The Walking Man

Jiro Taniguchi’s The Walking Man is about a Japanese businessman who goes on walks around the city he lives in. That’s it for the plot of this book–it exists on that very simple premise. The book is divided into a series of walks that the businessman goes on: there’s one, for example, where he stops to rescue a toy airplane from a tree for some kids. After carefully gliding the airplane down to them, he sits in the tree and thinks, appreciating the natural world (the beauty of nature is very well depicted in this book, both artistically and as a narrative device). Later, when he starts off for home, he finds the airplane he had rescued abandoned and broken in a nearby gutter. So he takes it home, repairs it, and flies it that night in the backyard under the moon. All this book’s stories have a similar simplicity and reflection on nature. While The Walking Man may not appeal to fans of Ranma 1/2, it’s great for older teens who are looking for manga addressing more serious subjects or who are interested in learning about Japanese culture. This book has a few panels of male nudity (the man, on one of his walks, sneaks into a pool and goes swimming), but it’s treated very sensitively and matter-of-factly within the story.

The Walking Man
by Jiro Taniguchi
ISBN: 8493340995
Fanfare/Ponent Mon, 2004

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