This relationship — Mari, plain and studious; Eri, “gorgeous” and shallow — is our first intimation of where After Dark is really looking. Takahashi addresses the question to Mari this way: “I wonder how it turns out that we all lead such different lives. Take you and your sister, for example. You’re both born to the same parents, you grow up in the same household, you’re both girls. How do you end up with such wildly different personalities?” Here is After Dark‘s central preoccupation: different lives and different states of being, this side and the other side, within ourselves and between ourselves and other people.