Page 45 Review by Jonathan
Enchanting autobiographical work from the creator of the scathing anti-war satire ONWARD TOWARDS OUR NOBLE DEATHS, which details his relatively austere, and at times quite poignant childhood, his developing interest in illustration, and also looks at his early fascination, partly fuelled by his grandmother, the titular NonNonBa, with the Japanese spirit world and the monsters, or yokai, who inhabit it. Its clearly something thats developed into a bit of an obsession as apparently hes travelled to over sixty countries to engage in fieldwork based on spirit folklore whatever that may mean!
This work was actually the first manga ever to win the prestigious Best Album prize at Angoulême, and its easy to see why as it rewards the reader on many levels, especially narratively. Even though I loved this work I possibly just prefer ONWARD TOWARDS OUR NOBLE DEATHS, though again that too was a prize winner at Angoulême! Amusingly enough it has just occurred to me that Mizukis own fascination with war may well have begun in the pitched battles he and his friends seemed to be endlessly fighting with other kids from nearby neighbourhoods, and which seem to have been fought with a ferocity the Bash Street Kids would have been proud of! He draws a particularly amusing lumpy bruised head!
This would definitely be an interesting read for someone who has worked his way through the Tezuka and Taniguchi canons and is now looking for another true manga master to discover. Highly recommended.