Saturday, 14 February 2015

I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow, Volume 2 by Shunju Aono Review

In the first book, we saw Shizuo give up his job as a salaryman (office worker) to pursue his dream of becoming a manga artist, despite being in his 40s and manga being an incredibly competitive field. The second book is more of the same. Really - read the first book? Then you’ve basically read the second one too as nearly the same things happen. Shizuo submits manga and it gets rejected. He bums around playing games and watching cartoons when he’s not creating manga or working at his fast food job. 

We learn a little bit more about him and his father’s fraught relationship, which stems from childhood, and Shizuo moves out and into his quiet and surly friend’s apartment. But really, that’s all that happens? That’s so disappointing! I was hoping SOMETHING would happen to Shizuo that’d advance his story a little. I mean, I guess it’s realistic in that someone who tries their hand at manga is going to have to go pay their dues long before they get to play the blues, but still - it’s not very interesting to read!

Shizuo’s quiet and surly friend, Ichinosawa, gets more pages though I don’t really like him much as a character. He’s a bit like Shizuo being aimless and unsure of what he wants to do, though he’s 26 and could really do anything - he just needs a push. Instead he’s a part-time waiter at a hostess bar. Alright but he still seems very one-dimensional and boring to me. 

There’s some really heavy-handed imagery in one of Shizuo’s many pep-talk sequences as he once more mentions being middle-aged and failing - cut to sun setting! - but still clinging to his dreams regardless - cut to kid’s balloon flying off and Shizuo jumping up to catch it! Subtle, eh? 

Even the format of the book is similar to the first, ending with a short story about a female character. This time her life isn’t changed by a chance encounter with Shizuo, but it’s still a young-woman-in-trouble story. Ichinosawa’s sister tries her hand at prostitution, gets away with not sleeping with her johns for a while, gets caught and roughed up, then decides that maybe she ought to get a real job. Eh. It wasn’t bad and at least it was something as opposed to nothing for much of the preceding book! 

I still like the series premise so I’ll stick with it but this second book is a very poor follow-up to a fresh and interesting first volume.

I'll Give It My All...Tomorrow, Volume 2

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