The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - R.AGE - By EZEL

KINGYO Used Books sounded like a sim­ple, un­pre­ten­tious name, and per­haps that was why I was at­tracted to it al­most im­me­di­ately. There are some things about sim­ple ti­tles (ex­cep­tions ap­ply) that scream, “This is a good manga!”. In this case, my hunch was right. “This manga book­store has a thou­sand sto­ries to tell,” said the mes­sage on the cover. On the sur­face, Kingyo Used Books is a comic about manga and the epony­mous sec­ond-hand manga book­store, but take a look deeper and the manga is more than that – it’s a story about peo­ple.

It is one of the more emo­tion­ally en­gag­ing works I’ve read in some time. Seimu Yoshizaki in­tro­duces the reader to many manga mas­ter­pieces while he tells the sto­ries of the peo­ple af­fected by these clas­sics.

Kingyo Used Books is com­posed of mul­ti­ple short sto­ries, each sep­a­rate from the other. How­ever, they of­ten fea­ture Kingyo Used Books book­store and its staff – most no­tably the shop­keeper, Nat­suki, the manga-crazy Shiba, and the owner, Seitaro.

Kingyo Used Books Vol.1 has five sto­ries, each re­volv­ing around a dif­fer­ent char­ac­ter that have their lives af­fected by a manga.

Sto­ries range from nor­mal – a salary­man re­liv­ing his love for manga to some­thing less or­di­nary such as a boy who is so ob­sessed about a sin­gle clas­sic that he ba­si­cally trans­forms him­self into the manga’s main char­ac­ter.

All sto­ries, how­ever, were care­fully told in such a way that a reader eas­ily con­nects to it.

Also, Seimu man­ages to tie in the in­flu­ences of manga with peo­ple’s lives with­out it ap­pear­ing forced, seam­lessly weav­ing the essence of each manga into the very fab­ric of the tale. He man­ages to in­tro­duce you to manga clas­sics and at the same time tell heart-warm­ing sto­ries about peo­ple – a fine bal­ance.

The art isn’t any­thing to shout about, but it does its job well. What’s no­table about the art is how well the artist ex­presses emo­tions via the char­ac­ters. In a slice-of-life, of­ten emo­tional comic like this, the artist’s knack at draw­ing ex­pres­sions can make or break a ti­tle, and in this re­spect I find Seimu’s sim­ple lines con­vey enough emo­tions to en­gage the reader.

The fi­nal pages of the book have de­tailed in­for­ma­tion about the manga fea­tured in Kingyo Used Books, which is def­i­nitely a bonus for manga en­thu­si­asts to brush up their manga-lore.

Not ev­ery­one will like Kingyo Used Books – it’s im­pact­ful, but in a sub­tle way that might be missed by some. How­ever, if you’re tired of ninja, shinigami and pi­rates and are look­ing for some­thing more akin to ev­ery­day life, Kingyo Used Book­store will be a re­fresh­ing change of pace. — Rat­ing: 4.5

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.