Shimomura Fumi x

[born: ? ; bloodtype: ?]

Busshi [Carver of Buddhist statues]
serialized on Petit Flower,
1 volume @ Y505
[ 01:9920]
A disfigured carver of Buddhist figures wanders out of his mountain refuge and comes face-to-face with the young bride of the lord of the land. Plagued by a mysterious illness, the village people whisper that their new lady is a harbinger of Death. Yet the carver sees the features of his next carving in her face, and glimpses a path out of his doubt and torment.

Set in the early years of 16th century Japan, this profound and deeply moving work is a meditation on the meaning of existence and the mystery of faith. The storytelling is restrained and not without its moments of sly humour, but its vision of life lived in the shadow of death is searing in its emotional intensity, and incandescent with both pain and beauty.

The artwork is excellent. The combination of realistic but economical detail, the shadowed figures and white backgrounds, bring out both the physicality and evanescence of existence.
The wrinkles on an aged face, and the uneasy steps of a toddler and the sunlight on a girl's face are all rendered with affecting skill.

Though it appeared in a women's manga magazine, this work goes way beyond the narrow confines of any specific genre in terms of its theme, and its visual and narrative style. First-rate in all aspects, this is a must-read for serious readers of manga. {SEK}

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Maintained by Peter Van Huffel, 1/17/2004