Review: Tokyo These Days by Taiyo Matusmoto [Vol 1]


Tokyo These Days has found me at the right place and the right time to be particularly hard-hitting. It follows Shiozawa, a manga editor who has recently retired following a failed magazine launch. Shiozawa struggles with his newfound retirement. At first, he tries to distance himself from manga and the industry, but his creativity and love for the art are not gone and he is slowly overcome by the desire to start a new project. 

This is not a plot-heavy manga. It's slow, deliberate, and peaceful. Achingly so. Matsumoto captures the feeling of a creative person who has labored unseen and largely unrecognized for decades. Shiozawa is good at his job. The art he loves to make is no longer the art that sells, and a pure love of manga is no longer enough to keep him going. Once separate from the industry grind, though, Shiozawa's passion is rekindled. I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.

Matsumoto captures the feeling of aging in a creative space in a way that I haven't seen portrayed in manga before. His art is simultaneously realistic and dreamlike. It's difficult to describe. His wobbly lines portray realistic figures and environments combine to give the reader a sense that the whole thing is a fuzzy memory. They feel like people you may have met and places you may have been, but maybe you weren't paying attention. The art and the story complement each other perfectly to create tension in an otherwise simple story. There's a sadness that is always threatening to creep in if Shiozawa lets it. 

It's entirely possible that others won't get as much out of this as I have. As an aging creative facing the realistic possibility of going to my grave unfulfilled, this hit me hard. I suspect I'll be thinking about it for a while. 

This is a crosspost from my Goodreads


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