February 3, 2009

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The Walking Man

Written by Jiro Taniguchi
Illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi
T/A Fanfare

An interesting little manga as it doesn't fit into the typical shojo, shonen, horror, romance, or school genres. I am sure there's a category for it, but my feeble American feed of Japanese comics doesn't allow me to really be able to comment if it is something new or part of a larger grouping of comic styles.

The story itself is a mostly non-verbal narrative of a man (who appears to be jobless, despite his professional attire) who walks about his little corner of the world and observes what he sees--elderly people out for a walk, school children running, toys stuck in trees, and the like. Every time he eventually returns home to his rather patient wife. (She seems to be resigned to the fact that he'll only be home for a late supper, if he makes it home in time for dinner at all.)

This is a story of the ordinary. Our protagonist takes off his shoes to play in puddles, sneaks down alleys to see what's there, and learns things about his world that I bet no one else will ever know. (We see this in an example where he talks about a local Mt. Fugi, that his wife appears to have never known existed.) There are no great plots or arc. No one dies. No one get the girl. What the reader gets is a nice, relaxing visual walk. I think it's worth the trip.