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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. -----------------------
Slice of life with a young couple, Inoue Meiko and Taneda Naruo, and how everyday occurrences affect their lives. Meiko begins contemplating whether freedom without purpose is really the same thing as boredom. This is a retelling of a very common real-life situation, perhaps enjoyable for an older fanbase. The art is different, there are no anime-esque deformations here.
Note: Was nominated for the 2009 Eisner Award for Best U.S. Edition of International Material - Japan. It was nominated for the 2009 Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.
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I wasn't very excited to read this at first, even with all these glowing reviews. But I'm glad I did.
Spoiler (highlight to view)
It's a manga I'll probably remember for a while. I liked this, even though there's nothing particular that I liked especially in this story. Maybe I'm too finely tuned towards shoujo/shounen manga, but I kept waiting for that moment when they made it, for that moment of win. But it never happened. There was never this ultimate moment when everything was made right.
At the end of the day, no matter what happened, the characters remained much the same as who they were. And that's really the charm of this manga. Most people won't achieve their dreams. Not all of us are going to make the big money or become someone famous, or dazzlingly charming/beautiful. Books, movies, tv shows---a lot of things have glamorized these things to make it seem like it'll happen to everyone.
But Solanin is about growing up, about realizing that it's not wrong to have these dreams, and you should try to pursue them. It doesn't mean that you'll be guaranteed to reach your goal, but it does mean that you should try your best, live your life. And that's probably what touched me the most.
It's definitely a manga like this that can show people that manga is more than japanese "comics"; there's something as deep and poignant as any written novel.
Quarter life crisis
I read oyasumi punpun and decided to read this authors other works. It was refreshing/inspiring to read this manga. It's not as heavy as punpun, but the level of art is the same. I'm in that age range where I'm wondering about what I'm going to do tomorrow, next year, or the rest of my life and if I've actually become an adult like I think I have. This manga is such a raw reflection of that. Existential drama with flashes of unrefined insight and pure sillyness. I read this and cried... but then I woke up the next morning with a smile, laughter that I couldn't control, and a renewed perspective on what life means.
I'm a cry-baby and saying it made me cry this might not mean much since it's not unusual for me to shed a tear or two while reading a comic book. However, Solanin really touched my soul. It doesn't try hard to be smart, interesting or touching - it just is this way. The sadness and beauty of it infect you and stay within your heart. With time it's natural to forget the details about plot and characters but not the emotions. It's perfect, really.
can't keep it to yourself
I would recommend this manga over any other, I've forced it on everyone I know who could understand it (I bought it in Japan so it's Japanese) and everyone has loved it. It's a sad story, but the story couldn't make you cry if it wasn't told perfectly, but it was. It pulls you back in after making you so depressed, but you still have to figure yourself out after you finish it. The message, to me, was that happiness isn't a right. It's not something that's guaranteed in life. But you don't have to be a rock star or anything big to be happy. You just have to give yourself a chance to be happy.
I rarely rate series a 10/10, much less write comments, but this one deserves special treatment because of how beautiful and poignant it is. The characters are all very...normal. Nobody is rich or exceptionally beautiful. Sounds very boring, doesn't it? However, I think this is the driving point of this densely packed two-volume series. In your life, you're probably never going to meet someone like that, much less be that person. You might never achieve that childhood dream of yours, and before you know it, you're an adult forced into reality. I myself am in college and often wonder if working was all there was to life. This series both confirmed and renewed my views.
A first for me
First manga to made me cry. I don't know why though. Maybe because the relationship seemed so normal and simple with no problems to come between it. Even thinking about it makes me feel sad. But I didn't cry for what happend in the plot, it was the overall story and how beautiful it was. I also loved the ending. It was redeemed the sad parts and made it happy again.
Yeap. This is where Asano Inio starts to shine. This is his style, this is his art. He's on his own ground. Although Solanin is nowhere near Asano Inio's masterpiece Oyasumi Punpun, it is definitely worth reading. Compared to SS or HnM, this is a more mature slice of life story containing the funny day-to-day happenings of a couple and their close friends. The major event of this manga: a girl quits her job. And that's it. This is the catalyst of other small, funny, cute, slice of life occurrences. In the middle of them are the two main villains who make these series so funny, sweet and random: Kato and Crack. If it wasn't for them, this manga would be pretty much boring and skippable.
This is a perfect place to start with Asano Inio. The art, the style, the characters. It's all there.
... Last updated on August 28th, 2011, 1:22pm
from the comics journal
start with the referred comment from tcj Not much happens in Solanin so its interest depends primarily upon its characters. Asano’s dialogue is realistic, and his characters are believable. But believable is not the same as interesting. Nothing distinguishes Meiko and Taneda from the millions of other young adults in similar situations. Meiko’s internal reflections on her situation are given at length, but these rarely rise above the banal. Halfway through, a melodramatic event causes the book to abruptly shift direction, and its second half is about coping with loss. Things pick up here, but not enough: The accomplishment that forms the climax of the book is too slight to bear the symbolic weight Asano places upon it. Asano’s art is very good, particularly his command of facial expressions, but this is not enough to outweigh the story’s weaknesses.
As for me, the story itself does not give me too much surprise; the dialogue is repetitive in the sense that it is expressed of the same form as the other realistic works, always about emotional wavering or helplessness. The mangaka takes care of the characters well, each one's qualities are well portrayed.
Same as the rating from lozzenator, you just can not rate it higher although it seemed to be flawless. It is just a bit trite, I guess. I give 8 because I really savour the art.
... Last updated on May 9th, 2010, 5:39am
A True “Slice of Life”
Solanin is a true “slice of life”, full of humor as well as tragedy to the point it evoked the full spectrum of human emotion that I am capable of. It's eloquently told in a dense two volume story where every panel feels important, and the expressive art captures the story's beauty immaculately. The nature of its story will appeal to those entering adulthood the most, but I recommend it to anyone who's ever felt unsure about their future or their place in the world. Solanin is volume for volume the most fulfilling manga I have ever read.
... Last updated on November 18th, 2014, 1:01am
Not very interesting
I guess my opinion is rather different from others. I find the pace of this manga to be quite slow. 2 volumes felt like 4. The characters are very real and understandable. It's definitely has a very serious tone and provided a lot of social commentary. I could not find any flaw to this manga. However, as flawless as it seems, it wasn't interesting. I find it boring. But nevertheless, it was a decent read for serious, deep, and somewhat emotional kind of plot lovers.