Opinion Prone

My opinions, let me tell them to you.

Review: Solanin

August 27, 2009 Review

It’s always hard to ignore a title after someone writes an excellent post about it, but Solanin is also a highly attractive two volumes in length — perfect for my limited time and short attention span. And I guess there was also some masochistic curiosity to it because I knew Solanin would be painful to read. It’s about post-college life. It’s about life in general. It’s about still growing up even after you thought you’d already done so. And it hits very close to home.

Here is the review, and here is the MAL mirror.


Reading it was very hard in the beginning. Sixteen pages in and I could already relate absurdly well with both Meiko and Taneda, and hell, all their friends as well. It was depressing, but it got easier the further I progressed because they became their own people, rather than just ghostly representations of myself and people I knew. The story is how they choose to live their own lives, one path in a forest of many. Theirs aren’t the best choice, nor the worst. It isn’t an answer, but it’s there. Highly recommend.

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  1. ghostlightning on August 27, 2009 6:39 pm

    It’s every twentysomething’s story, even those that think they know what they’re doing (which, for the record, does not include me). My friends and I manage to talk about the future all the time without actually talking about the future, so it’s hilarious ironic that it takes a story like this to drive things in deeper for me. It isn’t like I hadn’t realized all of those questions and doubts before, but having them presented to me so clearly is like discovering them all over again. And it’s unnerving. And terrifying. And depressing. And something I’ll have to deal with again and again until I figure something out for myself. As I said, Solanin doesn’t really offer any answers

    Yeah this.

    By the time I was 25 I hardly even knew what I was doing only that I knew I needed to do something (or keep doing the things I’m doing until I find something better). The worst that I could imagine was to completely stop, and get disconnected like a NEET.

    For me, it was having a tangible goal; something in very concrete terms: be able to marry this lady I met and fell in love with. It mattered less what I did (not that it doesn’t matter!) but I had far less angst about it. I rolled up my figurative sleeves and went to work.

    I was 27 when we started dating, 5 years later I got stuff I’m doing that really fulfills me. Not the work itself. I am not a worker for the sake of activity. More like goals aligning and steps identified. But there’s really nothing for me to prescribe.

    I only think that the manga is awesome in that it allows strangers like us to have conversations like this. Cheers.

  2. usagijen on August 28, 2009 4:50 am

    “Resistance is futile!” is what this little voice of conscience is now saying at the back of my mind. Will get to reading Solanin real soon (darn you people and your posts! lol)

  3. Kiriska on August 28, 2009 5:00 am

    @ghostlightning, it’s simultaneously encouraging and disheartening to know and hear about other people in similar states of confusion well into their mid- to late-twenties. That’s the main appeal of Solanin as well as it’s far from any kind of narrative masterpiece. It’s just a comrade in arms.

    @usagijen, the aniblogger community is decidedly very, very small and mass readings/watchings are thus easy to get started because everyone knows what everyone else is reading and it’s hard to stay off the boat if everyone is tweeting incessantly about it. :P At least Solanin hasn’t reached the epic scale of Onani Master Kurosawa yet? XD

  4. Martin on August 30, 2009 6:41 am

    Absolutely. I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside every time I read about how someone else got as much out of this story as I did! It’s partly down to the fact that, while so many stories of this type are set at high school, this one bucks the trend by addressing what happens afterwards in The Real World.

    The art style isn’t bad but the use of realistic backgrounds works superbly. The bottom line though is that the characters and their situations are so easy to relate to for the simple reason that I’ve been there too. Or, more to the point, I’m still there. It hits really close to home for me, so there’s quite a bit that I can’t put into words here.

    So yeah, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s not so much a monument to our directionless generation, or any such grandiose thing. It’s just a warm and observant depiction…maybe it’s that sense of understanding on the part of the author that shines through. I don’t know. I’ll just say it’s brilliantly done.