Rating: 4 stars
I want The Walking Man’s life. Beautiful illustrations, a mix of detailed line drawings and monochrome ink washes. The Walking Man is a dapper gent, fond of an evening or weekend stroll to explore the area he and his wife seem to have just moved to. Sometimes spontaneous, he’ll see something from the bus and get off to investigate, or scale a fence to take a midnight swim in an open air pool, or take off his shoes to scale a tree. More often he’ll just go where the path leads and see what he can see. The observations in the drawings are lovely, taking in the minutiae of Japanese suburban life. It made me think of times we have gone off the tourist trail to explore residential areas or visit small towns on the outskirts of big cities in Japan.
One story in particular, The Long Trail, made me laugh out loud. There is no dialogue, just a couple of sound effects, but the warmth of an encounter between two Walking Men who start out as rivals and end up companions is wonderfully realised through the artwork.