This is the story of a forty-year-old salary man who quits his job to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist—and the family that has to put up with him. While not terribly unhappy, Shizuo Oguro can't fight the feeling that something in his life just isn't right, so he walks away from his stable (yet boring) day job to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Unfortunately for his family, this journey also involves playing video games all day while his teenage daughter and elderly father support him. Will Shizuo succeed in creating a true manga masterpiece or will he be just another drop-out living a life of slack?
Mod Note: This review was initially posted for the one-shot, Ikiru, and was subsequently merged into Ore wa Mada Honki Dashitenai dake.
"My short story will slither into the crevices of your heart."
Unorthodox one-shots never fail to amaze me. Such was the case of Ikiru, a (very short) manga spanning 23 pages. Most people think that you can never achieve anything spectacular or worth remembering when works are brief. The same kind of crowd also probably have never seen Fumiko no Kokuhaku and She and Her Cat. They have never read White Clouds or Moyashi Fuufu.
Although not as well-known as some of those titles said above, Ikiru actually makes an impact like them, albeit on a completely different scale. We have two main characters, one at the height of 'middle age'; and the other, just slightly graduated from twenty. They meet in a totally unceremonious manner. The girl is suicidal. Okay, enough of the "naked" content. You can't give away much if you're talking about a one shot.
Twenty-three pages? It contained the frustrations of youth, a dose of half-life crisis, desperation, weird out-of-the-blue dialogues, radical questions, a taste of violence, a peek on a troubled person's everyday life, and some flashbacks that slid through even though it's not that proper for a one shot to have recollections (mostly it wastes good pages). Seriously, how many short works can pull that off and leave a lasting impression?
I can't wholeheartedly say that the art is eye-candy. On the contrary, the male protagonist kind of looks like a hobo, and his smile is not at all pleasing to see. However, the girl's dark, deep eyes are just.. haunting. The manga is not full of watery-eyed lovesick adolescents, if you're looking for them.
It has its flaws, yes. That's to be expected from one-shots, none of them are perfect. Actually, I would've just let this pass if not for the last lines of the manga. The trigger that pushed me to write this review. I want everyone to read the ending conversation, which happens to be one of the most ponder-worthy exchange of words I have read in a long while.
This is a manga written for adults.
If you are going through a quarter life crisis or mid life crisis, hate your job or plain lost in life, this manga is for you.
It depicts the challenge of everyday struggles most people can identify with and makes you feel like less of a failure by pretty much saying everybody around you feels the same way, fighting their own battles and suffering alone. And then it shows the story of how someone (who friends and family have pretty much relegated to the loser basket) can achieve a small success through sheer determination and self-belief, and how much of a motivation this is to the people around him. And that small successes can be as important and inspiring as big ones.
This manga has a good message to spread about life.
The art is hilarious and so are parts of the story.
It will keep surprising you.read more