Monday, April 02, 2007

Promise by Keiko Nishi

Whew! Half a year later!

Did I ever post a review of this? Even if I did, it's good to revisit this story; one of my all time favorites.

A ways back, Viz published a little comic book called "Promise," containing the two stories "Promise" and "Since You've Been Gone", by Keiko Nishi. Promise blew me away. I still have an immediate emotional response just thinking about the comic; which I can pretty much recall in complete detail. It's short, so that's not a particularly impressive feat, but seriously, this is in my top three of all time; ahead of "Here is Greenwood."

A lot of the stories that I've read by Keiko Nishi have quite a dark side to them where people go a little over the edge. It's very well done, but I like happy stories, so I can't enjoy them properly. I appreciate them, but I don't really enjoy them.

However, Promise strikes the perfect balance between human weaknesses and strengths. It's a very normal story; a disaffected girl and her absent mother. The girl's mother hasn't been the same since the girl's father passed away along with the girl's twin brother. The girl herself doesn't really care about anything so she spends her days skipping school and staring at the sky. Add in a touch of the supernatural and a bit of "what if" and hope appears mixed with sadness.

Sadly, both versions are out of print; Viz apparently were jerks and lost the rights to publish the stories. However, copies do appear to be floating around here and there. I have one or two copies of Promise; don't think I ever bought Four Shojo Stories.

For the record, my top three comics of all-time are:
* Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind by Hayao Miyazaki
- Interestingly, I haven't run across many Japanese people who have read the comic. I have my cousin Sean to thank for introducing me to this story. The original comic books are one of my treasures :) I should put them in a vault.

* Slam Dunk by Takehiko Inoue
- Conversely, I haven't run across many Japanese people who don't know what this is.

* Promise by Keiko Nishi
- This is probably more obscure than any of the above, but I had the strongest emotional response to this story.

ps. did you know that "evisceral" is not a word? Sneaky.

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