So, these last couple of days, I have been plowing through several graphic novels. I’d like to share my reviews; these will be short, but hopefully informative. I’ll be covering three manga (Wandering Son, The Opera House Murders, and Solanin) and one American graphic novel (Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller). So here we go!
First up is The Kindaichi Case Files: The Opera House Murders by Yozaburo Kanari and Fumiya Sato. Hajime Kindaichi, an ordinary high school under-achiever, gets invited by his friend Miyuki to go to drama camp with her club on an island with a theater that resembles the Paris Opera House. However, tragedy strikes when someone starts murdering club members according to the story of the Phantom of the Opera. I enjoyed this comic, as it was an exciting novel. I think it would be a hit with older teenagers.
Next is Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story, which tells the story of twenty-year old Amir who has just married into another Silk Road tribe. Mori explores Amir’s acclimation to her new home and her twelve-year-old husband. However, tensions start to run high when Amir’s family demands her back. The story, although slow, is engaging and touching. I love Amir as a character–she’s strong, yet compassionate. Mori’s artwork is also absolutely gorgeous. I am looking forward to seeing where this story goes in the next volume!
Next, we have Joseph Lambert’s Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller. The story covers Annie Sullivan’s early experiences with the deaf-blind girl. This story is extremely well-drawn–I liked how Lambert explored the stories of both Keller and Sullivan, as well as their developing relationship. I thought how Lambert expressed Helen’s gradual understanding of her world was beautiful. This book is definitely worth a look for interested individuals and history classes!
The last two were particularly incredible for me. I’d like to now talk about Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son. Wandering Son follows Shuichi Nitori and Takatsuki Yoshino, two young students who become friends. Gradually, they discover that both wish to be the opposite gender. The story explores gender identity in a fascinating and touching way. I was a little unsure about the book, but I still wanted to check this book. Like A Bride’s Story and Solanin (discussed below), the story moves at a contemplative pace. Takako explores the issues of gender and growing up in a careful, thoughtful way that is a joy to read. I am planning to definitely read more of this series, as I want to see what happens next.
Finally, there’s Inio Asano’s Solanin. Meiko and her boyfriend Naruo are recent college grads living together in Tokyo while both work jobs where they feel trapped. Naruo wants to pursue a career with his college band while Meiko decides to quit her depressing job only to wander aimlessly. Join these two and their friends as they explore themselves and try to find a direction. I really enjoyed this story–particularly since I am going through a similar situation of trying to figure out life post-college. I never really expected to find a comic that dealt with that period in life, and I’m so glad I did. Again, the comic is very contemplative, but is fascinating to read. I also loved the artwork.
Well, that’s it. Hope you’ve enjoyed the review and found some things you would like to check out!