Look Back

Viz Media. Sept. 2022. 144p. ISBN 9781974734641. pap. $12.99. GRAPHIC NOVELS
Fujimoto’s (Chainsaw Man) stand-alone story depicts the friendship between Fujino, a confident storyteller with a comic strip in her school newspaper, and Kyomoto, a truant classmate who never leaves her house, but whose drawing abilities far outpace Fujino’s. When they finally meet and decide to collaborate, they find great success. But Kyomoto remains pensive and interior, focused on the beauty of landscapes and backgrounds, and eventually deciding to pursue art school rather than work in the manga industry alongside her friend. A brutal tragedy leaves Fujino reflecting on their relationship and what might have been different in a misty moment of supernatural time travel. The plot is poignant, but the visual celebrations of quintessential manga moments define the mood of the book in a moving, elegiac way. Ultimately, it’s an appreciation of the art form, its artists, and the reader. The translation and the English text layout are a bit hasty, which is a shame, because the story is compelling and could use more cultural context for the less familiar.
VERDICT A beautiful, dream-like story about art-making, friendship, and growing up, best appreciated by manga fans with a basic sense of the visual and cultural cues of the genre.
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