Just gotta take a second to disagree with Jog on his review (link) of the new Viz release solanin, by Isio Asano. It’s a well-written review, but it comes to conclusions between 90 and 180 degrees from my own. Admittedly, your patience for stories about young people that don’t know what they want to do with their lives is ultimately the deciding factor in whether or not you might enjoy this one. But… yeah, I loved it. solanin is like Scott Pilgrim but without the video game realism, and twice as much of the drama.
I spent a few hours reading it and enjoyed the reading experience… It sort of lilts along, inviting you to spend time with its myriad of characters and get to know them. In fact, you spend a lot of time in their heads, and again, if you’re alright with people with problems, or if you particularly relate to being 23 or 24 and a bit aimless, it’s a pleasant place to hang out. That sense of security with the characters pays off as well, about half way through the book in a big way, making for a genuninely jarring, surprising turn. Speaking of, solanin enough hooks and twists to keep you flipping the pages right to the end. The art is really lovely too, with a solid and subtle range of expression and body language from all of the characters, and a pleasing and attractive surface sheen. Where Jog was disappointed because he’d read scanlations of later, more accomplished work from Asano and found this one lacking in comparisson, this is my first exposure to his work and I found it ambitious and largely successful.
But, the little stuff like attributing narration appearing on solid black panels to a need to crank out pages every week versus, I dunno, artistic license, I don’t buy it. Jog argues his position well, sets up a strong thesis at the outset of his review and hammers it all home at the end, but in the end I just came to a completely different conclusion. It’s a really solid graphic novel, that I think will particularly speak its target audience of 18-34 year olds… I certainly dig it.
Update: David Welsh weighs in with a review of solanin (link) at The Comics Reporter, and he talks about a bunch of the stuff I liked. Go read.