So my coworker thinks he can convert me into a manga/anime nerd. Truth is, I’ve dabbled in those realms before. With the help of Adult Swim, I managed to watch Trigun and Cowboy Bebop — both containing their western allure that drew me in — as well as, FLCL and Paranoia Agent. Death Note might have joined the ranks had I stuck it out — apathy to catch up with the series led to the demise of interest (though, I always say I’ll return to it someday). But manga? Outside of FLCL, I never purchased anything authentic (is FLCL even authentic, come to think. Didn’t that work itself backwards?). I have an “manga-style” adaptation of a Sandman-character Death tale, but that’s as far as my interest spanned. That is until the itch, which coincided with my coworker creating an online anime/manga club (you can check out my profile here).

Utsubora by Asumiko NakamuraBrowsing through Barnes and Noble Wednesday — contemplating the purchase of the full color softcover edition of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski — I found myself in the graphic novel/manga aisle staring at a dark-haired beauty. Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist. A two-volume tale packed into a single book. A tale of plagiarism, death, sex, deception, and passion.

Asumiko Nakamura begins her tale with the death of a young woman. A suicide that brings to light the sins of a seasoned writer. Translator Yoshito Hinton succeeds (considering I cannot read the original language, I’m unsure if I can assume) in bringing the emotion Nakamura conveyed in her art. As a fan of erotic tales, the addition of those scenes in this story carried me forward — nothing in this tale is without reason. A must read for any fan of manga and an excellent introduction for beginners (especially those who love a good tale). An overall four-star out of five book.

You can buy Utsubora: The Story of a Novelist at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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