Graphic Novel of the Month: A Girl on the Shore

January’s Graphic Novel of the Month is an omnibus edition of A Girl on the Shore, from manga master Inio Asano.


Inio Asano has been making waves in the western manga world. His previous work, Solanin, won an Eisner Ward and was nominated for a Harvey Award in 2009 (both for best foreign material) and he has received acclaim for other works including What a Wondeful Life, Goodbye Punpun and Nijigahara Holograph (Fantagraphics). This month marks the release of his 2009 series A Girl on the Shore, which is being collected in an omnibus edition courtesy of Vertical Inc.

A Girl on the Shore is an intense teen romance set in what may at first glance be one of the sleepiest places in Japan. When Koume and Keisuke’s relationship begins to take shape, it is apparent that they are both searching for something. Maybe Keisuke wants something more than a kiss from the fair Koume. Maybe Koume is looking for someone better than Misaki, the local playboy. But what they find in each other over the course of a summer might be far greater than anything they were expecting. Their lives are going to change. And this will all transpire before high school exams!

Asano has been praised for his character-driven work that is grounded in realism, whether it be drama or psychological horror. A Girl on the Shore is no exception. Both characters have had bad experiences in love, with Keisuke pining after Koume for a long time and Koume having been used and dumped by her crush. However, their solution of having a purely sexual relationship ends up doing neither of them any favours, nor their acquaintances. Asano’s exploration of these issues on a character level is a joy to read and something you don’t often see. This is all assisted by Asano’s top notch artwork, which not only displays his great storytelling skills but also highlights the realism approach he is aiming to achieve.

In recent years, Vertical have been one of the best sources for alternative manga and titles that go beyond the shonen action affair (although we love those too). For any fans looking for something different (think Flowers of Evil and Utsobora), this is definitely worth a try.

A Girl on the Shore is published 21 January by Vertical

Post by Leo

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