Monday, August 8, 2016

Manga Review: Sorako by Takayuki Fujimura // ARC August

By Takayuki Fujimura
Publication Date: February 4, 2014 
Originally Published: December 2013
Publisher: GEN Manga Entertainment Inc.
Buy It: Kindle - $1.99 / Scribd 
Source: NetGalley (Then bought my own Kindle copy)

"Sorako lives an ordinary life. And this is an ordinary story. She has friends and family, loves her dog, thinks about life, and occasionally looks for work (kinda). These are the adventures into a typical girl’s life."


GEN Manga from the Tokyo Underground has been the forerunner for translating many indie manga from Japanese to English. Gen publishes for manga lovers who want something fresh or for newbies to start their reading with. Their stories reflect the lives of the contemporary reader without any science fiction or fantasy elements. Their promising statement is: "Gen stories are published nowhere else in the world. They come straight from the artists in Japan to you. We translate the stories and put them out as they are created." 

While the title is Sorako not all the short stories are about her. I never really knew what age she was, but all the stories are centered around young women who feel somewhat lost, living aimlessly. The stories deal with the everyday lives of these women, giving us a glimpse of contemporary Japanese life. The stories vary in length with the first being the longest. In some instances it felt like I was missing pages given the curtness of the dialogue. Some conversations would end abruptly. Also, it was hard to feel attached to the characters because of their apathy for life. They main characters usually needed something to happen, like a dog finding its way home or buying a birdcage, to finally realize that their happiness comes from their own actions and have a change of perspective. The stories were pretty boring and I didn't like the characters, but I liked that the collection of stories was realistic. 

The first story centers around Sorako looking for her missing dog, Toma. In the beginning Sorako is coming back from a job interview. She doesn't really know what she wants to do with her life and isn't trying hard to move away from this limbo of stagnancy with her life: living with her family, but being finished with schooling. In another short story with Sorako she wants to start swimming to lose weight. When she goes to register she is easily thwarted from even starting due to being unable to get a swimming cap. It was humorous that one simple request to the receptionist at the fitness center turns into a large search party for one swimming cap by multiple employees. Sorako tends to give up quickly with progressing in her life: career-wise or with her health. Fujimura is great at creating a theme to carry throughout the stories and adding some hints of symbolism. Here is a great review focusign on the stories and their symbolism:

One thing that I did absolutely love about this indie manga was the art. It had a rough, naturalistic style that fit with the subject matter of the stories. While I didn't absolutely love this manga I have dipped my toes enough that now I want to read more manga. Even give GEN Manga another try with a different author.  

Some would consider this boring while others would appreciate the realistic portrayal of mundane life and highlighting the period of life in which a decision must be made on what to do with you life. You should decide for yourself.


My Reasons Why You Should Pick Up Sorako:

+ The design style.
+Glimpse of contemporary Japanese life.
+Continual theme throughout the stories.
+Easy to relate to. 

Little preview of inside:


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