Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Book Review: Red Colored Elegy by Seiichi Hayashi

The more books I read by Japanese authors, the more I think that I do not possess the level of self-awareness and intellect needed to read Japanese authors.

Introspective, moody and steered primarily through the body language of the characters, Red Colored Elegy is a poetic graphic novel about a couple, Ichiro and Sachiko. Written by Seiichi Hayashi in the seventies, it feels very much like I'm 'reading' a Japanese arthouse film.

It's about love, heartbreak, death, and the mishmash of feelings that every young person struggling with making a living for the first time has to go through. That's pretty much the best way I can sum up this book. Ichiro and Sachiko are a young couple, living in Japan in the seventies, trying to make it as a comic artist and an animator respectively. While it's set in a politically turbulent time in Japan's history, Ichiro and Sachiko skirt around the politics, as they are focused on their own personal struggles.

It's a pretty graphic novel, and it didn't take me long to read at all. Perhaps if I had reflected more on the meaning behind the art it would have taken me longer. I'm really shitty at doing that though, especially if the art is a little more obtuse than I'm used to. It's the same thing that makes me think poetry is boring. Admitting that is probably the most embarrassing thing I can do on a blog, but I make no claims that I'm a genius critic. I likes what I likes.

That being said, I didn't hate Red Colored Elegy. Like I said before, I'm probably just not the sort of person this book is meant to be for.

Rating: Three Stars

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