License request day: Piece

Have you read Hinako Ashihara’s Sand Chronicles (Viz)? I think it’s really terrific and would recommend it if you like moving coming-of-age stories. The main plot takes eight volumes to complete, and what’s really interesting about it is that the story matures with the protagonist, Ann. It starts with Ann as a moody pre-teen moving to her mother’s childhood home, a rural village, and follows Ann as she grows into a young woman with a job, responsibilities, and a complicated emotional life. Basically, it grows from a shôjo series into a josei title, which is a kind of amazing conceit as much as it is just an excellent comic. Viz is publishing two additional volumes of side stories about the well-developed and sympathetic cast of characters, but we’re just about done.

So when I overheard Danielle Leigh tweet about Ashihara’s current series, I had to leap into license request action. It’s called Piece, runs in Shogakukan’s Betsucomi (also home to Sand Chronicles), and sounds very promising. It also sounds like it uses time, though in a different way than Ashihara did with Sand Chronicles.

It’s about a young woman who hears of the death of a classmate who apparently viewed their relationship as being much closer than our heroine did. Mizuho looks into the sad, short life of Origuchi, trying to fill in the blanks and understand her connection to Origuchi. (I think that’s what it’s about, at least, though it’s partly guesswork.) Four volumes have been published so far, and Shogakukan seems to be branding it in its Flower josei imprint, for whatever that’s worth.

I sometimes forget that I also enjoyed Ashihara’s fun, one-volume SOS (Viz), which is about a secret dating agency in a high school. I’m almost entirely unfamiliar with her Forbidden Dance (Tokyopop), a four-volume series about a ballerina, aside from that I’ve heard some mixed responses to it. Please feel free to let me know if I should track it down.

And, for another approach to license requests, please check out Sean (A Case Suitable for Treatment) Gaffney’s run-down of the potential license-ability of the books that made a recent best-seller list in Japan.

6 Responses to License request day: Piece

  1. Danielle Leigh says:

    Yay! This new series looks like it is going to chew up my heart and spit it right back out but I still would gladly sign up for the experience. Ashihara just has a gift, I guess.

  2. [...] Welsh’s license request this week is Piece, by Sand Chronicles creator Hinako [...]

  3. julie says:

    I wish someone would license Derby Queen!

  4. It’s been a long time since I read Forbidden Dance, but I remember liking it quite a bit. I didn’t realize that the same mangaka had so much out in English – I’ll have to try some of it out.

  5. I too wish someone would license Derby Queen!

    =p

  6. Eric Henwood-Greer says:

    I’m kinda embarassed that I had no idea Forbidden Dance was the same manga-ka as Sand Chronicles. I only bougtht he first two vols, way back when ti came out (I have the earlier, less dynamic covers than those in the link)… I found it ok but really kinda average and at the time it wasn’t something I missed when I just kinda dropped it (if I had known I only had two vols left, I probably would have stuck by it). I’m obviously drawn to the ballet theme of it, but I don’t remember being too impressed with the ballet art or setting, really–not like Swan (or Yamagishi’s Arabesque series–or obviously Moto Hagio’s ballet work), and it all seemed pretty average. I guess it was an early work though–now I’m gonna try to find the later two out of print books cheap, used…

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