DownfallDownfall by Inio Asano
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A portrait of a particularly unpleasant artist. Partly this is about the pressure sales and success can apply on creative endeavour (perhaps quite autobiographical given the recognition the author has received with books like Solanin). But Downfall goes a bit deeper than that – Fukazawa is so relentlessly focused on becoming a manga-ka that all his relationships burn up around him. The irony is that his manga is perceived by his audience to be very empathetic and moving, even though the creator of it is incapable of real human connection. Fukazawa is a master of emotional manipulation, in real life and in his work, but he's incapable of actual sympathy. The judgment of an almost mythical cat-eyed teenage girlfriend, that speaks in profundities and absurdities, is devastating, and very, very impactful.

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