I don’t think it really should shock anyone, but I seem to be growing more and more as a Fujimoto fan as time goes on. Very excited by the birthday present Fujimoto is giving me by starting the second part of Chainsaw Man on July 13th. In general though, I really think he is an extra talented writer who just has a lot to say. Especially regarding his or other people’s relationship to media. This 18 page one shot with him as the writer and the mangaka behind To Strip The Flesh as the artist, Ota Toda, captures something about seeing things that aren’t there in what we watch.
Just Listen To The Song is a very thin and bare bones story. Stripped down to the point where none of the characters have names. It works because the story is really simple and easy to understand with the focus on two characters and then the rest of the crowd being noise. One boy tries to confess to the very disinterested girl he likes by linking to a YouTube video of a song he wrote about her. Of course she says no and thus links the video to the entire school because of how funny it was. Slowly, the YouTube video becomes a world wide sensation for all the wrong reasons. Our boy writes another song, but it gets panned for it. Nothing is working for him.
Since this is a short comic, the entire point of this one shot is pretty easy to understand. People online are all over the photo because they see things in it that aren’t there. Suddenly people are translating the lyrics of the video into a different language and find a different meaning in it. Or maybe they see a ghost in the window and see a message in that. Or people are playing it backwards and seeing a criticism of American Gun Culture? Guys, its just a love song about a boy telling a girl what he likes about her. It really does show the fleeting nature of being online where something can just get popular for the wrong reasons or being taken completely out of context of what the original point is. This is something that happens all the time.
At the risk of doing a lot of what these people are doing with a simple online video, there is a another idea that is attached to this one shot too. That being how just impossible understand and control the internet is. Or possibly how incomprehensible is for some one so young who doesn’t understand it. Our boy made a second song expecting it to be like the same thing, but he clearly didn’t understand why it was getting popular either. Him taking down the two videos kind of adds to that with the resultant “those are already downloaded by so many people over the internet”, because that is how the internet is. Everything that is online will be online for forever no matter what we do. The internet is not a private chatroom, its connected to the world.
For an 18 page short comic, it was very good. I do think that as a writer, Fujimoto is a lot better at making longer narratives with characters that we know or understand more over the course of a story. Just Listen To The Song uses a lot of short hand with cutting of who the focus characters and other things to get it to work and it is pretty successful at doing what its doing. The art work from Ota Toda is very clean and very different from what we see from Fujimoto with different styles of paneling and other all language, but the two work very well with each other. Maybe its because they are on a similar wave length. I would like to see more from them in the future.