Nov 6, 2020
Red Colored Elegy is surprisingly thoughtful, engaging and a hell of a lot of fun. Going in I knew very little about the book but it doesn't take long to appreciate Hayashi's paneling and stylized art and his simple yet poignant messages. Given the context of the creation of this manga along with the passing of 50 years since its publication it is nothing short of fantastic. The intricate detail of certain scenes juxtaposed with characters pushing to the edge of the iconic combined with an array of interesting panel transitions makes the dated and amateurish art so awesome. I can understand others disliking the
look of the manga, after all it is certainly not up to par in terms of detail to many of the more popular works we have nowadays. However, for me, the minimalism and the emphasis on the iconic characters creates a world which feels authentic and more easy to identify with.
There is no "story" as you generally think. No great quest, no search for deeper meaning, no mystery murderer. We simply observe two young lovers trying to find their way in the changing landscape of 1970s Japan. There isn't much of a conclusion either, life goes on. Despite this work being heavily rooted in contemporary Japanese culture the themes are universal. There will always be societal shakeups. There will always be times of political movements. The youth will struggle to find their place. This to me is what makes this manga so wonderful and so fulfilling to read. It is bold in its artistic choices and in its narrative. Not because it is gratuitous but because it is simple. It doesn't try to force a message on you, it doesn't try to awe you with a gold coating, it is an honest presentation of our universal experience. And because of that, I couldn't help falling in love with it.
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