1. Yoakemae (Before Dawn)
3-5. Nichiyou, Gogo, 6-jihan. (Sunday, Afternoon, 6:30.)
6. Chou Mousou A-ko no Nichijou to Yuuutsu (The Typical Day and Melancholy of Super-Imaginative A-ko)
7. Kyuujitsu no Sugoshikata (How to Spend a Day Off)
9. Subarashii Sekai (What a Wonderful World)
11. Sekai no Owari (The End of the World)
"Life...Life isn't so bad. If you keep living, you will someday find something good. And maybe that's no consolation...because I think there are plenty of bad things in the world. But...I am sure happiness and kindness are hiding somewhere right nearby. If nothing else, morning comes same for everyone. It's up to you what you'll make from that."
So, why should one read vignettes about random people? I think maybe because one can relate them with real life, the stories depicted in this manga are not about happy endings, or some special people. It's about life, life of normal people, and these people
resonate with you, their insecurities might be your insecurities, their life crisis might resemble yours. It might even be like seeing your life unfold in those pages. Asano Inio, targets people of all ages and sex, of different walks of life in these short stories of his, and the best part is that they are depicted beautifully. After these stories you feel compelled to think about the things you've done in your life until now, In some way, aren't you like those manga characters, hollow, incomplete and looking for something, anything to hold on to, that'll give meaning to life, aren't we all the same? This manga forces you, to face reality, and somehow after reading these stories, I became a wee bit more pragmatic, and a bit more closer to myself.
Coming to grips with the harsh realities one faces in adolescence, the insecurity of one's place and purpose in the world, the realization of one's true self, and the impact that society can have on a person: these are all realistic obstacles and troubles that humans face every day.
Rather than one overarching story plot, the story divides itself into multiple short stories with different characters and their own array of problems. Overall, most of the stories are well done as each handles the situation in their own way, whether there was a good result in the end or not. The 4th chapter is
the one story that I believe is handled the best as story and characters are seen from the viewpoints of three different characters, and one can see the true impact of how one has effected the other character and their thoughts process as a whole, rather than the preconception one character might have had on another. Some of the chapters however would benefit from having more attention as some of the characters didn't feel as well developed as they could have been (most notably, chapter 5).
To those who may have read Asano's other works, then it may be no surprise for you that the art is very detailed and quite beautiful with the attention that is put into the characters and the backgrounds. This is even true for the bizarre facial expressions that are common through the manga, which can add a comedic effect even when misfortune is happening to an individual.
If you're fine without a work having an overarching plot and if you a manga that can hit close to home with others, than I'd greatly recommend this. If you want something similar that's a bit lighter, check out Solanin, but if you want a work that's a bit more cynical with a darker plot, check out Oyasumi Punpun.
Inio Asano is absolutely brilliant! It boggles my mind why people that I know haven't read his works. After finishing "Nijigahara Holograph", upon recommendation from a fellow MAL user Ultimalord, I was absolutely impressed at the level of depth and characterization in the very few chapters. "Sekai no Owari to Yoake Mae" delivers this same quality with ease.
Sekai is a collection of stories that alone are mere glimpses into individual lives. There is a harshness to each of these fragments that deliver home a very dark reality. All of these fragments are tied together by a plethora of thematic strings, but in short
it's an unbiased, unforgiven look into life. I grew accustomed to witnessing blindly idealistic worlds formed happily in other Manga that having such a mirrored example of reality was shocking. These characters were breathing in the air of life from the hand of their creator, and some questioning why or what was the point of living at all. The thing that makes this story so brilliant ,much like Asano's other works, is that one can take away so much from it. With such a wide array of ideals, aspects of humanity, and questions posed on the page before the reader; it leads them to self discovery. The ability to reflect upon what you read, to think. Any work that can do that in such an interesting way is truly something wonderful.
The striking resemblance to reality comes partially to the credit of the art. Once again I am impressed at how Asano draws his characters, and the situations that they come into. Although I wouldn't say its outstanding, great sums it up incredibly well.
The characters in Sekai are strikingly human. No one is perfect, everyone is messed up in some way. Some have lost sight of reality, others gave up on the world, and some are just trying to do one of the few rights us humans have in this world: the right to live. The only deduction that I have is not necessarily a bad thing. Since Asano made such a point to provide such a wide array of characters and stories, we obviously don't spend to much time on one specific set of characters. So we don't get to know everything about them, but even then Asano gives the reader Gods view of these people. We peer into a moment in their lives (sometimes even their pasts) and learn tons about who they are as humans. I just thought it was something to address, but still Characterization is handled very well.
What else but the highest could I give this. Specially when my own enjoyment comes into play. Enjoyment isn't really best word for this tho. It's more of an appreciation for the work itself. Any thing from any medium that can make me sit down and reevaluate my life is truly something outstanding.
A journey into humanity, "Sekai no Owari to Yoake Mae" is something that should be read. I would recommend this in a heart beat, just so you can go along for the ride. It's something truly special, and one of my favorites by a long shot. Asano you continue to impress me. As always thanks for reading.
Personal, emotional turmoil has a way of rearing its hideous and unpleasant head at the worst times. Just whenever one believes to have conquered an insecurity, gain a true understanding of self, or have found peace with someone, it falls apart or is demolished by something unforeseen. Situations like these have been utilized in manga many times before, but it seems that there is an abundance of duds that fail to capture the feelings and/or tell it an engaging fashion. Fortunately, not every manga must fall under that disappointing and dismaying category. "Before Dawn and the End of the World" is a great collection of
short stories that enclose interesting characters, pleasant artwork, and emotional resonance; all of which come together and work in powerful cohesion.
There are many characters that are shown that all vary in: age, personality, gender, and general cause of distress. They all are people who share in common the fact that they are all trying to cope with their problems. There is much sadness and tribulation in the world, and much is showcased in this manga. Conclusions to the stories are realistic in how they aren't always gleeful or happy. Heartbreak, angst, or identity crisis, they are all displayed well through the characters. Honestly, the only major flaw is not that their problems are uninteresting, but that sometimes they aren't as developed as they should be. Some work in a satisfying way with the short amount of pages they last for, but others are definitely hindered by the limited length. Fortunately, there are only a few lackluster stories, and they don't put much of a damper on the overall manga.
The artwork is well-made. The manga consists mostly of neatly drawn lines, but is not afraid to get messy or rough if necessary. Overall, the artwork is not hurried or mediocre. For example, the backgrounds are detailed and are impressively realistic. They contain many urban locations, so the detail enhances the realistic and contemporary feel the manga strives for. Character designs are more minimal and are not as refined but still pleasing. Younger female characters somewhat resemble Chica Umino's (Honey and Clover) character art, but they are not massively reminiscent, whilst maintaining Asano's unique artistic touch. Of course, many of the characters have Asano's lovely trapezoid-like eyes that he features in all of his works. The facial expressions they all show are gratifying and convey their feelings well.
Inio Asano might have made other manga that I value just somewhat more than this one, but this one surely still manages to be absorbing and profound on its own. "Before Dawn and the End of the World" is what an accumulation of dramatic slice-of-life short stories should be like. Emotionally-involving stories that encapsulate certain feelings, be them negative or positive, and tell them in an interesting way that makes it easy to relate to. This component, along with the quality artwork, make this a solid and unforgettable manga.
Eight Pleasing, Satisfying, and Loving Kisses out of Ten.