Downfall

Yours always
by Inio Asano | Graphic Novels |
ISBN: 9781974709366 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 3/11/2020
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, March 11, 2020
I got this softcover at Barnes and Noble. It's a single-volume manga about a manga writer who's under a lot of pressure to create his next series. (I'd read the author's Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction Vol. 1 a while back, but this looks very different.)

Later: The artwork's good and the storytelling effective, but oh, is this ever a downer! I hope it's not TOO autobiographical; if it is, I hope the author gets some help...

The story's book-ended by scenes from the protagonist's youth, where he is at odds with a "cat-eyed girl" who, it turns out, tells him some uncomfortable truths; too bad he doesn't take heed. As the main story opens, he's just winding up a very successful manga series after an eight-year run, a huge achievement in that very crowded industry. He's celebrated by his publisher and praised by his fans, and all seems well - except that he can't seem to focus on his next work, and winds up spending time with prostitutes (in some very explicit scenes) and browsing social media only to see his fan base growing increasingly irked at the lack of any new works.

At first he tries keeping his assistants on payroll so he won't have to start up with a new crew when he begins his next series, but he can't keep that up forever - and the most talented of them doesn't want to be doing busywork and backgrounds anyway. She wants to set out for herself - and at one point confronts our hero (?) about his less-than-stellar treatment of his assistants back in the day. [Side note: the series Bakuman presents a detailed look at the manga industry, from teens just getting started through successful artists trying to stay strong in the face of up-and-coming new stars. I found that context helpful; hadn't known the nitty-gritty of the industry before.]

The protagonist breaks up brutally with his long-suffering wife (whose career as agent for a very successful mangaka doesn't make the protagonist feel any better, even though he despises that artist's "pandering to the masses"), eventually decides to pander to the masses himself, and is more depressed than ever when his new project becomes a hit. But the fan response to it touches him - or does it?

I admit the story unsettled me, not least because many manga artists do struggle quite a bit, working long hours under great pressure, and with so much competition that it's rare to have even one successful work, never mind multiple series. I'd like to think that they love their work, and that the books I enjoy so much are not the products of nervous breakdowns, chronic depression, and broken homes - but who knows what goes on behind the scenes?

[There's a short TV Tropes page on the book.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, City Hall in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Released 1 mo ago (8/11/2020 UTC) at Little Free Library, City Hall in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Guidelines for safely visiting and stocking Little Free Libraries during the COVID-19 pandemic, from the LFL site here.

I left this book in the Little Free Library beside City Hall, newly replaced after it had been knocked down some weeks back. Hope someone enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2020 One Word Title challenge. ***

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