Graphic Novels Month: Emiko Superstar, Sunny 1, Sloth, Hilda and the Bird Parade

I have fallen in graphic novel love. And it’s name is Sunny.

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(sorry about the thumb)

Sunny is an old car (a Nissan Sunny) that sits in the compound of the Hoshinoko centre for children. It is a car in which dreams happen. The car driving dreams of young boys. Plus it’s just a good spot to hang out and have a nap, or just hide out.

It’s a bittersweet look at the lives of these young kids in this centre. Some of them have no parents, others do and unfortunately these parents are either sick or the kind of parents who really shouldn’t be parents. The kids range in age from a little toddler to teenagers. And besides the regular kid/teen woes like a crush, they have other fears of being forgotten, worries about both wanting to see and not wanting to see their parents (for fear of missing them more). Yet there are some delightful moments like a cute ‘sumo’ match with the adults and the adorable chatter from the toddler Shosuke.

I especially liked the chapter where Shosuke goes looking for four-leaf clovers and wanders out of the centre and into the town. He’s blissfully exploring and getting lost while the adults and kids, especially his tearful older brother, desperately look everywhere for him.

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The drawings are simple line drawings in black and white with the exception of the pages that begin the chapter. But the book is effervescent, full of the life in this small town in Japan.

A graphic novel gem.

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Emiko Superstar is a very different story, although she is part Japanese. But what I liked about this story is that it’s not about her being Asian or part-Asian. That she’s just a regular, albeit smart, teen looking for something to do during the summer, after all her geeky friends go off to some finance camp. She gets a babysitting gig but is drawn to this place called the Factory, after she sees this quirky girl ‘perform’ at a shopping mall. Despite Emiko’s initial shyness she’s quite determined to get herself on stage and perform. But what to perform is another question.

A great story about breaking out of one’s shell and taking chances.

sloth

Sloth is er sloth-like. Teenagers living in a small town seem to will themselves into comas and then will themselves out. A little bit weird, and for me, causing a sense of ‘ennui’ (whenever I hear that word I always think of that Gilmore Girls episode where Michel says: “Today, I am suffering from ennui”). So much so that I don’t feel like writing about this any more. Ok I leave it to Michel and Lorelei to define ‘ennui’.

 

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Hilda and the Bird Parade seems to take up from where Hilda and the Midnight Giant left off. Hilda and her mother have moved to the city, where things are a little different from their previous rural life. Hilda doesn’t quite take to her classmates’ version of fun, like doorbell-ringing pranks and wall-lounging. And when one of the kids hits a bird with a stone, Hilda is the only one to rush to help.

Alright, next up Epileptic and Nylon Road!

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