Satoru is a 29-year-old man trying to make it as a manga artist but stuck delivering pizza instead. He can’t get to the deeper emotions his characters need because he’s bottled up so much tragedy from his childhood. Then, his pushy mother shows up and invites herself to live with him. Satoru has these inexplicable occurrences he calls “revival” - he relives a moment 1-5 minutes prior and has to figure out who he’s supposed to save. Sometimes it’s a runaway truck, sometimes it’s kids playing in abandon buildings. When tragedy strikes close to home, he begs revival to send him back far enough to fix it, and he’s sent back much more than five minutes! Now, Satoru has to figure out how to change enough to prevent several murders.
This moves fairly slowly in the first half (so volume 1), but the payoff at the end of volume 1 is absolutely worth the wait. Sanbe fleshes out even minor characters by providing lots of inner dialogue from many of his main characters. Lots of manga take the perspective of one character, but Sanbe isn’t about to let one character hog the spotlight. There is a lot of exploration into Satoru and what makes him act the way he does, and several characters have some poignant observations that could be commentaries on humans in general. The kid characters are extremely smart and perceptive, even though they're supposed to be eleven years old (but honestly, after my initial questioning of this, I forgot completely and just enjoyed the story).
Once I got sucked into volume one, I couldn't put this book down. Volume two was extremely intriguing. This story is so well written and has so much depth. The illustrations are average manga illustrations, but they are enough for the story being told. I feel that this title belongs to the fantastique, one of my favorite genres, as the "revival" power is not really explained, so there are elements of mystery, fantasy, and surrealism.
There is some violence, murder, and there is a serial killer. These are the only elements, so far, that elevate this away from younger grade levels.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 8-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Surrealism, Mystery, Fantasy
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