Atelier Sentô Invites Readers to the Tokyo Mystery Café

The French duo’s latest work follows an aspiring manga artist who becomes embroiled in a bizarre mystery in Tokyo’s Akihabara district.
Tokyo Mystery Cafe - Atelier Sentô

Earlier this month, I discovered the work of Cécile Brun and Olivier Pichard, better known as Atelier Sentô, who create comics, artwork, video games, and other works inspired by their travels through Japan. Specifically, I enjoyed 2023’s Festival of Shadows, a lovely ghost story about a young woman in a remote Japanese village who’s tasked with helping the recently deceased prepare for the after life.

Atelier Sentô’s latest work, Tokyo Mystery Café, concerns a young Frenchman named Nahel who dreams of becoming a manga artist while living in Tokyo’s famed Akihabara district. Instead, he becomes embroiled in a mystery involving a strange neighbor, a gang of criminals, and the titular café. Or, as a recent French review puts it:

In the case of this first volume of Tokyo Mystery Café, we discover with astonishment the fascinating district of Akihabara, which is the beating heart of geek culture in Tokyo. The opportunity for the duo from Atelier Sentô to bring this mecca of electronics to life, in which historic boutiques are more and more often replaced by businesses dedicated to pop culture and in which we find strange “maid cafés” run by young girls dressed in servant uniforms. The investigation carried out by Nahel will also lead readers to question the place that artists still have in a world where artificial intelligence is taking up more and more space.

Meanwhile, over on Facebook, Brun and Pichard have shared some behind-the-scenes info on the real-life inspirations for Tokyo Mystery Café.

Tokyo Mystery Café is currently available in France and Belgium via Éditions Dupuis and if you can read French, the first eleven pages are now online. No English language version has been announced yet, but that’ll hopefully change soon. In the meantime, I’m excited to read Atelier Sentô’s first comic, 2018’s Onibi: Diary of a Yokai Ghost Hunter.

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