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This volume is really surprising in how much of a departure it is from the mangaka's later works (namely, Immortal Rain). As the title suggests, the majority of the stories are about dying--both a physical and a spiritual death.
As a work, though, this volume really resonates. The stories are often clumsy, and you can see the mangaka's immaturity in them, but the emotions are so very raw and, well, real. I'm sure I'm not the only one who read these stories and went, "Ah, yes, this is exactly what being a teenager feels like."
However, while many of these stories point at a bleak and depressing present, as a whole, the collection seems to point towards a somewhat hopeful future, particularly when taking into account Ozaki Kaori's own end notes. In the end, this volume is ultimately about growing up and become an adult, about leaving behind the difficult, painful, and exhilarating period of one's teens.
As the mangaka herself says, the last story "marks the end" of her "seemingly eternal teenage years," and she doubts she can draw these stories again.
... Last updated on June 9th, 2013, 12:56am
Stories about flawed people...
The thing that stuck out the most in this collection, for me, was the lack of satisfaction as a reality. It makes sense this was written when the mangaka was a teenager (that confusing, angst-filled period of life).
Don't some people want to return to their childhood? Aren't there people you love so much but don't return your feelings? Aren't there times when you just want to hurt someone just because someone hurt you? It was extreme in a lot of the cases (killing others or themselves), but the feelings of frustration, confusion and not knowing what to do were there. These aren't people that leave you feeling disgusted, rather you pity them or sympathize with them at the end.
I love how it ends on the story Honeymoon. She wrote the last story when she was nineteen (leaving her teens) and it shows: it's still a bit angsty but the couple is normal and it's hopeful. It has a different tone than those before it.
My biggest critique is most of these characters are pretty...complex. I don't get their motivation in some stories (namely the woman from the fourth story) and had to guess in others (the third story). There wasn't much time to get how they acted or why.
I can't say I liked it
Immortal Rain, by the same author, is one of my favourite works in manga. This, on the other hand, I was not very fond of. However--that doesn't mean I think it's bad. It certainly carries a trace of what I came to love in Immortal Rain, but here's what I think the problem is: The stories aren't long enough. The characters are too complex to be constrained to a short few pages. There are a lot of intricate characters, but we aren't given a lot of time to understand them. So what results is unfortunately somewhat of a mess. As well, the author's pacing and other skills needed some refining. There's a lot of angst, too--if you don't like that, I wouldn't suggest reading it. I didn't really like it, but I don't regret reading it. Give it a try if you liked the author's other work!
Inspiring for upcoming artist?
What I found most fantasizing about some of these stories was the time of the Ozaki Kaori's life in which they were created, basically when she was in highschool. The contents of the story in some of short stories are along the lines of what you would expect from a much older manga-ka, especially the way they're executed. The ones I though stood out the most was Knife and Honeymoon. Mainly Honeymoon, the last short story of the series.
Works like this is always nice way to look at the evolution of a manga-ka, when comparing their current work with work such as that presented in Knife.
If you had no interest in such things and just look at them on their own the stories will come off as really poor (besides the Honeymoon short story) and it's pretty much a waste of time to read. If you're in the group who is curious on the thought process that goes on behind your favorite manga-ka this will be a good read. You're probably only here on this page anyways for that reason alone anyways.
If you're in the latter group you'll enjoy the Kaori's own personal thoughts at the end of each story and how she reflects what motivated each of the stories along with some personal history of the author itself. That's basically what this whole collection is all about. One of my favorite pieces is how she reflects on buying "How-To-Draw" manga books for the first time once she learn that her manuscripts was accepted to be publish as a manga. The evolution of her artwork is reflected in the stories bit by bit and also how many of the character models are drawn in your typical "beginner at manga characters" short of way.
I find the whole collection inspiration as you it gives you a peek at her humble beginnings and how far she come along in comparison to her latest works.
... Last updated on September 1st, 2010, 9:53am
It wasn't the content of these stories that struck me the most, although they are all striking. They take a deeper look at the human existence than any other shoujo I've read other than the works of the greats like Hagio and Ooshima. It's that the author was still in high school when she wrote them. It's a little boggling that someone who had only one full decade of experience could have such mature views on life. Maybe it's that boggling that made these stories leave such an impression on me.
people are funny, also these aren´t love stories
from the notes in the manga it seemed the manga ka had a normal life with friends and at no point mention any guy problems so I doubt they were there. I think this is all pure fiction.
After I read this, i said to myself, these weren´t that bad. The first story doesn´t deal with death or anything. Just a rather stupid love struck girl. The manga ka herself said that in her early works, a lot of the characters were too stupid to live.
Of note I think is a story that portrays a pretty sympathetic serial murderer. He might be going after women that look like his mom or he might not, its hard to tell. The last story is also worth pointing simply because it isn´t the main character dying, and the ending isn´t sad either. It´s optimistic despite the bad.
But in general, these are stories of some negative trait or, fatally flawed person. They usually have a partnet but that´s mostly to have a second character that can tolerate or interact with. Only thrice does the negative trait take a toll in a relationship, and in those, a friend or family member could have taken the same role anyway. And in the final story, its a perfectly stable relationship.
Worth the read since its a volume and the stories work well. 7 perfectly good stories independantly.
Short stories linked together with a common thread...
These are short stories linked together with a common thread: each speaks of sadness, hopelessness and death. And for some of them, the end of each story connects to the start of the next one.
The stories might be simple and even a little clumsy at times but the emotions and concepts they conveyed, show a deep understanding of life and the various facets of it. It's all really grim, bitter and even a little depressing, though so it might not be everyone's taste. But rare are the writers who can actually portray such problems with a good touch of empathy without pulling on stereotypes. And since she wrote the stories as a teen, that's all pretty amazing.
... Last updated on January 16th, 2009, 12:17am
I find it disturbing. I didnt even bother finishing the book. I stop right after the 3rd story. This isn't really the kind of manga I would take time to read. It's not about the graphics of the manga the reason why I stopped reading it. It's the contents.... the story of each chapter. It's pretty sick.
For a complilation of stories revolving around relationships and the theme of love this is actually quite dark. I enjoyed the stories but the lack of background to the enigma filled characters fustrated me. It give me the impression the manaka had either a touch teenage life (well what teenager isn't full of angst at some point) but more so than most, or was horribly hurt in some way by a boy. Her stories are touching but if you're one for happy ending I would avoid this.
Dark and Strange
It's dark, makes me feel like someone abused the mangaka sometime in her life. Usually tragedies touch me, but some of these stories were just... strange... They didn't exactly stick in my mind, like the amazing story Ayu no Montagori.
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