Oct 17, 2013

What I Just Finished Reading: "Tropic of the Sea" by Satoshi Kon

Title: Tropic of the Sea
Artist/Author: Satoshi Kon
Publisher: Vertical
ISBN:  9781939130068

Purchase:  Amazon / Barnes & Noble

First Impressions:  Oh, the cover is pretty!  The story is pretty meh. There's nothing particularly good or bad about the story or the artwork. This manga is thoroughly mediocre.

Artwork -- B:  It's functional. Many pages are intricately detailed, but nothing ever caught my eye, so I didn't pause very long to see what was going on the panels.  It's very draftmen-like -- it's not pretty, nor is it ugly;  it's just there. The only illustration that stands out to me is the cover.

Presentation -- A-: The cover is gorgeous and promises a lot more than what's inside. The translation reads smoothly and the wording seems true to the lackluster characters. Not having access to the Japanese now, I don't know whether the blandness was intended or whether there's more color to the characters in the original Japanese.  The afterword being in English reading order was a little jarring. I was very confused at first (you have to flip the book backward).  There are some nice extra illustrations at the end.

The Story -- C:  The story is like "Goonies" without the fun and wonder.  It's a coming of age adventure and the last hurrah for some young adults before their small town gets mowed down and turned into a tourist resort destination.  The townspeople are good and believe in their local mythology. The developers are bad and only after money. And, of course, the main character's father is the one who sold the town out. YAWN.  Sooo as a fun exercise, if I write the words "Teenagers" "Mermaid Egg Legend" and "Land Developers", what complete story flashes across your mind? That half-second mental construction is the story.  That's it. There's nothing to anticipate. Boo...

Overall -- C: This manga is thoroughly average. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in the story. The artwork is draftmen-like. It's very mechanical in construction and so consequently there is no "heart" or passion in this story or the artwork. It just lies there like unflavored gelatin. For me, this is worse than being bad, because at least it's interesting to see how bad something bad can get. I recommend buying this if you wanna buy it for the "Satoshi Kon" name.  Otherwise skip it, because what you imagined in half of a second was probably a lot more interesting than this manga.