Monday, July 30, 2012

Ichiro by Ryan Inzana YP FIC INZANA

Ichiro is lost between worlds.He has a Japanese mother and an American father who died in a war before he ever really knew him. He feels out of place in New York and when he has to stay with his grandpa in the Japanese countryside, it’s more like another planet than another country. But none of this prepares him for when he catches a raccoon that’s really an ancient Japanese spirit that pulls him into the realm of the gods and in a fight for his life.  Now he has to find his way home when he's not even sure where or what his home is.

This is a graphic novel with pretty big ambitions. It tackles war, national identity, religion, violence, and even the fallibility of gods. It does this all within the backdrop of myths and legends of Japanese folklore. Inzana takes the risky move of explaining only the major figures of the mythology and leaving the rest for readers to research on their own, so you’ll learn a good deal about Japanese folklore but have even more to find out for yourself. I actually think this works out for the best, it lets readers feel as lost and bewildered as Ichiro. This makes his adventure more effecting and exciting than if every page was littered with footnotes explaining what a kappa is. The art is a mix of manga style, Japanese ukiyo-e wood prints, and American art. This fits the story and themes of the book perfectly and is also just gorgeous to look at. Inzana uses color sparingly to highlight important objects and for startling contrasts. This is a unique, original, and touching story with superb art throughout. It is a must read for any and all comics fans looking for a great story and great art, but especially for anyone interested in Japanese culture.

You can check our catalog for Ichiro here.

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