special report on haunted locations in their town. Akane is assigned the task of visiting all of the locations on the list and reporting on her experiences. This is a terrifying assignment for poor Akane, who’s a big wimp when it comes to ghost stories!

Too nervous to visit the spooky locations on her own, Akane invites Amemura-san, the mysterious transfer student, to accompany her. Amemura-san hasn’t had an opportunity to explore much of her new home, so she happily agrees to tag along.

The two girls begin their investigation into the famous ghost stories in their town, uncovering the mundane explanations behind these strange stories and growing closer in the process.

Review:

Nightfall Travelers has a gentle, but somewhat eerie atmosphere. The town the girls live in is built on very hilly terrain and it’s full of winding staircases and stunning views. With it’s complex web of pathways and overall whimsical appearance, it’s no wonder that there are so many hair-raising rumors getting passed around. The unusual layout of the town lends itself perfectly to all sorts of spooky stories!

As they investigate the ghost sightings and poke around the supposedly cursed locations on the Newspaper Club’s list, Amemura and Akane wind up discovering that there’s actually a logical explanation for all of these chilling stories. The lack of ghost appearances is a huge relief for Akane and she starts to gain confidence and even have some fun. The two girls are soon looking forward to their after school excursions and eager to discover the truth about the rumors. While they started out as practically strangers, they’re fast friends and grow closer as they continue to explore together.

Amemura doesn’t appear to have made many friends, outside of Akane, since moving. At the start of this manga, Akane thought Amemura came off as unapproachable, but circumstances led her to invite her to join her investigation and she soon discovered that Amemura is actually a sweet girl with a calming presence. She also keeps a cool head during the exploration of the haunted locations. Amemura is usually the one who figures out the true cause of the strange phenomena they encounter thanks to her logical deductions, making her the perfect detective partner!

Akane, meanwhile, is cheerful and seems more outgoing than Amemura. She has a lot of friends and didn’t have any trouble inviting Amemura to join her on her mission, even though they hadn’t spoken before. I thought the two made a good team and enjoyed seeing them grow closer and form a truly cute friendship over the course of this volume. I got a bit of a yuri vibe from the two of them in some scenes, but I don’t think this series is listed as being a yuri romance. I’m guessing that this element will most likely remain as subtext, which is fine, as I like Akane and Amemura’s dynamic as friends (though I’d also be happy if their relationship did turn romantic later in the series).

Though the ghost stories have thus far all been proven false, that doesn’t mean that there is nothing mysterious going on in this manga. There have been several hints thus far that there is something strange, and possibly supernatural, happening right under Akane’s nose. As weird little moments started to add up over the course of this volume, I began to feel a nervous that the series’ otherwise relaxing vibe wouldn’t last.

Nightfall Travelers: Leave Only Footprints was an intriguing read. On the surface, it’s a cute story about a pair of nice girls have a pleasant time investigating strange occurrences and exploring out of the way spots. Under the surface, however, there is a surreal undercurrent that tugs at that sense of serenity. I can’t wait until we get a glimpse of the mystery lurking beneath the surface so I can see if my guesses about what is going on are correct. Will these two ever find a real ghost? Or will their days continue peacefully in their sleepy town? I’ll have to read on to find out.

I’d highly recommend that everyone check this series out. My only real complaint with it is that the whole manga isn’t in color. The sections that do use color are vivid and beautiful, making the rest of the pages look drab by comparison. Other than that, though, Nightfall Travelers is a delightful read.

Final Score: 8.5 out of 10

For more information on this series, visit Seven Seas Entertainment’s website.

What did you think of this manga? Do you have any theories about whether the girls will encounter a real ghost? Let me know in the comments!


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