Manga Review

Solanin – Manga Review


I heard about Solanin twice in the course of a week or so (once at a staff pick section in Barnes & Noble and another from a Twitter feed) so I figured I would get it from the library.


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 think Solanin (ソラニン?)sets really high expectations and ultimately fails to deliver on them. There are lots of characters, all with unique backstories, but the interesting ones (non main characters) get pushed aside for the main plotline which I found kinda dull.

Temporally, the manga is really confusing. Manga typically signify a flashback via black borders around the edges. I couldn’t tell what was a dream, what was a flashback and what was happening in “real-time.” I’m still not really sure what happened in the story. Maybe that’s intentional?

This book is definitely relevant to my interests as a mid 20-something going through a quarter life crisis. I have a feeling it would be more relevant if I was living in Japan. There are a number of cultural references and it’s hard to pick up on them if you don’t know about Japanese culture. For example, the job of Office Lady (OL) doesn’t really exist in Western culture. Meiko is fighting against that culture of working at an office to find a hard working husband so she can quit. From a Western perspective, I think Japanese feel more “trapped” in their system than many of their Western counterparts do.

I think this is a first attempt from the author. In that case, it’s good, but the amateurishness of it definitely shows as well. Solanin shows promise, and it isn’t bad, but I feel it could have been a lot better.

Manga Review

Kashimashi Vol. 2 – Manga Review

Kashimashi vol 2

Okay, so it’s been a while since I posted on this blog. I finally graduated and I have some free time to read stuff, including manga. So I finally read the second volume of Kashimashi, only about three years after I read the first one… At least the complete series is already out!

Manga Review

Love Com Vol. 6 – Manga Review


This 6th volume of Love Com was a bit dissapointing, for the fact that very few names were called. Sure, there was plenty of “shrimp” thrown out there, but that’s Risa’s main attack. Otani threw a “Gigantosaurus” out there, but that was mainly it.

Manga Review

Honey and Clover Vol. 2 – Manga Review


I got the second volume of Honey and Clover (along with some Love*Com) at the library a few weeks ago and I finally read the H&C. So here’s a quick review (mostly to remind me of what happened once I decide to read volume 3).


Broccoli Closing? Gema!?

I dunno how I missed this but it looks like Broccoli Books USA is closing shop. This is really depressing and makes me wish I had reviewed more of the stuff they sent me. I thought Broccoli always did the best job with their books (super heavy quality paper, sometimes too heavy!) and artbooks. Plus they did a lot of Disgaea stuff!

My thoughts are with all those affected by the closure, including main PR person (and other stuff person) Shizuki who was always so nice and responsive to my emails. Best of luck to you in the future!