Solanin (Book 1 & 2) by Inio Asano
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
College graduates struggle to cope with the real world. Music offers refuge in this modern manga with an American attitude.
Meiko Inoue is a recent college grad working as an office lady in a job she hates. Her boyfriend Shigeo is permanently crashing at her apartment because his job as a freelance illustrator doesn't pay enough for rent. And her parents in the country keep sending her boxes of veggies that just rot in her fridge. Straddling the line between her years as a student and the rest of her life, Meiko struggles with the feeling that she's just not cut out to be a part of the real world.
I picked up this book strictly due to the cover - I knew nothing of the book previously. I would say that this is one of the few times that 'judging a book by its cover' has worked out.
I've read this book a few times now, and it would have to be one of my favourites. It's far from the usual shounen manga that I pick up, and it is a welcome change. The artwork has a definite "real world" feel to it - it's not all prettified or tries to be beautiful when it isn't. And I'm not saying the art isn't beautiful -- we just don't get the needless sparkles and glamour that I find are added to a lot of manga just because the artist can.
Now, just because I deem this manga as a favourite does not mean I feel it is free of faults. There are a few times when the plot seems to wander, move slowly, and become confused. Part of that I can forgive, as a story about life must seem like life in some ways. And our life stories never seem to take a sensible direction. Still, more of a focus would help. I had no idea where this was all going for most of the book.
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