Week ending June 27, 2014
Hajime, Taguchi (text & illus.). Alive. Gen Manga. 2014. 284p. ISBN 9781939012098. pap. $12.95. MANGA
This collection of short works explores themes of isolation, identity, and sexuality from a variety of perspectives. Coldly realistic depictions of depression and abuse are followed by stories of magical glasses and talking toad-like creatures, but the mixture works well to hold the reader’s attention. On balance, these stories are thought provoking and carry some real emotional weight, which will please audiences looking for something outside the shounen/shoujo mainstream. Sadly, Gen Manga’s reputation for bringing readers these types of unique works is accompanied by a history of editing errors, and Alive has its share, ranging from simple spelling mistakes to untranslated story titles. The lack of page numbers or a table of contents, as well as the choice of leaving most sound effects untranslated, adds to the “corner-cutting” feel. Better presentation would have enhanced this collection’s appeal greatly.
Verdict Recommended (with reservations) for literary graphic novel fans. The numerous technical errors are a real shame.—Neil Derksen, Pierce Cty. Lib. Syst., Tacoma