233. Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto

Sunny by Taiyo Matsumoto
Sunny, Vol. 1

Rating: (4/5)

(US) - (Canada) - (UK)

May 21, 2013, viz media, 224 pgs

Age: 18+

"What is Sunny? Sunny is a car. Sunny is a car you take on a drive with your mind. It takes you to the place of your dreams.Sunny is the story of beating the odds, in the ways that count. It’s the brand-new masterwork from Eisner Award-winner Taiyo Matsumoto, one of Japan’s most innovative and acclaimed manga artists. 
Translated by Tekkonkinkreet film director Michael Arias!"

Received a review copy from Simon & Schuster Canada.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading this book.  I was startled to receive such an attractively published quality hardcover for a start. (I just assume manga is going to be paperback).  The publiher's summary appealed to me because I am naturally drawn to stories of boyhood (even though I'm female).  I just love a good story about boys growing up especially if it is in the past and "Sunny" takes place in 1970s Japan.  First off we realize that Sunny is an abandoned car on the Home's property and not one of the children.  The kids go here, where no adults are allowed, to dream they are driving and visualizing themselves into their imaginary stories.  This is a consistant theme but a small part of the story.  Containing six chapters each one is separate from the others, more like vignettes, and concentrates on different children in the Home, mostly the boys, but there are girls here too.  Each kid has there own unique circumstances for being here, most have at least one parent but for some reason they can't take care of the child.  Each vignette presents a different child as the centre of attention and we learn more of his background while an everyday event is happening.  The stories go straight to the heart, are full of emotions, are sometimes feel good, often bittersweet, but never sad.

I was a bit puzzled when I first statrted to read as I thought I was reading a children's book.  The rating is T for ages 13+, but I was soon aware that was incorrect.  The boys often look at pornography magazines but more than that, these stories are obviously aimed at an older audience, one who has been through boyhood, one who will feel the deep nuances in these stories and feel their poignancy.  Honestly, I think even older teenagers would be bored with this material not understanding the obvious appeal to adult emotions.  This manga is serialized in IKKI magazine and when I realized *that* my whole appreciation of the book improved.  IKKI  is a seinen manga aimed at men 18-30, even including business men in their 40s!  That's why I felt uncomfortable with it as a Teen book!  Just because a book is about kids doesn't always mean it is for kids, know what I mean?  Seinen is known for being character and plot driven and Sunny comes across as a promising start to an interesting series.  While each story is unrelated, each one contains the same cast of characters and brings to the table the beginning of a story with an expected upcoming event which makes me quite interested in seeing where the series will go with the next volume.