If there is one mangaka that I want to know about, it’s Naoki Urasawa. I am still not the largest manga reader because I haven’t sold my soul and opened my wallet for tons and tons of manga volumes. The lack of money ad space plays a part here. A thing that is sad considering that there are great things out that that aren’t available in anime form. I’m lucky enough to watch Naoki Urasawa’s Monster in anime form and that’s almost perfect. I can’t imagine what Pluto, 20th Century Boys, or who knows what else are like. Maybe one day.
Sneeze is a collection of eight disjointed Naoki Urasawa short stories. They come in different lengths, tell different sorts of stories, and have different sorts of art styles. Collections like this are ways to dig deeper into a creator’s mind. What kind of stories they think about on their free time, what sorts of things they like, and so many other things from their free thoughts that they just want to draw. What do we learn from Naoki Urasawa from these stories? A lot actually. It’s pretty cool.
Four of these stories are centered on grounding the super natural. The focus isn’t the super natural aspects themselves, but how people are effected by them. One part featured a person that can kill just by looking at someone for an extended amount of time. That ability was used in a criminal under world for someone’s gains. There is also a reporter that runs into a fortune teller, a weeb that visits Japan to see a monster attack and learns morality and humanity, and the wife of a super hero and the super hero arguing before he fights in the name of heroism. Ordinary things from super natural elements.
Naoki Urasawa also really likes western music. I’m not kidding you about this. One short story formed from him just google searching women and guitars. Another features him either going to or picturing himself going to Woodstock, watching the last Beatles live performance, and naming other things. He really likes the work of Bob Dylan and so do some of the characters and old men he draws in some short stories. It’s kind of cool because you know he loves something when he writes a chapter or two of manga about it. This is pure thought from the creator, after all.
That being said, this manga is titled Sneeze and that is what it is. A series of short stories of different varieties in on package and in different qualities. Even different art styles and panel usages. This is quite a unique package in that way. Some of these pieces are things that seem to have a point. Other pieces are there just to be there and don’t have a major point at all. I like reading it myself, which is why I am going to give it a good. Still, it’s hard to recommend because of the mixed nature of this manga volume. If you are a Naoki Urasawa fan though, easy recommend. No question about it.