Sunday, October 9, 2011

La Quinta Camera *The Fifth Room* - Review


Massimo, Luca, Cele, and Al have been sharing the same five bedroom apartment for years. They've always sublet the fifth room to exchange students who are looking to study in Italy, and they've maintained a happy medium with each other as they've shared their space. But times change. New people arrive in their lives and the birth of a baby might split the four of them up for good.

The very first book I ever reviewed on this site was one by Natsume Ono called not simple, which blew my mind and made me want to write and produce my own comics. In the case of La Quinta Camera, I feel the same way. Ono has an ability to showcase expression through her simple yet elegant drawing style and through narratives that seem to be random and haphazard, but actually have very deep connectivity. Her characters are incredibly developed and within one book you feel as if you've known the four men in the apartment for their entire lives.

Different exchange students bring different perspectives onto the various characters, and it's reassuring to see that, no matter where you're from, you can always find family in those around you. The moments where the characters realize that they're not alone, that roommates can be just as important as brothers, cousins, and even fathers, it makes you think about the relationships you have with your friends and how important they truly are.

This book gets a 4.5/5 and I highly recommend it. If there's one thing about Ono's manga, it's that anyone can pick up her slice-of-life stories and find deep meaning in them. If you're on the fence about trying manga, Ono is the writer/artist you should invest in before you make the wrong decision.

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