Nijigahara Holograph

Nijigahara Holograph

Book - 2014
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"Butterflies ominously proliferate as children whisper rumors of a mysterious creature lurking in the tunnel behind the school. To appease its wrath, they decide to offer it a sacrifice--a human one. But this is only the beginning of Nijigahara Holograph, which takes place in two separate timelines and involves the suicidal Amahiko; Kohta, the lovestruck bully; their teacher Miss Sakaki, whose heavily bandaged face remains a mystery; and many more brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, teachers, aggressors and victims who are all inextricably linked to one another. Ten years later, all will have to face what they've done or suffered through--and maybe the end of the world."--Page 4 of cover.
Publisher: Seattle, Washington : Fantagraphics Books, 2014
Edition: First Fantagraphics Books edition
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9781606995839
1606995839
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Thorn, Matt
Call Number: AGN ASANO, I

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skyekilaen
Sep 06, 2016

I'm not smart enough to write an in-depth review of this book. I'll probably need to read it a couple more times before I can even describe it well.

It's not an easy book to read. The cast is complicated, and the story moves between different timelines. The topic is also difficult: interpersonal violence, from childhood bullying to sexual assault and murder.

So why am I recommending it? Because even if you're not completely following the events, Asano creates such a feeling of dread with both the human and supernatural elements of the story. It's dark, but not hopeless, and the events aren't just horrible for the sake of horrible. It's extremely well-written by someone who's clearly very smart. It makes you want to figure out all the interlocking puzzles. Asano's art particularly shines with details, such as the irises of someone's eyes as they stare. He also mixes dialogue and narration well, devoting some panels entirely to narration instead of crowding the art - and the pacing of the story is stronger as a result.

forbesrachel Jun 13, 2015

A deceptively mind-bending and masterful work. Butterflies gradually descend upon a small town as we peer into the lives of one class. Asano's cryptic method of storytelling has us flipping between the lives of each person's younger self and their older self, revealing the whole picture piece by piece. This fine-tuned work requires your full attention, for by the time we realize what is happening, we know we have to go back to understand how complexly intertwined the story is. Every character is burdened by their past actions or feelings. Unclean, unworthy, unloved, each is broken in a way that makes their life miserable and solitary, even under the most pleasant looking of faces, hides something disturbing. This spiral of tragedy stems from the connections they have, in particular, the mysterious Arie, who remains comatose for most of the story and whose face is kept hidden. Due to its mature content, Nijigahara Holograph is appropriate for adults only. Those lucky enough to have access to a copy are in for both a written and visual treat. There's an eerie, almost cinematic elegance to the illustrations; the framing of the face, stunningly composed and detailed shots, the blurring of foreground or background, bright flares versus the deep blacks, and the jumps in time or in between scenes, all form into a whole that captivates. Such beauty is in sharp contrast to the ugly aspects of human nature that are revealed by these events. Then there are the butterflies. They are at the heart of the story and an enigmatic symbol, and each is placed with care. Nijigahara Holograph requires a lot of thought, but it is well worth thinking about, for it is an absolute masterpiece among manga.

k
kwsmith
May 31, 2014

This outstanding graphic novel combines beautiful art with a complex and intriguing story about a group of troubled young children who grow up to be troubled adults. Layered with many different meanings, the dark plot jumps back and forth through time dealing out horror and sorrow in equal doses. This is not an easy book to read; you'll have to pay very close attention to piece together the entire story. But in the end, I think it's worth the effort.

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