Saturday, November 30, 2013

Review: Disappearance Diary, Part 2




Disappearance Diary, Part 2, The Ward for Alcoholics, by Hideo Azuma, Grade: A
Azuma's sequel to Disappearance Diary was just released in October. If you're familiar with his work, then you know that he was a popular gag artist in the 70's, and popularized the lolicon manga style. However, he cracked under the constant pressure from his editors, and their insistence that he drink sake with them. He ran away from his house and family several times to live as one of the homeless, but he was located and dragged back to "civilization" each time.


(Azuma talks about his past.)

Finally, his family gave him an intervention and he was checked into a detox program. This volume picks up where the other left off, detailing his daily routines in the hospital, talking about some of the staff and various members of the inmates. Occasionally, as they progressed through the program, they'd be allowed outside for day trips on their own or in groups, but the staff would inspect them for signs of drinking when they got back in the evening. A few of the inmates would fall off the wagon while outside and were then kicked out of the program.


(Azuma realizes that he can't write kanji anymore.)

There's not a lot of stand-out sequences here. Mostly it's just conversations between inmates talking about their philosophies or the backgrounds leading to their problems with alcohol, or Azuma's narration when he goes outside and panics at what he expects everyone else to be thinking about him. The artwork is good and solid, the character designs are distinct and varied, and all of the women look cute. The book ends with Azuma still in the hospital. And, there's an interview at the back between Azuma and Tori Miki (Tori is a big fan and supporter of his).


(Life in the commons room.)

If you liked the first Disappearance Diary volume, then you'll want to get this one. If you have a drinking problem, it's worth reading this manga when it gets translated. Highly recommended.


(One of the day trips is to the Jindaiji shrine in Chofu. I've been here a few times.)

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