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Taiyo Matsumoto


Page 45 Review by Tom

Simply one of the best manga -- no, one of the best comics I have ever read. Taiyo's tale of two feral children, Black and White, unleashing vigilante justice on anyone - cops or Yakuza - who disturb the delicate status quo of their world, sends me spinning.

"Hey, White..."
"You never ask about Black. Why is that?"
"Aren't you worried about him?"
"God made peoples, right?"
"Uh-huh. How come he didn't make 'em all the same?"
"How come...? Well... Uh..."
"Fat, thin, tall, short people... Mean or nice... He made lotsa mistakes."
"Yep! When God made me, I think he was sorry 'bout how big he made the Hippo's mouth."
"What the - ?"
"So I is missing lotsa screws. Screws in the heart. And Black. Black too. He's missing lotsa screws too. Heart screws.
"So God made a mistake with Black?"
"Uh-huh!! But White has screws for the parts Black doesn't. White has them all."

Treasure Town is an old town run in an old way. And maybe it's the crime or poor business or the games lethargically played out by the arrogant Yakuza and the lazy Police, but Treasure Town is run down. And there's a magic about that. It's the history in the walls, the myths on the street. Like the talk about a pair of cats that can "fly". The Cats in question are two homeless children who rule the town with a mix of brutality, theft and parkour. The viciously territorial Black and his younger partner, the simple, delirious, kleptomaniac White: working in perfect unison, they're completely dependent on each other. White needs Black's protection, while Black needs to look after White or he he'll have nothing left to live for. Together they've survived the streets, beaten back the Yakuza and evaded the child services. They've made their world, they rule Treasure Town. But as they reach puberty and White becomes more delirious, the Neverland calm of their world begins to deteriorate just as the Bulldozers roll in, turning the only world they've ever known into a gentrified, chainstore hellhole with no place for stray cats.

This is a powerful book famous for making grown men cry, and a beautiful comment on dependency. Like Paul Pope, Taiyo's art is influenced as much by Moebius as Tezuka. His stripped down Euro-esque style cuts through the frantic pacing of manga with such panache it's almost disorientating. Everything curves slightly at the edges as you're watching it all unfold through a fish-eye lens. If you like Paul Pope and let's face it, can't wait for his next project, I severely recommend you take this on.
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