Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Drifting Life by Yoshihiro Tatsumi (review)

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I have been a comic book fan for over 15 years now. I went through the superhero phase-then got bored with it. Later on discovered alternative comics and then even later in life I stumbled across a more personal styled comics called, mini–comics. I don’t read a lot of comics now-a-days, a few here and there. But I have been buying all comics produced by Yoshihiro Tatsumi. I bought The Push Man and Other Stories a couple of years ago, then Abandon The Old In Tokyo and then much later his book titled Good-Bye. These were written so different from what I was accustomed to reading that I became hooked right away. They are not typical and some of his short stories are realistically disturbing.

A Drifting Life, is Yoshihiro Tatsumi memoir. This is a thick book, eight by six inches with a two inch spine and 856 pages. It took Tatsumi over a decade to complete.

We follow the main character Hiroshi, (Tatsumi’s alter-ego) at the beginning of manga industry. The story begins right after the Japanese surrender in World War II. We watch young Hiroshi obsessing and creating manga - as a postwar Japan slowly changes into an industrialized nation around him. Even thought this is a quick read your are instantaneously, immersed in the story. You emotionally get caught up in Hiroshi's life and you want him to succeed. What makes the story even more interesting is you are also witnessing the beginning of manga. It’s inspirational reading the Mangaka (japanese term for creators of manga who both write and draw their comics) trying to meet deadlines and brainstorming about story ideas.

Mr. Tatsumi style is simplified and rugged. He skills are unmistakable - his art perfectly evokes Japan’s past. He has a quick, rough inking style-Which complements the story.

This is a great book - which I highly recommend. Even if your not into comics pick this up you won’t regret it.

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