Review of Sunny, Vol. 5 (Sunny, #5) by Taiyo Matsumoto

A relaxing and contemplative series from a creator I now look forward to reading.

The abandoned kids home, or orphanage, if you prefer that designation, which comprises the setting, provides a dense interplay of childish communications. The way the characters talk over one another reminds me of Robert Altman’s films. This series is primarily a realistic portrayal of its times, alluding to real-world wrestlers, idols, and other celebrities to remind readers of its setting. The current of subtext is moving and ever-present. There are rock and roll lyrics, porno mags in the back of beat-up old car fort, kids playing in the pond, running wild in the streets, eating dinner amid a messy chatter of quibbling siblings. Despite the huge roster of characters, and the quick-cut method of storytelling, the ups and downs of these chilluns, and a few of the adults that orbit around them, makes for an entertaining and heartwarming read. The feels are there to be grasped. And I can only hope that the immersive atmosphere and soft-focus lens will guide me into further nostalgic byways of ordinary Japanese life.

Review of Tekkon Kinkreet: Black and White by Taiyo Matsumoto

One of the few masterpieces of ‘realistic’ manga.

By which I mean it contains whimsical touches, flights of fancy, imagination, heart, and friendship without succumbing to any of the cheap thrills so often associated with this medium like giant robots. ghost hunters, or revealing costumes. A genuinely admirable and affecting work of art, molding a relatable and satirical atmosphere of mingled wacky comedy and disarming violence into a beautiful synthesis of love, disturbing cruelty, and concrete jungle adaptation.