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RiN by ハロルド 作石
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Recently added byroguelibrarian, Shimmin



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The art in this book is great; clear, crisp, an evocative mixture of realism and impressionistic touches. Perhaps not quite as much to my taste as Obata Takeshi’s work, but very solid.

The story was, for a Japanese learner, a little harder to follow. It seems to be along the same lines as the excellent Bakuman, following a would-be manga artist’s struggles. Unlike the artistic duo in Bakuman, our hero Fushimi meets with blunt rejection on his first attempt, but I thought the story did a convincing job here: initially sure that his early practice and raw enthusiasm would do the job, he receives a sudden cold bath when his work meets a professional eye. However, determined application puts him on track.

However, this story features a second plot that initially seems entirely separate, featuring what’s presumably our heroine Rin. I confess that I was initially completely baffled by this thread. The first encounter was confusing, and Rin’s later appearances only continued my puzzlement. As far as I could tell, she was ambivalent about possibly becoming a model or an idol, or some such thing? This was due to both my limited Japanese, and the fact that I was assuming this would be a mundane story about ordinary people. I worked out only in the last few pages that Rin is, in fact, some kind of psychic or medium, who can see ghosts and/or the future and past. Having worked this out, the story makes a lot more sense. To a fluent reader it should be pretty straightforward, though!

I liked the interactions between characters here. Awkward maybe-flirting teenagers, close friends, bored professionals, would-be agents, I thought they were all pretty convincing. Rin remains mostly a closed book, but Fushimi’s own character swings between confidence, despair, uncertainty, frustration and determination in a way that feels very much like my memories of being a teenager.

I’d call this a solid book, with characters I’m happy to follow and a reasonably compelling story, despite my confusion over what that story actually is. I confess that I’m actually *less* interested in the story now that I know it’s got psychics in it, but I’m odd like that, and I’m still pretty interested. ( )
  Shimmin | Jan 3, 2015 |
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