A genius, a visionary, a madman, one of many. Whatever your opinion on Tatsuki Fujimoto it is impossible to remain impassive in front of his art, making himself known first with the poignant dystopian epic of Fire Punch and then scream at everyone about his existence with the grim irrationality of Chainsaw Man. Such a young artist will turn 29 on October 10, but who has already influenced other mangaka who, after being his assistants, have found great success; let’s talk about authors like Tatsuya Endō from Spy x Family (who found success only after being his assistant), Yukinobu Tatsu from Dandadan And Yuji Kaku from Jigokuraku.
Today we begin a journey to learn more about one of the most appreciated and talked about authors of recent years. Tatsuki Fujimoto Short Stories 17-21 is a single volume published by Star Comics containing four short stories written by the author between the ages of 17 and 21; the work will be followed by Short Stories 22-26 and somehow the path will end with Look Back, another single volume that we will mention later. There is a regular edition of the work for € 5.90 (brussorato with dust jacket, 11.5×17) and a deluxe edition for € 10.90 (hardcover, 15×21).
It refers to the terrible Tohoku earthquakeof magnitude 9.0 and which also caused the infamous Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. For young people who have just entered the world of adults, ready to impress the world with their dreams, it has been extremely difficult to express themselves in the face of such a tragedy. In the heart of this young boy was born a very strong sense of helplessness, the awareness of being unable to change the fate of the world, a feeling that makes itself felt every time a catastrophe echoes in his life, but it is also thanks to this. pain and this eternal sense of defeat that the artist really is born Tatsuki Fujimoto.
In this first collection we find four works, all very different from each other but united by the taste of the absurd that distinguishes the author, as well as a (sometimes light, sometimes heartbreaking) hint of destruction that hovers in every story. Let’s talk about works Sui generis and details, the style of Fujimoto is not yet particularly mature but it is part of the game: however, if these stories have nothing in common at a narrative level, it is fun to find the red thread that unites them and that makes us understand what the Fujimoto man and artist after each of these steps, even if to complete this journey and have a truly complete overview we will still have to wait for the next releases. Below we start by talking about the short stories, don’t worry why there will be no spoilers.
Two Hens In The Backyard is the first work of the register, here Fujimoto he was just 17 years old and it was his first and true professional quality manga. The author’s trademark is immediately recognizable: the aliens have exterminated the human race but two human beings saved themselves by disguising themselves as chickens, taking advantage of the inability of the aliens to recognize other living beings if not based on summary traits. As ridiculous as the premise is in its own way, and the aliens wearing the seifuku they do not help to take everything seriously, the work has a strong morale and an ending full of surprises that manages to excite; this first work, which is presented with a disarming simplicity, immediately made us understand that we cannot and must never underestimate the meaning and power of what is written by Fujimotoregardless of how old she is.
Sasaki Stopped The Bullet is the second story and is also a favorite of Fujimoto among those present in this album, it is no coincidence that the cover is freely taken from the work. Sasaki is a student who dreams of being an astronaut but above all is madly in love with the beautiful professor Kawaguchi, who (ironically?) Told him that she is a Goddess. One day, however, an armed man, a former classmate of the teacher, bursts into the classroom who wants to take revenge for having been rejected by her in her time by killing her … or rather … by having sex with her. What will happen perhaps you can understand for yourself, but it is not surprising that it is the author’s favorite work, as Sasaki represents the first true archetype of the classic character of his stories: in love to the point of obsession, definitely a fool but with a very big heart; a story in my opinion of less impact but more consistent with the Fujimoto that we also know today.
31 pages summarized in 16
Moving forward we find a Fujimoto more and more self-confident, close to debut with Fire Punch (which took place at the age of 22, precisely the period covered by the second collection) and now his one-shot are published in the journals of Shueisha to prepare him for what would be his big debut with a series. His he editor of the time pointed out to him that he does works of 31 pages that could be summarized in 16, an element that according to the mangaka himself will accompany him for the rest of his career but which, according to the writer, could be counted without any problem among those elements that make him “real” despite the lucid madness of everything from him created without ever affecting the overwhelming impact of his works and messages; it takes mastery to keep the reader attached even when it takes you 31 pages to say something you could say in 16.
Love is blind is my favorite work of the volume. A more direct comedy, always absurd but also without any half-term, although it is narratively a long gag protracted indefinitely, presents the classic ability of the author to remain very simple in his way of communicating but not banal for this, far from it. Ibuki is the president of the student council and it is now the last day of school and he absolutely must do one thing before it is too late and he moves abroad to continue his studies: declare himself to Yuri, the vice president; doing it is not easy, you have to find great inner strength, the right words and nothing in the world can distract Ibuki from his goal, let’s repeat it: nothing in the world. I will not go into details because the story is based exclusively on this gag and I would not want to spoil it but to say that I both laughed heartily and loved this couple is an understatement.
Shikaku is the work that closes the register, a girl with clear mental and psychological problems who is continually beaten by her family, unable to accept her for what she is, who eventually becomes a hitman (Shikaku is his name but it is also one of the ways of saying “assassin” in Japanese). In front of her she will have an almost impossible task: a vampire will pay her to kill him, since he is unable to die and is now extremely bored by her very existence, so all he has to do is feel the thrill of death. The story is carried on by the sheer idiocy of the protagonist, who will sow chaos in an attempt to understand her emotions and feelings, a very nice story in which we can finally find the theme of destruction combined with the most blatant and clear idiocywhich we will find heavily in Chainsaw Man (Shikaku is a psycho girl with bangs and ponytails wearing a men’s suit, I’d say enough).
This book reflects the first steps in the world of adults of a little boy who is aware of his limitations and his fears. A boy who put them in black and white in every one of his works (death, destruction, extinction of the human race) and who, as said by himself in the afterword, has become a man capable of finally saying everything he has inside himself. when he wrote Look Backa one-shot (in my opinion almost perfect) which we have already discussed in this article at the time of its release on Manga Plus (now no longer present) but which will soon be available always for Star Comicsjust as we have to wait another month for the next collection of short stories.
So who did we know? An author who loves what he does, who loves to get involved, who loves to show himself to his audience for what he is, without half measures; the general opinion on the works in my opinion can vary from person to person but if you want a register to make people understand the love that can exist for manga this is absolutely perfect (but it would be better, in fact, to conclude the journey with the other two volumes arriving).
The deluxe edition of Star Comics it really is a gem. Extremely affordable price for a high quality hardcover, with metallic cover and glossy effectwe can only speak positively of the work done by the Perugian publisher, which shows respect for the author and for the importance he has now assumed in the world scene but also for his readers, as for those who are happy to however, having a regular edition can have it without any problem.
This is a strange journey, because we already know its destination, perhaps it is a journey of 31 pages that can be summed up in 16 but this does not mean that we do not love every little step, waiting for the next one.