Skip to main content

Usamaru Furuya

This Time is Different

by Giovanni Russo and Paolo La Marca

There’s a sort of “new wave” that runs under the surface in contemporary Japanese comics,and which, out of innate modesty rather than lack of awareness, prefers not to emerge and define itself as such. (..) If we had to name one possible centre of gravity, geometric rather than qualitative, it would perhaps be Taiyo Matsumoto.

It’s a new wave that keeps the centrality for marginal characters typical of the gekiga: that is interested in individual obsessions, in depression understood as inequity to civilised life and its performative demands; that treats childhood neither as a nostalgic Eden nor as a phase of formation, unless the latter is understood as a precocious aptitude for resilience in the face of the world’s evil, not yet overshadowed by the desperation of the adult. There’s also room for sex, which confronts alienation both as a symptom and as a possible escape route. But above all, characterising this anomalous wave is a peculiar idiosyncrasy towards resolutions, with plots and characters that remain suspended and endings that rarely smack of closure, tending towards soft melancholy rather than happy endings, enduring discomfort rather than tragedy, absence rather than presence. The authors seem to continually emphasise that their stories are woven from ordinary repertoire and not exemplary cases charged with fictional power. (…) In the briefly outlined scenario Furuya occupies a special place, not static but mobile, to the extent that is difficult to fix its coordinates once and for all. His copious production ranges continually, in an almost obsessive search for an impossible collocation between mainstream instances and more or less established niches. He has touched almost all genres, used all techniques, adapted his language to stories that are always different, yet always, unmistakably, his own. Of the wave he takes disillusionment, a fragile vision of the world that remains so even when apparently framed in solid genre formulas.

The author will be a guest of Lucca Comics & Games 2023, in collaboration with Coconino.

Venue: Palazzo Ducale - Lucca