Mar 6, 2010
Ri-chan (All reviews)
No reviews!? NOOOOO!

I read a review for this Otaku USA and really wanted to read it. Then, about a month later, it popped in the local Barnes and Nobles so of course I bought and devoured it!

not simple by Natsume Ono follows two men: One who makes the story and one who writes it. Even after reading it, I'm still not sure which one was which.

First of all, we have Ian. Ian is an Australian with a messed up family. His mother divorced his father and took him to England,even though she despised him, to get back his sister who was in jail at the time and who had done something unforgivable. His sister, Kylie, always spent as much time as she could with Ian for she loved him more than anyone else in the world. It was a shock for her when she got out jaill to find out her father and mother had split up and that Ian was in England with the mother who hated him. I took her a while to get to England and get Ian away from his alcoholic mother and by that time Ian was already scared. He then went back to Australia to live with his father, who didn't really care about his family at all, and made a promise with his sister (who was staying to take care of her mother) that he would see her again.

The main part of the book is about him trying to re-unite with his sister. He travels to Australia, to America, to England, back to America, all the while searching for the one person who ever cared for his existence.

The other main character is Jim, the homosexual reporter who wants to make Ian's life into a novel. He first meets Ian at an interview, way back when Ian did sprinting professionaly. He is fascinated by Ian's personality. He says that he is "a person unclouded by too much thought. someone who [is] simply themselves and nothing more... That's the type of person I [want] to be." He becomes Ian's only friend and learns to understand better than anyone else.

The story is tragic. There is no happy ending. No reassurance. Ian's life sucks. No if, and, or buts about it. But this seems to be a book where the story isn't the series of events, but the character who leads them. It's melodramatic and depressing but watching the character through it all, as he keeps coming back and moving forward is beautiful and hopeful. It simply breaks your heart watching this story unfold.

The art in this manga is very refined. It contrasts the stories complex and mature themes and characters by being incredibly simple and childish. You can tell, however, that the mangaka is incredibly experienced. The paneling is easy to read and flows well. Ono, despite the simple art, takes advantage of camera angles and textless panels in a very experienced and professional manner.

The only thing I can say against this manga is that the simple art makes it harder to read emotions, but it is a rare and minor irritation.

Overall, I think that this is a beautiful manga, that any lover of slice of life manga should read.

by the way, the scores i gave this manga where:
Story: 10
Art: 9
Character: 10
Enjoyment: 9 (because it's so freakin' sad!)
Overall: 10