Staff Picks (June): Venice GN

Do you recall the first time you watched a Studio Ghibli film? Your Disney-conditioned senses were primed and ready for animated hijinks at the speed of light. Instead, you were introduced to an animation studio that revealed the ordinary in an extraordinary way, letting the camera linger over cooking food, falling rain, bowing flowers, and silent moments with the characters. It was a delight and a wonder to slow down, to share that quiet intimacy with the characters on the screen, and to soak in the world that was built for you.

Give me your hand and let me introduce you to Jiro Taniguchi. He passed away in February of this year, but his works are still with us and just as powerful as ever. A gifted manga creator with a litany of titles to his credit, Taniguchi’s manga preserves that same poised and graceful stillness that you glimpsed in Studio Ghibli’s films. He presents us with the perfect moment, echoing slow, subtle, notes that press insistently upon the reader the sense of being fully human within a living world so much larger than any one of us.

Do not look to Taniguchi’s works for the flashy, merchandisable characters and power-ups of the children’s manga of Japan. Instead, prepare yourself to enter a fully realized world: each blade of grass, each window’s reflection, each button on every coat, noted and placed, drawn with painstaking detail. Reading his works feels like an evening walk alone or an eye-opening journey to a new place. Peace, joy, melancholy, awe, and countless other introspective emotions linger in the linework of his pages. Taniguchi’s genius was undoubtedly in his art, but also in his observation. This man absorbed places so fully—and the emotions they evoke so distinctly—that with but paper and pen, he transports his reading audience to A Distant Neighborhood (AUG161623), to The Summit of The Gods (FEB151449), to A Zoo In Winter (APR111049), and even, in his last work, to Venice.

Sarah Martinez

Publisher: Fanfare Presents Ponent Mon
Item Code: JUN171704
Release Date: 8/30/17
SRP: $25.00

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