The creator of Chainsaw Man spins a tale about the power of friendship.
Tatsuki Fujimoto has proven himself to be a storyteller with more than one card up his sleeve. In fact, he seems to have a few decks. Fire Punch displayed his penchant for dark and disturbing content. Next, Chainsaw Man revved up the manga world and showed off more of his wild side and his ability to appeal to a wider audience. This would be plenty enough to show his chops as a top-tier mangaka, but Fujimoto Sensei has gone even further by unexpectedly releasing a couple of one-shot manga volumes that have caught readers by surprise with their unexpected sophistication, surreal visuals, and nuanced characters. He’s pushing the boundaries of what manga can be, and his latest title Look Back will impress you.
It’s the story of two young artists who strike up an unlikely friendship while drawing comic strips for their school newspaper. Fujino is a popular kid who draws humorous strips, but her art is not exactly amazing. Kyomoto is a shut-in with devastating social anxiety that keeps her from attending school, but her art is advanced for her age. When asked to drop off a grade school diploma at Kyomoto’s house, Fujino is shocked to discover that Kyomoto is a huge fan. They decide to draw manga together and, in doing so, strike up a beautiful friendship. That chance encounter shapes both their destinies in very different ways.
Like in all of Fujimoto Sensei’s body of work, the art in Look Back is exceptional, but there’s a quietness to the tale that makes it special. As Fujino and Kyomoto spend time together drawing, there are numerous textless panels of them drawing manga in their rooms, both together and apart. This conveys their loneliness when they’re drawing by themselves, as well as the camaraderie when together. It also conveys the quiet solitude that comes with being a mangaka, something Fujimoto Sensei is obviously familiar with.
Look Back is an exquisite piece of manga that feels different from Tatsuki Fujimoto’s body of work, yet at the same time familiar. All manga is art, of course, but there’s a difference between high art and consumer art, and this veers into the former. This is a powerful tale that provokes the reader to sit and ponder the fickle nature of fate.
Order a copy of Look Back, story and art by Tasuki Fujimoto here!
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