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June 23, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: I’ll Give it My All…Tomorrow vol. 1

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: I’ll Give it My All…Tomorrow
Author: Shunju Aono
Publisher: Viz Media, on their Viz Signature Sig IKKI imprint
Volume: Volume 1, $12.99
Vintage: 2007 by Shogakukan in Japan, May 2010 from Viz (volume 2 comes out in December)
Genre: Seinen (men ages 18-30, and older; basically, that means it’s not written for teenagers)

Shizuo Oguro is bored with his life.  He feels stagnate, like there’s something more for him than working in a corporate office the rest of his life.  At 40, he’s having a bit of a mid-life crisis, and leaves his job to pursue his dream – Shizuo wants to draw manga.  It’s a pretty random choice.  Shizuo doesn’t have the discipline or talent for drawing manga, so most of the time he lounges around his house “thinking” up ideas, while his father complains and lectures him, and his teenage daughter tries to grow up too fast to make up for her father’s lack of parenting.

In this first volume, Shizuo spends a lot of time lounging around his house doing absolutely nothing.  Once he quits his job at age 40 to “find himself,” he spends a while trying to decide what it is he wants to do.  While flipping through a magazine he spots a manga contest, and decides to enter.  From then on, he cycles through frequent periods of writer’s block, and rejection after rejection for the stories he does manage to complete.  His father berates him constantly, while his daughter serves as a mediator.  His daughter is supportive in a way, but is mostly indifferent, just trying to take care of her own life while her father is absorbed in his new lifestyle.  To get some income, Shizuo gets a job at a fast food restaurant, where he meets 26-year-old Shuichi Ichinosawa.  Shuichi has his own problems, trying to find a course for his life, much like Shizuo is attempting.  After several rejections from his assigned editor, Shizuo starts having dreams where “God” questions his progress and his motivation, like his inner consciousness.  He enters a slump and becomes unsure of the choice he has made…until a few words from his daughter kicks him into gear.

A bonus story at the end of the book, “To Live,” is about a young woman named Yukiko who is trying to find purpose in her life.  Shizuo comes upon her in the woods and stops her from committing suicide (though his role in the story is as a minor character).  Shizuo comes up with a nice metaphor about the age of a person corresponding to the time of day in a 24-hour period.  When you’re young, it’s the beginning of the day, and the whole rest of the day is still ahead of you to work with.

I talked about this title before, when it was announced by Viz that it would go into print.  My opinion of it hasn’t really changed since.  I still think it’s a title more accessible to “grown ups” than it is to teens.  And probably even more so to men than it is to females, though there’s no reason a girl wouldn’t enjoy it.  To identify with a character like Shizuo, I think you need some years under your belt.  Enough to experience that sense of…”I’m XX years old and I’m not accomplishing anything that means anything to me.”  Shuichi is a good balance, because he’s much younger, and is feeling very lost in his life.  In contrast, there’s Shizuo’s daughter, Suzuko, who seems to have a plan for her future, and is working towards it.  She takes on part-time jobs to save up for studying abroad, without even telling her father.  Shizuo isn’t totally disinterested in her, because he does worry about her well being, but because he isn’t active as a parent, Suzuko has grown more independent.

Shizuo introduces himself in I'll Give it My All…Tomorrow volume 1.

The story is still a bit painful and uncomfortable to read.  Shizuo is not a very likeable guy.  He’s not a bad person, really (there’s a scene where he plays ball in the park with some children, and he does attempt to help a few people here and there).  Everyone wants to find fulfillment in their life.  It’s the way he goes about it.  He’s sloppy, lazy, unmotivated….  I still cringe when Shizuo asks his daughter for money.  He’s a middle-aged man that is trying to start over again like he’s still 20 (I believe we call this a mid-life crisis in America).  I can’t really hold that against the guy, but he chooses his “dream” so randomly and rather half-halfheartedly, that it’s hard to take him seriously.  Especially when Shizuo himself doesn’t really take it seriously at first.  I think Shizuo embodies a lot of fears that people may have, a feeling of being lost in the world.  Yukiko echoes that as she tries to find her meaning for living.  Unfortunately Shizuo is rather…uninspiring, at least for now.

The art is not to my tastes.  It’s got good detail, but it’s lacking a lot of expressiveness in regards to the characters, which is something I place a high value on.  They all kind of walk around with the same looks on their faces most of the time.  There is a really pretty color page in the center of the book that looks to be done in water color (or simulated to look that way).  The book is pretty text heavy, and the text can look a bit crammed into the bubbles now and then, but the text itself, the translation, flows well.

Volume 2 of I’ll Give it My All…Tomorrow is scheduled to come out in December.  You can preview the manga at SigIKKI.com.

Kris
kristin@comicattack.net
@girlg33k_Kris

Review copy provided by Viz Media.

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5 Comments



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kristin Bomba, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New review: I'll Give it My All…Tomorrow vol 1 from @Viz_Media http://comicattack.net/2010/06/bblillgiveitmyall1/ #manga […]



  2. From looking at the pages here I agree with you about the art but if the story is a strong one then that might make up for the blandness of the art. Nothing just seems to “pop” with the style here.



  3. […] S. on Fevered Kiss (Manga Jouhou) Julie Opipari on vol. 10 of Gantz (Manga Maniac Cafe) Kristin on vol. 1 of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Comic Attack) Snow Wildsmith on vol. 2 of Itazura Na Kiss (Graphic Novel Reporter) Snow Wildsmith […]



  4. […] S. on Fevered Kiss (Manga Jouhou) Julie Opipari on vol. 10 of Gantz (Manga Maniac Cafe) Kristin on vol. 1 of I’ll Give It My All… Tomorrow (Comic Attack) Snow Wildsmith on vol. 2 of Itazura Na Kiss (Graphic Novel Reporter) Snow Wildsmith […]



  5. […] See my review of volume 1 here. […]



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