Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's hard to believe that I was in middle school seven years ago. It seems like it was just recently that I tripped myself in Barnes and Noble to get a second look at a character of my imagination looking back at me. For the first thirty minutes of manga-browsing, my best friend, Kasey, and I thought I was just crazy. But then I picked up a book that would eventually become a topic of consideration for my thesis: Immortal Rain or メテオ・メトセラ  by Kaori Ozaki (written first name, last name).

I vaguely stated before that I was initially intrigued by one of the characters I noticed on the cover of a book. In 2004, sometime during my third year of middle school, I created a character named Kasami for one of my written role-play stories with my best friend, Colleen, but he ended up becoming one of the main, and favorite characters of a role-play written with Kasey. To describe him now, it seems as if I'm just copying Rain, the main character from Immortal Rain, but I had never seen the manga when I thought of Kasami's image. I imagined a man that was tall and slender, with long blonde hair, an amber eyes.

I originally bought the book because I thought Kaori Ozaki had been reading my role-play stories through some elaborate form of Japanese computer hacking, and stealing my characters for her story. Upon reading it, however, I was confronted with a story girly enough to win over my inner hopeless romantic, but with enough action and psychological stimulation that I found myself wanting more. I was rather shocked that I didn't like the story because Rain reminded me of Kasami. I liked it because the emotions, the scenery, even with some of its surreal plot, was very real; it still is. I think Ozaki captures the human thought process very well, and while comics are often thought of as books for children, I beg to differ.

The third volume of Immortal Rain is particularly interesting to me. At the time when I read this manga, I was still coming to terms with many aspect of myself, and becoming lost as to who I was as a person, and exactly whom or what I believed in. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so I will vaguely say that this volume brings up many interesting talks of religion, life, and the purpose of the human being. I was intrigued and horrified by some of the imagery, descriptions, and overall climactic feeling of this volume. When I bought the Japanese volume upon my first visit to Japan, I found the story even more morbidly interesting. Now that I can read a bit more of the story and understand it in its original language, it hits home even more. Yet, if you want to read this volume just to know what I"m talking about, I suggest you read the first three volumes. on average, manga take anywhere from thirty minutes to an hour to read. if you try to read volume three on its own, a lot of the story and purpose will be missing. (However, even taken out of context, the images are disturbing. Another reason why children shouldn't read the book.)

But after being drawn in seven years ago, I finally finished the series. If I weren't in a public bus at the time I was reading it, I would have cried, smiled, and laughed. Honestly, I was a bit disappointed at the last two volumes of the series. It felt as though Ozaki was trying too hard to make the story happen and end rather than allowing it to take its own course. But after a rush to the last few scenes, the ending fell into place. Thinking about it makes me feel as if my heart is cramping, trying to stifle the tears that are growing heavy at the base of my throat.

I'm glad that it ended as it did, and I will continue reading over it until I can analyze the story in full.

I'm even happier that I read the last of the story in Japanese, in Japan, on my way home from Shamisen class in Gion.

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