This Week in NY reviews ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO


The Week in NY    |    Mark Rifkin and twi-ny.    |    September 21, 2006

Yoshihiro Tatsumi follows up last year’s extraordinary THE PUSH MAN AND OTHER STORIES with the even bleaker ABANDON THE OLD IN TOKYO, illustrated tales again edited and designed by Adrian Tomine (OPTIC NERVE). Writing in a style he calls Gekiga, a more adult kind of manga, Tatsumi delves into the dark depths of 1960s Tokyo, following lurid tales of lonely losers struggling to get by in a cruel world. His protagonists generally look very similar to each other, sort of an everyman doomed to a fateful existence. In the title story, a garbage man is tired of taking care of his elderly mother, leading to a drastic decision. In "The Washer," a window washer watches his daughter in the midst of an illicit affair. In "Beloved Monkey," a factory worker loses his arm and his beloved pet. In "Unpaid," an aging man sells his business but still shows up at work every day, not knowing what else to do with his life. In "The Hole," a man who has lost his way is taken prisoner by a strange woman. Tatsumi’s characters walk through life slowly, usually letting things happen to them, rarely taking action. Downcast and downtrodden, they have nothing left, trapped in Tatsumi’s gloomy black-and-white world. As in THE PUSH MAN, the new book features an interesting discussion between Tomine and Tatsumi in the back, in addition to a brief introduction by Koji Suzuki. We can’t wait for the third volume in this brilliant series.

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