Yatora Yaguchi is a second-year high school student who hangs out with the “delinquents,” but he works really hard to get good grades despite his appearance. Everyone in Yatora's class is starting to figure out what college and profession they want to go into, but Yatora isn’t sure what he wants to do once he graduates. None of his hard work makes him feel alive, and he has no particular passions or hobbies. After seeing a beautiful painting in his art class, he decides to actually put some effort into his art assignment to paint “your favorite scene”. He finds immense satisfaction in painting and the praise he receives even though he didn’t finish it. He starts to earnestly learn art in the hopes of making it into Tokyo University of the Arts, a highly competitive, but only public, university dedicated to Art.
For me, this story started out really choppy and rough. It feels like there might have been a few missing panels or speech bubbles in times of transitions, so we instead move abruptly from place to place. Once Yatora decides to learn art, the reader is learning right along with him, so there are lots of pages with dense descriptions of style, tools, and methods. This will definitely be appealing for some, but the blocks of text aren’t as intriguing as other explainer manga I’ve read recently. I did appreciate the use of real art with artist credits instead of the mangaka having to illustrate everything in very different styles.
There is some swearing. Yatora drinks beer and many of the students are seen smoking cigarettes. Kodansha rates this for Older Teen (16+), which is appropriate.
Sara’s Rating: 7/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Publication date: December 22, 2017
ISBN: 9781646511129 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, School Age, Realistic Fiction
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