I started the book Asadora! V01 thinking there was going to be some big excitement on every page (meaning our main character would be a Pippi Longstocking type of gal getting in and out of mischief with their friends). Instead, Naoki Urasawa gives us one very large, devastating moment, and the rest of the book is what we do to survive. We try and survive every day (Asa is one of 12 children), what we do to save face (a side story of a boy training for the Olympics), saving ourselves from the bad of this world (an event separates Asa from her family) and how we survive when our world is torn apart and tossed on its head.
This book is a contradiction. It is both dull and yet it is packed full and punches you. The black and white illustrations give it a feel of the time (several years after World War II) and fit the mood (somber). The side story seems awkward at first but has a weird connection to the main storyline. The pop references of the time are interesting (everyone will know who is attached to a pair of hips). And having it set in Japan at the end of the Second World War is a different setting for most Western readers. The managa format could be confusing at first, but once into it, it flows. I am curious what people’s thoughts are about the characters portrayal on the page. A few times I felt they looked like the American political cartoons of stereotypical Japanese people before/during the war. The whole book is an experience: You first read it. You then look at the art. And finally, you combine the two and this will give you your final feeling of everything.
I am wondering how many volumes will be in the series. And while any ages 10 and up could read, the concepts might be a bit for the sensitive reader. This book is kept in our adult graphic novel section but could easily be a young adult crossover. I would feel more comfortable with at least 12 and up personally, but adults, know your reader.
Due to the fact I was confused about the title, (the girls name is Asa not Asadora) and a piece of information at the end of the book, I looked up the meaning of the title. And Asadora is from the Japanese words Asa (morning) and a dora (a shortening of the Japanese spelling of drama). Therefore, it is morning drama which are short (about 15 minute long) shows that air in the morning. And this book is a snapshot into the life of one girl named Asa who might have started out in the middle, and an uninteresting name, but she has big things ahead of her.