Early Book Review: Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories


Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories is a graphic novel which collects seven short pieces from a manga artist and writer that has appeared in various Japanese magazines. The collection is set for its first publication in English on February 6 2013. The first story, and source of the cover art, Emerald, is Samura's first  adventure set in the Wild West. Other works included a series of vignettes about two teenage girls which are woven through several other tales. The collection bounces around genres and time periods in this unique and mind bending collection.

Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories is a interesting collection that ranges from a wild west adventure, to simple fun stories about discussions of typical teenage girls, to twisted families. The title story, Emerald, is a story that connects a few storylines that run simultaneously and are seemingly unrelated. There is an orphan girl in situation where her future balances on a rigged bet, outlaws crossing and double crossing each other, bounties in play, and more tied together by the memories about one woman. The Kusein Family's Greatest Show was one of the creepiest, and most disturbing stories I have read, about a strange father-daughter relationship further strained by a 'housekeeper' and secrets. The Uniforms Stay On is the name of the series involving the teenage girls that run through the other stories. It is typical teen age girl chatter, and nothing of real substance although there were a few fun asides. Brigette's Dinner is a story about an orphaned girl falling into a strange situation that includes dining with a disfigured man every night. The story turns out to be rather sweet, and ties together nicely at the end. Shizuku's Cinema is a story about human desires. It seems to be a story about an artist and his young model, but is so much more.

Hiroaki Samura's Emerald and Other Stories is an interested graphic novel. Readers that are either already aware of Samura's work and want a look at more, or would like a glimpse of the range he is capable of, will enjoy a look at this collection. It is not one for my permanent collection, but it was an interesting read with well rendered art that will please fans of Samura.
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