Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gente Vol. 2 - Review


This volume continues the backstories and heartfelt tales of the staff from Natsume Ono's Ristorante Paradisio. The stories range from Claudio's days a a clumsy waiter to Teo's search for motivation in being a first rate chef. Between women, food, and the drama that comes with owning a restaurant in Italy, there's a whole lot of ground to cover for these waiters, chefs, and delightful guests.

If there's one thing that Ono does better than anyone it's slice of life manga. I could read about any characters in any background or job and still be enthralled by her characters. Every chapter in this volume of Gente is brimming with character development and well placed emotional scenes. By the time you finish a chapter you feel as if you've spent an entire day with the character it showcased. I read the entire book in one sitting over a cup of coffee, and I feel like I just worked at the restaurant with the characters for a month.

The one thing that might put off new readers is the fact that everyone is so dedicated to working in this small and very fancy restaurant. But working in an establishment like that is regarded with much more prestige than it is over here in America. It's great to see any story that supports people's dreams, no matter how big or small, in a real world setting.

The artwork is just as striking as ever. I've never seen anyone with a style anywhere close to Ono's mixture of manga and classic cartooning. Her characters are realistic, but they've also got that animated quality to them that glides your eyes from panel to panel. A simple shot of the exterior of the restaurant or a cup of coffee on a table goes a long way as the characters inhabit her beautifully depicted world.

I can't say anything else about this volume and do it justice. It gets a 5/5 for being a wonderful slice of life story that has the same page turning qualities that all superhero and action comics have, but a much deeper sense of story than most of the fluff that gets on the shelves. Again, I can't recommend this and do it all the justice it deserves, just read it yourself!

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