Saturday, June 4, 2011

not simple manga Impression

A sad but gripping story about a boy and his search for meaning

Part of Viz Signature IKKI Means Comix, not simple is a tale that is flat out engaging. Natsume Ono weaves a tale that hooks the reader from page one and manages to make the reader care about Ian and his not simple life. This is the type of story that will make readers think, look at their lives and wonder how tragic and un-guided life can be at times.

Ian is unique and has no clue just how challenging and difficult others view his life. Ignored by his father, used by his mother and searching for his sister, Ian meets a writer named Jim who decides to capture his life in a novel. Ian’s family relationships’ are not normal and his relationships complicated. Feeding his mothers alcoholism yet never knowing the reason or that the way he pays for this addiction is wrong; the impact he has on others, his tragic end. Everything about Ian is unique and those he meets are impacted by his presence. Jim captures all these events in a novel titled ‘not simple’ but Ian’s life was anything but.

Ah, to tell the story would be to ruin it. Ian is a tragic figure, a sad one that readers will care about. The pacing of this story, the use of images works and is very powerful. The art style is unlike anything in manga, simple and impactful. The emotion seen in Ian, Jim’s internal conflicts and the hate and disgust of worthless parents, it all comes across amazingly in simple yet amazing art. Simple, yes; not simple, yes. How can Ian not know how odd his life is? Simple, it’s his life, what else does he know. Does a poor man know he’s poor if never exposed to being rich? Ian is tragic yet he remains so positive. He shows what it means to live, to want something as simple as family no matter his situation. Ian’s end is sad yet fitting.

Not too many times will a manga, a story, leave me thinking but not simple has. Its impact, flow and art I find simple amazing. Call me a sap but this level of storytelling, simple at times, to the point, is so impactful that I’ve got to recommend it for anyone looking for a mature tale that is not traditional and typical manga as US fans expect. Ian is the anti Forrest Gump but his impact is nothing less than equal to the character Tom Hank’s brought to life. Amazing read, amazing art and a package that just clicks.

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