Seinen – Drama, historical
1 Volume of 2 Volumes (complete)
Media Do (MediBang)
Being able to fly through the air has been one of humanity’s greatest scientific achievements. But beneath the sky, machines can sometimes bring people together, but they can also bring people apart…
From what I gather, Sky was originally a one-volume manga. But then about two decades later, the manga (perhaps digital only?) was split into two volumes of two stories each, but the manga was now in color. The English version is based upon this version.
This first volume of Sky is set during and after the first World War. In the opening story, a young woman who works with a PITA cash register at her job is in a bad mood when she hears a story from her sort-of boyfriend, Eddie, about his father, Robert. In short, to earn money after the war, Robert tied Eddie to the plane while doing stunts to earn money. Annie is shocked and outraged, but Eddie replies he was hoping to take her to meet Robert and get his blessing. Annie tries to figure out how she feels about Eddie and why he can tell that story so cheerfully.
In the second, Albert and Richard are two friends who were called to serve. But while Albert continues to be a pilot, Richard has lost his leg and had to return to their hometown, being cared by Albert’s sister, Susan. Susan just wants to go back to the three of them hanging out together, and Richard knows he’ll never be able to fulfill Albert’s challenge of beating him in a motorcycle race in order to marry Susan. Meanwhile, the war keeps taking a greater and greater toll on Richard.
Sky is, without a doubt, the type of manga you’d love to see get a high quality physical release. Hardcover, large size, full color, and touching stories. Of course, I’m guessing since I’ve only read half, but both of these tales are emotional. Annie going from her day-to-day life with a register that barely works to trying to see a different picture. Three young people who are all dealing with the harsh realities of the war, whether directly or indirectly. I’ve been slightly spoiled and know that at least one of the two remaining stories doesn’t involve World War I, but I doubt they could be that much of a step down from these. Both end satisfactorily, neither spelling out how the characters lived the rest of their lives nor leaving you wondering what happened.
Plus, while you may not agree with choices or what characters say, they feel very human. Could you put your baby on your stunt plane even though you know you have the skills that they’d be okay? And if you didn’t, it could mean that your baby could starve?
Of course, the downside is that 100 pages just flies by. Having this be in full color and feel like an animated short alleviates this a bit.
Rokuda’s style plays well with the early-to-mid 1900s setting in this first volume. Little Eddie does look older than six months in this manga, but everything else is well done. From seeing Albert’s emotional decline to looking down at the earth from above, the manga is beautiful. The color art is a rare treat. Bullets do fly, and we do see a man who is likely dead, but nothing most manga readers couldn’t handle. The historical setting is reflected perfectly in the dress and technology. While it doesn’t turn to chibi drawings and such, Sky doesn’t completely abandon the manga-ness in the story, like Annie’s angry face. Everything ties together well to make this something your eyes will enjoy.
No honorifics are use. I didn’t notice any major errors, making it one of the best Media Do releases I’ve seen. I suppose it helps that these are all about people who live in the West and not Japan, so there are very few cultural things to worry about.
Sky is short, but for it’s a very good manga for general audiences.
Rokuda’s Baron and F have also been licensed through Media Do.
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