This month, we have another English language manga debut as Hitomi Takano’s award winning series My Boy makes its way to the west from Vertical. Satoko Tawada, a 30-year-old office worker at a sporting goods company, encounters Mashuu Hayami, a 12-year-old boy, playing soccer in a park at night. She was treated cruelly by a former lover, he is dealing with a high-handed and uninvolved family. Both are burdened with loneliness, and they sense that the other has something that they’re searching for…
Given that the subject matter, you would expect a more sensationalist style of storytelling, but this opening volume is remarkably reserved. It spends a good portion of time introducing the two main characters and their respective backgrounds. With Satoko in particular, we get a deep look into her career and the awkward state of her love life making it not hard to understand why she is regularly frustrated and lonely. Takano makes it easy to sympathise with both characters, although the surface is only scratched regarding Mashuu’s rather troubled home life with his accounts to Satoko being the only glimpses at this point. We do however get a small look at his school life and how his early meetings with Satoko have impacted him.
Art wise, this is a very attractive piece of work. Takano has a rather delicate style that works really well for the more subtle approach she takes to storytelling. So far, Satoko is the only character who displays the more traditional zany features found in manga, but these are used sparsely and helps keep this volume grounded as a result. The facial expressions are on particularly strong form throughout – with the scene where Mashuu helps one of his classmates who has thrown up whilst eating lunch with her classmates capturing all the angst and other emotions you’d expect such an incident to conjure up.
I’m not sure where this series is going, but this is a strong opening volume with some great characters and terrific art. Anyone looking for a manga series that takes a more subtle approach to storytelling will be suitably impressed with Takano’s work.
9781945054877 – P/B – £10.99
Post by Leo