BLOG Sorako: A Beautiful Slice Of Life In Manga

One of the things that has always fascinated me about comics is how easily the medium adapts to any kind of story, and how, at times, reluctant it is to do so. Don’t worry, I’m not going to bang the drum about how we should all stop buying superhero books because they’re not artistically worthy because I don’t believe that. Sequential art is sequential art and you find what you love where you find it, no one else.

But colour outside the lines a little and you get some really amazing work. The extraordinary bodies of work of Eddie Campbell and Marc Ellerby are great examples of this in the UK, as is the work of the late, great Harvey Pekar in the US. However, the idea of comics about ordinary life, and exploring how that ordinary life can be made extraordinary and beautiful is something that only manga publishers truly excel at.

Which brings us to Sorako, by Fujumura Takiyuki. Sorako is a normal twenty-something. She has a dog. She applies for jobs, and she gets through the days the same way we all do, one step at a time. The point here is not the plot itself but the commonality of experience. Sorako’s life is the same as ours; completely mundane and filled with moments of extraordinary beauty as a result. There’s no real sense of urgency, no driving plot, because there isn’t one in the real world, and that, fundamentally, is where the comic is set. The ebb and flow of conversation and the world Sorako makes her way through are all beautifully captured by Takiyuki’s subtle, expansive style, grounding the story and letting each moment breath.

This is beautifully observed work, funny without being forced and empathic without being manipulative. It’s also currently being financed through KickStarter by publisher GenManga. Their plan is to raise funds for a print run of the complete title and some of the pledge levels look excellent. Digital copies, wallpapers, print copies and sake cups are all up for grabs and most importantly, the book’s easily achievable.

Sorako is a beautiful series about life, dogs and occasional jobs. It’s a series about how life happens whilst everything else is going on. It’s a series that anyone who has hit the aimless period of their twenties will recognise and it’s a must if you’re a fan of slice-of -ife comics at their best. Sorako’s life is universal, Sorako’s life is unique and Sorako’s life makes for fascinating, familiar reading. This bsolutely deserves your attention.

Alasdair Stuart

For more information go to the Kickstarter page or the GenManga page.