Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Saturn Apartments Vol. 1 - Review

A SCI-FI NINE-TO-FIVE


In this manga written and illustrated by Hisae Iwaoka and released by Viz Media's Sig Ikki line of books, the Earth has been turned into a huge nature reserve and humanity lives in a ring around the planet. The lower class lives in the lower levels and the upper class lives in the upper levels, but one group of people are privileged to travel between them and all the other floors between -- window washers.

The newest member of the team, Mitsu, is the son of a veteran window washer who had an accident and fell off the ring. He's anxious about joining the existing crew and has his doubts about how his father died. As he learns to make a living and get to know his co-workers, he'll have to learn to do things for himself and find a reason to fill his father's shoes as a bringer of light to a mechanical world.

This was a beautiful start to a very touching series. It always amazes me that it can be so much fun to read about menial jobs in a futuristic setting. In this world window washing is one of the most expensive services in the world, and it's also one of the most dangerous. The writing and artwork are both very lighthearted, but Iwaoka does a great job of conveying emotion through the characters and the epic scale of the backgrounds.

There were a couple of times that the translation was a little rough, especially in the thought balloons, which we don't really use anymore in American comics. But it doesn't take away from the simple and poignant dialogue and the pace of the story.

I give this volume a 4/5 for being a wonderful start to a promising series. It's a manga that I'll be sticking with and seeing out till the end.

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