Modern mainstream avant-garde manga creator Usamaru Furuya could also be greatest identified to American readers for his off-kilter humorous shops Genkaku Picasso and Lychee Gentle Membership. His two-volume 1999 manga story The Music of Marie (Marie no Kanaderu Ongaku) is comparatively unknown amongst American readers regardless of having been beforehand formally translated into French and Spanish languages. Due to One Peace Books, the beautiful The Music of Marie could lastly attain the big English-speaking viewers that it deserves. Usamaru’s profound philosophical drama is an affecting, unforgettable story addressing human nature, expertise, psychology, and theology.
Particularly in recent times, the idea of world constructing has change into a buzz phrase amongst critics and shoppers of fantasy literature. The time period is incessantly generously utilized to any and each story that manages to depict a setting with any diploma of creativity. Usamaru’s Music of Marie legitimately deserves the accolade, nonetheless, because it depicts a whole retro-futurist world with distinctive languages, social and non secular beliefs, customs, and rituals. The story is about on an island nation distinguished by its clockwork trade. The nation runs on intricate gears and sprockets, exporting iron-age machines to neighboring nations to assist its populace. Inside this setting an uncommon romantic triangle develops between the younger lady Pipi who loves her childhood pal Kai. However Kai is possessed by a compulsive adoration of the world’s clockwork goddess, the big robotic Marie that orbits the planet and ministrates its individuals. Revealing extra about how the plot unfolds does a grave disservice to future readers.
The story reveals itself slowly, initially devoting a whole lot of time to bonding readers with Pipi and Kai and their associates, households, and neighbors. Steadily the story peels again layer after layer, unveiling the clockwork beneath. The a number of plot revelations and developments are heartbreaking and provocative, forcing readers to each re-evaluate the manga story and likewise take into account bigger, real-world ethical and philosophical quandaries. The manga could also be greatest described as a up to date fairy story for mature readers. Akin to manga by Hayao Miyazaki, Hiroki Endo, and Kenji Tsuruta, The Music of Marie is akin to an ethical parable. The story encourages readers to change into invested within the characters earlier than asking the reader, by way of the characters, to think about troublesome emotional and moral decisions.
Whereas Usamaru Furuya writing feels pure and plausible, the graphic illustration is hanging and cinematic. Character faces have comparatively little element as a way to place higher emphasis on their expressions. Even characters with temporary appearances and minor roles specific a substantial amount of character by way of small gestures, reactions, and snippets of dialogue. Backgrounds, environments, and clothes, nonetheless, are drawn with large consideration given to element and texture. Stone flooring, partitions, and fences really feel as in the event that they elevate off the web page. Distinctive tradition is represented by way of costume design, jewellery, and physique ornament.
As a “seinen” manga focused at younger grownup readers, The Music of Marie accommodates no overt sexuality or violence; nonetheless, the mature drama does briefly reference mature themes together with sexuality, alcohol abuse, and the tragic impacts of struggle together with terrorism, hunger, and grotesque demise. Though briefly referenced, a number of the thematic materials in The Music of Marie could also be upsetting for younger readers.
One Piece Books’ localization of The Music of Marie presents the whole sixteen chapter story plus prologue and afterword in a single 528-page quantity. Six pages are included in full shade. The interpretation accommodates no grownup language. Because the story takes place in a fantasy setting, no Japanese terminology is included or needed. Visible sound results are translated discretely inside panel.
From its outset The Music of Marie looks like an unsettling, anxious elder cousin to Hayao Miyazaki’s Laputa: Fortress within the Sky. Not flashy or sensationalistic, The Music of Marie step by step and intentionally constructs an enchanting tragic story that alternates between pessimistic and optimistic. The story is thought-provoking, heartbreaking, and really memorable: one that may keep in readers’ minds lengthy, lengthy after the ultimate web page. Readers that admire distinctive manga storytelling and comedian readers that admire an uncommon, considerate, and distinctive visible story ought to place The Music of Marie amongst their “should learn” titles.