Solanin by Inio Asano

solanin

Solanin is a young adult manga written by Inio Asano.  First written in 2006, it has been reprinted last year with an additional epilogue.  Solanin is a critically acclaimed manga that depicts the lives of twenty-something millennials living in Japan.  The characters in the book have recently graduated from college and are attempting to find themselves and their place within Japanese society.  The prescient ennui of fretting by the characters for their futures within Japanese society permeates this manga.  The characters battle between what is expected of them by society and what they feel they should be doing with their lives.  At first the protagonists feel the choice is binary; either they should grow up and get jobs or drop out and fulfill their passion for music.  By the end of the manga we have observed the character’s growth through personal loss and see them triumph over the need to feel alive because they have recognized that their daily actions do have meaning. (Submitted by Shane)

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Stargazing Dog by Takashi Murakami

stargazing dog

This short graphic novel was written in 2008.  It is hard to believe the beginning of the Great Recession is almost 10 years old.  For most Millennials this is a forgotten period.  Stargazing Dog, written at the start of the economic crises, takes us on a journey about two lives caught up in the economic uncertain time.  One is a divorced middle aged man and the other a middle aged Shiba Inu. We usually think of the economic crises of the last decade as effecting mainly North America but this story is set in Japan.  As the author states it was written to challenge the theory of “adapt or die”.  No doubt this is the saddest graphic novel I have read and is a must read for anyone who has loved a dog.  It is a short, but extremely powerful story which although can be read in a few minutes the impact it leaves will remain for some time. (Submitted by Shane)

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