This lyrical manga (224 pages) was published in May of 2013 by VIZ Media LLC. The book takes you to a children's home Japan. David read Sunny and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if he didn't recommend it.

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Volume 1

Taiyo Matsumoto

Beautifully rendered and poignantly told, this is the involving story of a group of discarded children at the Star Kids children’s home and their absent parents.

When new kid Sei is dropped off at the home, he believes his parents will come back for him soon. It’s not long before he realizes that his hope is in vain — and that this same false optimism was once shared by just about everyone there. The characters are the motley mix of troubled kids you might expect: a kleptomaniac, a soft-hearted rebel, a girl trying to grow up too fast, and brothers desperately hoping for the recovery of their hospitalized mother. The one thing they all have in common is their deep need for love and security.

Their only release from the daily grind? The ‘Sunny’ of the title — a rusted-out Nissan Datsun Sunny 1200 abandoned ear the foster home where the kids hide out, escape their everyday lives, imagine fantasy worlds, and stash taboo magazines.

Deeply personal and achingly authentic, this 8-volume series is based om Matsumoto’s own experiences. Packed with evocative details — kids’ flights of fancy, the heartbreak of a drunken father, the dialects of rural Japanese, ’70s pop culture — it authentically recreates what it was like to be a certain kind of child in Japan.

Although it’s firmly placed in his homeland, Matsumoto makes the story universal, perfectly capturing the loneliness of childhood, and the way sometimes imagination is the only means of escape.

The art is dramatically different from traditional manga, a loose and lovely mix of line art and watercolor. The muted palette and washes of transparent color build a cohesive environment that represents the melancholy fog that hangs over the Star Kids home.


comics panels of children in a vintage car

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Let's all extend our gratitude to fictional characters for GOING THROUGH STUFF so we can live vicariously through them on the page. There's food, family, fights, and forgiveness — so, basically, all the good stuff.
In Japan, comics are known as manga. They're used to tell stories in every genre, and are read by people of all ages. We're delighted to have cartoonist Tille Walden share her top picks for readers who are new to the form.

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