Neighborhood Story, Vol. 1

Viz Media. (Neighborhood Story). Dec. 2023. 312p. pap. $24.99. ISBN 9781974740895.
Gr 8 Up–In this sweet coming-of-age story, Yazawa follows the lives of Mikako and her friend at an arts academy school while trying to navigate friendships, relationships, and budding identities. Mikako must parse out her own emotions when her longtime childhood friend Tsutomu starts going out with his first girlfriend. Are Mikako’s strong feelings actually jealousy, or is she just protective? Added to the mix is a colorful cast of friends surrounding Mikako and Tsutomu, where Yazawa invests time and care in their development. Group scenes have emotional payoffs, and readers will enjoy the larger cast without worrying about characters blending together, despite similar designs or names. Yazawa’s illustration style is unique and enjoyable, though many of the fashion choices in the character designs will read a bit dated. But they’re still enjoyable and will possibly read as vintage to today’s readers.
VERDICT The voice and pacing are still fresh, even though the original manga was published nearly 30 years ago, making this a classic that readers will still enjoy.

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