In stores now: SHOWA 1939-1944
Perhaps you've been reading the first volume of Shigeru Mizuki's epic, Eisner-nominated Showa series r-eee-ally slowly, savouring the stories so it doesn't have to end. Or maybe you devoured the 500+ pages as quickly as possible and are now itching to find out what happens next. Well, I've good news for, gekiga lovers-the second volume, Showa 1939-1944: A History of Japan, is in stores now!
This volume covers the final moments before World War II, Shigeru's draft, and his subsequent experiences in the army. Before being sent off, teenaged Shigeru is seen as 'useless' by his family. Even after leaving home, he innocently believes things to be comfortable and pleasant. But he is soon exposed to the horrors of war, and is forced to grow up very quickly.
Nezumi-Otoko aids the narration, stopping in now and then from the future to interview this younger, past-tense Shigeru about how he might have been feeling at the time. Is there a narrative device Mizuki has not mastered? Nope. There's a passage toward the novel's beginning in which Shigeru speaks to Nezumi about his upcoming enlistment, movingly explaining how he's turned to philosophy and religion to try and explain his 'inevitable' death.