Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 147

Solanin

by Inio Asano, with translation by JN Productions and lettering by Anneliese Christman
Genre: aimless twenty-somethings, rock gods
432 pages
ISBN: 1421523213 (Amazon)

I first read Solanin almost a decade ago. And I only read it the once. I thought it was a good book, well-conceived and well-produced, but it didn't hit me as one of those books I needed to return to over and over again. It was no Cross Game after all. But needing a good book to recommend here, I thought I'd return to it and see how it struck me all these years later. And, well, it's pretty great.

I've been a fan of Asano since Christmas 2009 when I first got Solanin and What A Wonderful World. I liked Solanin fine, but What A Wonderful World was the one that grabbed me by the lapels—and I didn't even have lapels. I've followed his releases since then and his voice and vision have proven unique and worth consideration. And he continues to rock worlds.

Solanin is about a boy and a girl. 24-year-olds in Tokyo, trying to figure out life. Only not trying too hard to figure out life. Meiko works an office job she hates and Taneda does freelance illustration (bad hours, bad pay). They live together but their future is uncertain. Taneda plays guitar and dreams of his band making a difference, but his pride and self-consciousness prevent him from exerting himself or treating the dream seriously. Their friends occupy similar holding patterns and are governed by the fears and uncertainties native to the human condition.

Will the power of music save their lives or destroy them? Or is there really any power to it at all and does any of it truly matter when on this very day there is a war going on and normal everyday people are dying senselessly? Fans of Ecclesiastes may enjoy this one as questions about the vanity of all things echo its halls. Gorgeous art with some stellar, powerful moments.

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I am Seth T. Hahne and these are my reviews.

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