Not Simple

Life is hard. You can tell by how depressing
 everything is.
The one-shot manga is a special breed. In many cases, the one-shot is the most literary type of manga you can get. not simple by Natsume Ono (of Ristorante Paradiso fame)is one of the best examples of that I can imagine. It has all the hallmarks of contemporary written literature. A framing narrative, clever reverse chronologies, and big, classic, stage-worthy twists.

The art style is, ehhh, different. It's sketchy, with big heads and wispy bodies. It has a very American feel to it, to me. That was the main detractor, the first read-through, but then I realized that the style is actually nicely complementary to the story, because it fades and you focus more on the story. In the one-shot, that's a nice touch, because considering you only have so much real estate to tell the story, you have to keep the reader focused on it.

But not simple is so much more than that. Every time I read this book, I'm reminded of the film "elephant" by Gus Van Zant. If you haven't seen it, it's a movie that's about a school shooting. There are several different view points, and each time you get a different view the day progresses, and you get more backstory, until the shooting actually goes down at the very end. not simple has the same pacing of that movie, but each view is just a different part of the main character's, Ian, life. and let me warn you now, Ian's life is pretty damn depressing (also much like "elephant").

Ian is raised, horribly, by his alcoholic mother. He has a father, who splits pretty quickly. Ian also has a sister who tries to take care of him. I hesitate at what to include in this review, because if you haven't read it yet, any information beyond this would largely ruin the story for you, and that would actually be a shame because it's a good one.

So go read it now, bookmark this, and read the rest of the review after. ^^; k? k.

Ian, as you now know, is a bastard, incest child.

But the weird thing is, he never wallows in it. If I were in his shoes, I think I'd be a bit more sullen and have some outbursts of murder. But Ian is a hell of a guy, or at least, he's a hell of an unruffled individual.

The first time I read it, I didn't pick up on a lot of what was going on. The whole sex for pay, the AIDs business, went totally over my head for whatever reason. But the next time, I had a bit of jaw drop.

Then there's Jim, the author, who I can't really call a friend, because he's such a useless, apathetic spectator. I just can't stand characters like Jim. 

The more I write about not simple, the more difficult it is to express the way that it makes me feel. I'm sad for Ian, and his death was sad, but the disaffected way people float in and out of life makes me somewhat envious of him. Also, characters who wander from place to place are generally awesome.

The moral of the story is never let a rich married woman buy you a suit, because you'll die in that suit.


William Shakespeare said...

oh I've been wanting to read this!!!

Mr. Empty said...

You should, it's excellent. It's really literary. Get past the weird art style and you find yourself with a very nicely written one-shot.