Nut Ink. Mini reviews of texts old and new. No fuss. No plot spoilers. No adverts. Occasional competency.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Dream Fossil (2015)

Author: Satoshi Kon  |  Illustrator: Satoshi Kon  |  Page Count: 426

"Ten years from now, you'll look good holding manilla envelopes."

Fifteen short mangas by Satoshi Kon arranged mostly chronologically from the years 1984-89. Having them presented that way enables a reader to chart the evolution and clarity of vision that bordered the path to peculiarity he walked, a path that led the author into the role of revered anime director.*

Of the fifteen, only about one third of them are what I'd call memorable. Furthermore, with the exception of an opening story that could make a really interesting short film, the better stories don't come until halfway into the book.

Fans of Kon's films will recognise seeds of ideas that he'd develop further and more successfully later in his career. My favourite story, Joyful Bell (1989), reminds me very much of his Tokyo Godfathers (2003) anime, ironically my least favourite of his films and the only one I'm not sad isn't available on blu-ray.

Also notable are the stories Kidnappers (1987), Guests (1987), and Beyond the Sun (1988). The latter is the one where I most felt the music of Susumu Hirasawa as an influence. Coincidently, the book includes a short interview with the musician. Far from being filler, it offers an insightful glimpse into the simpatico the two men shared as it refers to their frequent, creative collaborations.

It’s published by Vertical, who also handled Kon’s Tropic of the Sea (2013) manga. You’d think they’d have had the good sense to make it the same size so that the two can be comfortably shelved next to each other. But no; Dream Fossil is bigger. They did the same with their Makoto Shinkai books. That pisses me off.

The increase in size wasn't accompanied by an increase in paper quality. Looking at Fossil and Tropic side by side I'm half-convinced that it's even lower grade than before. I'm extremely grateful and supportive of Vertical taking a chance on this type of thing, sincerely, but please don't skimp on the presentation. Strive to be the best you can be and I'll happily give you my money time and again.

2½ weathered serials out of 5

*You can find short reviews of Satoshi Kon's films on our sister site, In a Nutshell.

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