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This is a compilation of oneshots that includes:
1) Untitled 2) Before Dawn 3) Alfalfa 4) 4:30 PM, Sunday//6:30, Afternoon, Sunday Part 1 - Summer Memories Part 2 - A Girl in the Brilliant World of a Boy's Daydream Part 3 - Coming Home 5) The Typical Day and Melancholy of Super-Imaginative A-ko 6) How to Spend a Day Off 7) 17 8) What a Wonderful World 9) Tokyo 10) The End of the World 11) Snakeman and the Great Space-time War
世界の終わりと夜明け前 Before Dawn and the End of the World La fin du monde, avant le lever du jour (French)
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If you’re feeling down, you need to read this. If you’re feeling lost, you need to read this. If you just want to taste a bit of meaning, you need to read this.
The stories mostly deal with the search for meaning and purpose in life. From young to old, the characters all struggle with acceptance and redemption. As always, Asano's art is beautifully drawn and complements the stories very well. If you're not fond of bizarre situations (or prone to rejecting stories when they get weird), I'd recommend reading What a Wonderful World first (pg 176 on Batoto). It's the most straightforward and uplifting of all of them. However, if you've got the time and the inclination, please start from the beginning and read all of them. The first story kind of ties the rest of them together in (an initially incoherent) way, and it's worth it at the end to see the connection.
What I love most about Asano Inio’s work is the way she always ends on a hopeful note, no matter how depressing the story is. In the end, there is always hope.
I would give this higher than a 10 if it were possible. Part of Asano's popularity has always been how relatable the characters are, and it's really no different in this collection. If you enjoy it, I'd highly recommend Solanin for a similar feel, Oyasumi Punpun for a darker, longer, and more bizarre story, and A Girl by the Sea (This one is has adult material and is very dark. You have been warned).
... Last updated on April 4th, 2014, 8:05am
Sekai no Owari to Yoakemae
Ahh, Asano Inio. What more can be said about him? Unique style, unique art, unique point of view, outstanding drawing capability. It needed only two small published series (SS and HnM) for his style to mature and shine. After reading Oyasumi Punpun and then this volume of small, Asano Inio-like stories, I knew this was my favourite mangaka. Okay, enough praising and straight to the contents.
This is a slice of life series just like SS and HnM, but there is a main difference. SS and HnM (especially SS) were immature and mostly random. The topics were most of the time shallow as well. The difference with Sekai no Owari to Yoakemae is that this is series which shows Asano Inio's in his fullest. The strange characters, their anomalities or simply strange actions, random one-of-a-kind scenes, unique art, drawings that portray everything clearly and precisely like a photograph, his ability to let the drawings speak for themselves, deep slice of life ramblings and random funny topics... Yes, it's all there... Everything that makes Asano Inio Asano Inio is there. If you've read Solanin and Oyasumi Punpun (especially Oyasumi Punpun) you know what I'm talking about. While SS and HnM were ordinary slice of life and Solanin was a more refined, consistent and mature version of the last two, this volume leans a bit more on the strange, random and one-of-a-kind aspect of Asano Inio's later style. Read the second story "Before Dawn" and you'll see what I'm talking about.
In a nutshell, this volume contains some short, some not so short slice of life stories which are actually (because of the author's unique style and point of view) undescribable unless you simply decide to read the actual manga. The only thing I can say about this volume is the following: you like Oyasumi Punpun, Solanin and Nijighara Holograph? Then you will love this!
By the way, I may sound like some manga elitist but I have not read much manga (although I have read everything from this author). I have not got much experience with manga. My enthusiasm and my need to express myself thoroughly comes simply from the fact that this is my favourite mangaka and I want people to recognize his talent.