YKK, or Record of a Yokahoma Shopping Trip, ran for about 150 episodes. Here at HU we decided to read the first seven chapters and compare notes. Bill started here, Noah continued here. Miriam will talk tomorrow, and tonight I do my post.
YKK part 3: A quiet inn late in the day
by Tom Crippen
This is the first manga I’ve sat down and read thru, not counting 10 issues of Akira back in 1988. It’s all new terrain to me. So I will treat this post as live blogging and just record my impressions.
Two things hit me right off:
1) the drawing is excellent
2) the story is close to nonexistent
A third realization hits me:
3) the setting is the future and everything has fallen apart. But it’s pleasant.
That last one throws me a bit: a pleasant post-apocalypse. But we’re talking Japan, so whatever.
I read the pages fast. They’re printed out from my computer, one page per file, 150 total: the first seven chapters, published back in 1994 for (I gather) middle-aged Japanese men riding the train between office and home. My printer’s ok, and the art is all black and white, but the pictures still drop a notch from the originals. They’re in decent form but not at their best. Even so … that is some great art. A pile of it, just like that.
This is my first time around with right-left pages, but the layouts are huge and that helps. The series has got flow like crazy; every page has a gentle sway that starts in the linework and runs up into the panel arrangements, or vice versa. The detail work is splendid: look at that man draw a sack of rice or a porch’s floorboards or the mellowed, going-to-seed, post-apocalyptic motorways the characters travel along. And everything has life: bodies, trees, clouds in the sky. Page after page. Is this ordinary for Japan?
From Bill and Noah, and from Bill’s links to Dirk Deppey, Jog, and Madink, [UPDATE: I just found out Madink is DerikB] I gather that this level of play is admirable but not exceptional. I would gather that Ashinano is respected but not held out as an outstanding master. Well, damn. That’s encouraging as to the state of Japanese art.
The story … well, the story’s title is Record of a Yokohama Shopping Trip, that’s for the whole series, and there’s just one shopping trip to Yokohama, in the prologue. When you’ve been gaslighted like that, it’s hard to think straight about story. You don’t expect to be in a frame of mind where you can make reasonable judgments about connections. Does the story make sense? Is it worth following? Yeah, I don’t know.
From the posts before mine, I gather that YKK is especially uneventful. Other Japanese comics aren’t this tranquil.
The style of caricature … but the counter guy just told me they’re closing the Cafe Depot, so there goes my Internet. I will go now. Miriam can pick up tomorrow.