Shizuo Oguro has decided to start life over. After fifteen years spent working in the same old job–the one he got because that is what you are supposed to do when you are an adult–he finally decided to quit. Now he is living with his crotchety father and his high school daughter while he tries to figure out where his life is going next. When he decides to become a manga artist, he’s proud of his decision, but the road to fame and fortune–or even a completed story–is never smooth.
Aono’s plot meanders along placidly, must like the main character. But even with the wandering and the seeming aimlessness of the tale, there is something appealing about both Shizuo and his story. Shizuo is kind of an idiot, but you can’t help but like him. And, speaking as someone who recently quit my job to start a writing career, I can definitely say that Shizuo’s troubles with focus and drive ring true. It is a lot harder to sit down and put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) than you think it is going to be, especially when the temptation of video games and lazy afternoons are calling to you. What’s nice about Aono’s story is watching Shizuo gradually wake up to the world. It is as if he’s been asleep for years and is only just now seeing how life around him has changed. There is no explanation in this volume for where his daughter’s mother is, but it is obvious that Shizuo has missed out on a lot of his daughter’s growing up. Now the two of them have the chance to learn about each other and to be proud of one another and watching that relationship grow is a charming facet of the story.
But lest you think that this is a Lifetime special, let me assure you that this was definitely written for a male audience. Vomit, prostitution, crudity, and more all show up in just the right amounts to keep this tale from being too special or precious. Aono’s art has the perfect everyman quality. Shizuo is chubby and scruffy. His house and his workplace and the people around him are equally ordinary. Aono uses thin lines and the bare minimum amount of shading, keeping his work rough to make it more believable. While I didn’t completely love Aono’s story, I respected it. It doesn’t have the fantasy qualities that I prefer in my reading, but there are plenty of readers who will like it all the more because it lacks those qualities. Reality is not always something to run from, though occasionally, like Shizuo, you have to step back in order to really see it.
NOTE: This review was previously posted at an old blog of mine, Fujoshi Librarian.
I’ll Give It My All…Tomorrow, vol. 1