Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Sunny, Vol. 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto

Some series could go on forever, even if you know they won't. Small moments in the lives of a well-defined cast could proliferate endlessly, right?

But it would be unbearably sad if Sunny went on forever, so I'm mostly happy to know that Vol. 4 is close to the end -- there are only two more volumes to come. It's not that each story in Sunny is sad -- they're mixed, like real life is -- but that these stories of the Star Child Home, all these stories about orphans and abandoned children sometime in the 1970s, somewhere in a provincial Japanese city, are about kids wishing they could get out, could get back to the lives they really want. And too much wanting eventually sours -- you can't keep yearning for something if you'll never get it.

So we have to imagine that the kids in Sunny grow up, form lives, move away. We want to believe that they'll be better parents, if they have kids, than their parents were to them. That they'd never dump their own children somewhere like Start Child, no matter how much the adults there care and protect them, no matter how much happiness can be found there.

Sunny, Vol. 4 has another clutch of stories about those kids: each story focusing on one of them, at an important moment. Or maybe not: much of life happens in the day-to-day, and it's the same with Sunny. (For more details, you could see what I wrote about volumes one and two and three.)

If I need to say it again, I'll say it again: these are small masterpieces of character and emotion, great short stories rendered in comics by a master. Sunny is a magnificent achievement for Taiyo Matsumoto and this series is a great window into what comics can do for readers of literary fiction.

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