Manga of the Month: SolaninAugust 2, 2012
I would call Solanin a coming-of-age, the kind that comes when you are in your 20’s and transition from college student to working adult. “Real life” hasn’t quite kicked in yet for our characters; they aren’t sure where exactly to go next creating a sort of holding pattern. The journey that occurs, that journey that you can no longer avoid, doesn’t happen at the same time for everyone. Solanin is about that road that you follow without knowing where it will lead.
The story follows Meiko in her early 20’s who up and quits her boring job, then instead of finding a new one spends the next couple of months deciding just what she wants out of life. A part of this journey is her long-term musician boyfriend Taneda and her collection of college friends all at various stages in the same road. It touches quite poignantly on Japanese youth culture and a difficult economy, which also makes it quite relevant to today’s American 20-somethings, too. Music and friendship dovetail wonderfully to create a hopeful story spurred on by tragedy.
I recognized these people, the relationships, and their questions; it will certainly resonate for anyone out of college. The emotions, reactions, and thoughts seen through the characters of Solanin are utterly genuine and honest. Plus, the ending felt right without grasping for a concrete conclusion to lives that have only just begun.