Mizuki, one of Japan’s most celebrated manga artists, was born only a few years before the start of the Showa period, one of Japan’s most turbulent eras. In this, the first of four volumes, he traces history along two tracks: the first is Japan’s story, spanning the years between the great Kanto earthquake and the start of WWII; the second is the story of the author and his family growing up in a port town far from the drama taking place in Tokyo. Using a series of narrators to keep the story flowing, Mizuki prevents the account, which could have easily been a mere list of tragic incidents, from becoming dry, repetitive, or confusing. Looping his own story in and out of the narrative and switching back and forth between a photo-realistic art style and broadly drawn cartoons, Mizuki shows how politics and war affected the Everyman. Mizuki is not afraid to show his country in a less than flattering light, and Showa 1926–1939 provides an opportunity to understand Japanese history from a new point of view.