First, let’s all appreciate this crochet themed cover! I particularly like the floral granny square blanket and the roses on the back cover.
And now to my favorite part of volume 6: Ranmaru always felt out of place in the fishing village where he grew up, and even going away to college didn’t magically fix that feeling of unbelonging. It wasn’t until he met Goda and the Art Squad crew that he finally felt like he had found his people. He still has to work to overcome his self-doubt neurotic tendencies, but knowing that he belongs somewhere gives him the strength and the courage to strive to be his best self. It’s one of the things I love best about this manga.
And in volume 6, Ranmaru uses the insights he’s gained during his personal growth to try to help his mentor overcome a deep creative block. Goda, although he is the leader of the Art Squad, purposefully keeps some distance between himself and the rest of the crew. Initially, Ranmaru was too scared by Goda’s gruff persona to push past this emotional barrier. But the thought of creating something meaningful with Goda gives him the courage to suggest something audacious—they should make a movie together!
It turns out that when he was younger, Goda directed a short movie that incorporated stop motion animation. It won a prestigious award and also gave a young Ranmaru the hope to continue looking for a place where he belonged.
Most of the Art Squard don’t want to push Goda, but Ranmaru senses that the Chief’s protestations are a smoke screen for something else that is bothering him. By finally opening himself up emotionally when he explains why the first movie was so important to him and why making another movie matters too, Ranmaru allows Goda to unleash his suppressed emotions. And once Goda exposes his greatest fears, Ranmaru and the rest of the Art Squad can give him the support he needs to overcome them (after a little more yelling and chasing and letting off steam).
I love this development because it shows Ranmaru coming into his own, feeling sure enough in his place in the Art Squad that he can risk confronting the prickly Goda. And it allows Goda, usually so self-assured and in charge, to have a vulnerable, achingly true moment. I think releasing these pent up emotions is what allows Goda to move forward in volume 7. But we’ll get to that in August!
Read a free preview of Behind the Scenes!!, Vol. 6 here.
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