On Sunday Kevin revealed Viz’s plans for the fall, which included the release of Taiyo Matsumoto’s highly regarded GoGoMonster. Viz, of course, has a number of other titles in the pipeline, including one other book I felt warranted a bit more attention: What A Wonderful World by Inio Asano.
Asano is best known over here for the manga Solanin, a done-in-one collection about aimless twentysomethings that came out from Viz last year. That book won a number of accolades, though I found it to be a decent if rather flawed and at times awkwardly sentimental manga.
I’m excited for World, however, because from what I hear it’s more representative of Adano’s later, mature work, incorporating magical realism with a more . The manga has been available via scantillation for a few years now. it’s won a number of fans, including TCJ’s Dirk Deppey, who included it in his Best of 2007 round-up. I’m going to be a jerk and post Dirk’s entire comments on the series here:
Snapshots of life in Tokyo, with the reverie of everyday life interrupted by bursts of magic realism: A college dropout searches for the willpower to get on with her life; a young schoolgirl argues with the crow who keeps telling her to kill herself; a salaryman watches as the punk-rock band that he abandoned climbs up the sales charts without him; a schoolyard bully struggles to understand why his victim won’t fight back; a poor cartoonist tries to come to terms with his ex-wife; young lovers fight the temptation to abandon their dreams and become their parents. Wonderful world, eh?
Well, it can be, but only when we look past our immediate concerns and reach for something bigger, or when we abandon those concerns altogether and learn to live with what we have. Inio Asano’s two-volume collection of short stories offers small moments from the lives of Tokyo’s grand parade of people, a parade that could be taking place anywhere a parade of people wondering why they are where they are, and wondering where else they should be if not there. It’s a minor but potent example of the sort of comics that get produced in Japan but somehow never wind up in English-language print, since they won’t sell in Naruto-like quantities to teenagers. It was my first introduction to Inio Asano, whom we’ll be seeing again a little further into this list. It’s why I’m grateful to the folks at Kotonoha for exposing me to manga that I’d otherwise never get to read. Wonderful? You could call it that, yeah…
Look for the book to come out in October.