The elm and Other Stories Deluxe Edition, Ryuichiro Utsumi & Jiro Taniguchi | Review


Published on Feb 19, 2019


Planet Manga again, in a new Deluxe edition, The elm and Other Stories or the comics adaptation made by Jiro Taniguchi for some short stories by Ryuichiro Utsumi.

The book winds through eight short stories/chapters all independent of each other but which can, ideally, be covered by the definition in vogue today, but unpublished at the time of these adaptations, slice of life.

Jiro Taniguchi select in the wide range of Ryuchiro Utsumi those stories that provide that is, a point of view that straightforward and sincere about the feelings, on interpersonal relations and, more in general, on the “passage of time” for the man, understood in its most general as possible.

In this sense, it is a declaration of intent that the first chapter/story that gives the title to the book The elm, where an elderly couple moves to the suburbs and must learn to live with an elm. At first considered annoying, the tree in its unchangeable immovability, then, becomes a symbol of man's transience, but also as a source of security and peace of mind.

Then there are the grandparents from difficult relationships with the grandchildren that you accused him of not having raised their own children – Chapter Two; the loves passed over for his own selfishness, but that come back in unexpected moments – Chapter Three.

There is the relationship between brothers frank and “bizarre” in its resolution as in Chapter Four, or more dramatic such as in Chapters Five and Seven – perhaps those less “successful” of the book.

And finally, there is a mourning in Chapter Eight perhaps the most heartbreaking because it tells above all the lack of communication.

What is striking of these adaptations is the ability of the sensei Taniguchi to avoid the effect of “session of psychoanalysis” as well as the easy “rarefaction” of the story. The chapters, instead, are alive, concrete and real: they talk about " yes " feelings, but thanks to the use of “foreign” – the tree in the first chapter, or even the art in the final one – these feelings are filtered and returned in their form daily, and as already said real.

From the graphic point of view, it is evident the intention of Jiro Taniguchi to adopt a more possible realistic. Here, then, is that the stretch, while maintaining its unique, fold the soft line and the lines melliflue to pay more attention to the details – such as the representation of nature and animals, important components of some of the chapters – as well as for the anatomies, postures, and facial expressions. It then increases the frequency of the line while equally interesting is the construction of the table that balances the verticality and the horizontality, but the boxes are always wide open, allowing for often the illustrations full-page almost to want to focus on certain elements/situations to the attention of the reader.

The elm and Other Stories is a book of deep, not easy to dig deep into the human feelings by revealing weaknesses, uncertainties, and often selfishness. Of the eight chapters but not all of them hit the full target, those who succeed, however, for the most part, to tell the truth, are really the brush strokes quick and sudden that I take full advantage of the human soul.

As far as the new Deluxe edition, Planet Manga, change format, with a cardboard cover that replaces the paperback, and proposes, for the first time The elm and Other Stories with a sense of the original reading. In addition, the post-faction signed by the same Utsumi there are no other additional content. Good adaptation and translation are reported only a few less “safe” but this does not affect the reading.

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