On a morning in 1959 of a terrible typhoon, Asa runs to fetch the doctor for the deliver of her mother's twelfth child. On the way back home, Asa finds a burglar escaping a house with his loot and confronts him, so he kidnaps her, thinking she's the daughter of the wealthy doctor. Her kidnapper has just recently turned to a life of crime in a moment of desperation. He was a hero in WWII, a successful pilot who always brought his team home, but now can't afford a pilot's license. The two seek shelter from the terrible typhoon in a metal shipping container, and when they emerge, everything along the harbor has been destroyed. The pilot and Asa try to find their way back to her family's home, but Asa, ever compassionate, suggests they find a way to deliver food to those stranded on rooftops while they look for her family. The pilot steals a plane, Asa convinces a restaurant owner to make lots of rice balls, and the two drop the care packages from the plane using balloons tied to plastic bags. As they near where Asa's house should be, they make a startling discovery that means more than the typhoon was at work wrecking havoc on the town.
This story was an absolute joy to read, and I was actually disappointed when I reached the last page and there were no more. Asa is a fairly strange and outgoing little girl. The only drawback for me was when they take on the side mission to get everyone some rice balls. Asa emerges from the shipping container hell-bent on finding her family, but she almost forgets about finding them when she sees people waiting to be rescued. The urgency for finding her family is almost non-existent after that, and it’s more like they’ll get there when they get there.
The illustrations are absolutely amazing. The level of detail on the characters and their surroundings is astounding. The amount of expression Urasawa gets from Asa's think eyebrows is a testament to his skills.
VIZ rates this for Teen+, which could be on account of the violence (one of the characters does suffer a gunshot wound). There's also some needed historical context needed as this is Japan recuperating after World War II.
Sara’s Rating: 9/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication date: January 19, 2021
ISBN: 9781974717460 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 9/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Historical Fiction, Family
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