Angoulême International Comics Festival: our selection of comics

On the occasion of the Angoulême Festival, Journal du Japon brings you a selection of comics around Japan. Different themes, atmospheres and artists to find what you’re looking for!

In the land of Nami, Childhood in Japan Julie Blanchin Fujita: the daily life of a little French-Japanese girl, sketched by her mother

We already know Julie Blanch Fujita according to the graphic novel I like nattoand for their lovely cardboard picture books of beautifully illustrated Japanese words, several volumes of which are available here. Hikari Publications. He returns this time with a book dedicated to his daughter Nami’s life in Japan.

Nami was born in France to a French mother who was an illustrator and a Japanese father who was a photographer and student in France at the time. So he began his life in France, where he attended a French kindergarten. Then the whole family moved to Japan. And the little girl is now going to Japanese Kindergarten!

What we discover is Nami’s daily Japanese life, scratched with fun and grace by her mother. His passion for cartoons, his exhausted creativity, his hated hafu term (a Métis kid is half?!), his dream of being a firefighter, his snacks in Kindergarten and at Home.

It is also the daily life of the mother: her worries about climate change (explained in a kawaii version with a cat and a pink rabbit so as not to lose readers who end up in plastic packaging of fruits and vegetables in Japanese supermarkets – we find several episodes on plastic too), of course, the coronavirus, but also the daughter who wakes up early in the morning, the Snow Queen song we can’t stand anymore, the gap between the ideal family and reality beyond what we can do (a universal observation!), these little lies we tell to get out of certain situations, the occasional homesickness, the life of a stay-at-home mom, the lost favorite toy (but found because we are in Japan!).

In the Land of Nami by Julie Blanchi Fujita, Hikari Editions: Inside PagesThe chapters are short and offer lots of little anecdotes, slices of life that highlight the characteristics of a Franco-Japanese family’s life in Japan: the daughter’s language happily mixing French and Japanese, visits to Akita with her grandparents (and Nami). admiration for the butsudan altar), a very Japanese passion for insects in Izu, Hakone, Kamakura, Cambodia (an opportunity for Julie to talk about the disappearance of insects in recent decades).

With small photos, cute stickers and a small diary of the artist’s residency in Martinique, during the two months Julie worked on this book.

A funny book (lots of humor and self-mockery), instructive, with little lines everywhere, lets you discover a lot about Japanese life. In short, a fun read!

More information on the publisher’s website.

Sakura spring By Marie Jaffredo: a little Tokyo girl who lives with her grandmother in the village regains the taste of life …

Sakura Spring by Marie Jaffredo, Glénat Vent d'Ouest Editions: coverAttention, very beautiful book, delicate, poetic, moving! Marie Jaffredo it takes us to the seaside, to the forest, to houses where we lie on tatami mats, to Japan where there is a pebbly river in the garden, sakura shedding its petals, and to Japan where children play in the rice fields. , eat dango and dorayaki, where vegetable gardens are filled with delicious vegetables, spirits inhabit the forests, and the dead watch over the living. All served with watercolors of infinite softness, their spirits create a beautiful atmosphere for wrapping …

Because not everything is rosy in this book. Sakura is only five years old when her mother dies in a bicycle accident. Her French father stepped in, and when a professional trip forced him to go to India, he sent her off in the spring with her daughter’s maternal grandmother, whom she knew little about. Sakura is very worried at first, she only speaks very bad Japanese and is afraid that the house cat will scratch her, and the village children will laugh at her, who has a hafu (Japanese mother, French father).

Sakura Spring by Marie Jaffredo, Glénat Vents d'Ouest publications, inside pageBut his grandmother Masumi is a sweet and dynamic person. It takes him shopping, meeting friends, picking oysters, walking in the woods to exercise his senses (stroking moss, feeling the presence of a fireplace), taking a sento bath, and many little everyday things that make them feel alive!

Little by little, Masumi and Sakura will cook together (tempura, gyoza, fried oysters, dorayaki), talk to each other, share their emotions, and experience an unforgettable spring with the smell of the earth, the sea, and the song. the reeds in the wind, the rain of sakura petals…

A book like balm for sad, mournful, suffering souls. Prayer in front of the butsudan, hot bath, dorayaki to bite, barefoot mud fight in the rice field with the village children… To feel that those who are here or gone are alive, loved and accompanied. A lesson in life, love and resilience.

More information on the publisher’s website.

Department Store Concierge book coverDepartment store concierge By Tsuchika NISHIMURA

Welcome to Hokkyoku, the arctic market, a department store that exudes opulence and elegance. At this equivalent of Galeries Lafayette, animals from all walks of life find luxury products and delicacies and can ask for help from staff ready to help.

Akino is one of the latest recruits in the concierge service and has a lot of work to do to satisfy the most demanding clients, including the VIA – Very Important Animals category, which covers endangered or even completely extinct habitats.

With its delicate and detailed description, its attention to animals and its interactions with an Akino who is as loyal as he is interested in doing good, this manga tells us amazing and touching stories. Nominated for the FIBD Angoulême Youth Award, this book is actually aimed at all readers interested in a warm universe where the adventures of hectic everyday life are resolved with great cunning and a big smile.

The Darwin incident Shun Umezawa: the monkey is the future of man…

The Darwin incidentWe have rarely – never – seen a smarter, more alive ape… More disturbingly. What signs are there in this title? Avoid Umezawa awarded by the prestigious manga taisho he is Charlie, born in a laboratory to a human father and a chimpanzee mother as a result of a genetic experiment; that one” humanitarian Charlie, a unique specimen, is adopted and raised as family by a couple created by a scientist specializing in primates and a lawyer.

At the age of 15, he now enters high school and meets a young girl named Lucy. But humanity is not ready to accept the hybrid in its midst. Despite himself, Charlie will find himself at the center of many issues: radical vegan activists want to make him their emblem, and right-minded people believe that he is living proof of the excesses of science! He just wants to have the most normal life possible…

He is therefore a unique being who evolves in one of the most intelligent scenarios, brilliantly interrogating veganism, terrorism and human nature, adapted very well in French by Frédéric Malet. The debates are interesting and Charlie’s speeches are memorable: in a few words, he questions the supremacy of man over the animal kingdom… with a unique point of view that may seem cold, but above all is hard to get behind. . In addition to the relevance of his speech, Charlie is able to split you in two and is 10 beats ahead in terms of intelligence … He is uncomfortable and his sharp words question his empathy.

All of this is served by a fully mastered character design – and more lines – that convey the characters’ emotions and introspection wonderfully. The Darwin incidentfor Kana publications and still ongoing in Japan, participating in the official selection of FIBD, so it is something not to be missed!

More information on the publisher’s website.

Ranking of kings By Sōsuke TOKA

Ranking of kingsDon’t be fooled by his candidacy in the youth selection: Ranking of kings it is not intended for babies, but universal. Taking the idea of ​​a youth pageant, the author adds the ingredients of a good adventure series.

Unfortunately, the difficult life of Boiji, the deaf and mute prince of the kingdom of Bosse, begins with worm strength and bewildering simplicity. Now that his arrival as King promises to be complicated, his Kingdom is in even more danger. The current king, the founder of the kingdom with Herculean strength, is gravely ill. Everyone who is crippled and unable to hold a sword laughs and worries about the future of the kingdom, because the fate of a country directly depends on the ranking of kings according to their power. His younger brother Daida could take his place.

But now Bojji wears an eternal smile, always moving forward, just like the smile that the series will evoke in the readers. The little prince’s life brightens when the mysterious shadow finally understands his words: there is finally hope… Nothing is lost and nothing can stop him: he be able be the best king in the world!

With a simple and cartoonish design on the edges, a universe worthy of the fairy tales of our childhood, Ranking of kings and his hero surpasses their courage, good humor, and enthusiasm. Rarely has a hero been so motivated to hold on to hope, to pursue his dream. However, this title, which still runs 14 volumes in Japan, is not limited to the feel-good label and offers much more than that. Thanks to a story full of mysteries (magic, conspiracy and dark forces) and a colorful gallery of characters, the title never falls into sentimentality, and in addition to the optimism it gives us, it is a real pleasure to read!

More information on the publisher’s website.

As you can see, for the Journal du Japon team, there are a lot of great titles to find in the selections of the Angoulême Comic Strip Festival, as a small bonus, the discovery of two titles that can participate. We’re curious to know the outcome of each choice, and we’ll find out soon! In the meantime, feel free to share your favorites from this FIBD and let us know which one you’re interested in! The result? + official selection link?

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