Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, February 07, 2010
      ( 2/07/2010 12:17:00 PM ) Bill S.  

“YOU’VE GOTTA LIVE NO MATTER WHAT THE COST.” The second volume of Inio Asano’s two-book mini-series,What A Wonderful World! (Viz Media), is very much of a piece with the first: more elegantly rendered intertwined vignettes (a.k.a. "tracks") about urban kids and young adults, struggling to make sense of a world where random catastrophe and cruelty exist alongside cherry blossoms and the simple pleasures of a bowl of ramen noodles. Though primarily realistic in his storytelling approach, Asano is not averse to slipping in a few fantastic elements: a possible hallucination by a battered man who may or may not have an encounter with a shinigami, a mysterious epidemic that makes “you totally stop thinking.”

“In a way,” one of World’s battered young protagonists thinks about the latter as he prepares to take his afflicted sister out to view the spring blossoms, “it’s a pretty convenient illness for the modern man.”

As with the first book, several telling motifs pop up in volume two: references to cram school, Japanese society’s childhood destroying educational sausage factory; the risks of Samaritan action; substance abuse and ruinous family miscommunication. In the volume’s title story, a convenience store clerk sees a stray dog with two arrows in it -- the work of punk kids using the mutt for target practice, he thinks. He lets the dog loose without bothering to try and remove the arrows. “I didn’t say I was going to rescue you,” he tells the animal, yet later, when he sees it bandaged and in the company of a homeless man he’s heartened by the sight. “The world’s not all that hopeless, after all,” he says with a smile, even as the reader realizes that the guy hasn’t done a damn thing himself to alleviate that sense of hopelessness.

In another “track,” the acting editor of a porno mag half-successfully tries to balance his job responsibilities with his role as a husband and father: the crass and the humane both competing for his attention. That Asano is able to give both sides their due is a large part of the art in this crafty manga mini-series.


# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:

A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page

Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine


Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery


Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett


Michael's Movie Palace

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag


News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

Peter David

Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Marc Bernardin

Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby


The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter

A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.

My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Roy Edroso


Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman


Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends

Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed

Powered by Blogger

    follow me on Twitter