Review: The Town You Live In (manga)

I noticed this little old blog is getting a bit of traction for the past few months because of a webtoon review I impromptu-wrote last year. And if you’ve somehow clicked on this post too, welcome and I hope you enjoy your stay!

Anyways, don’t mind me, I’m just going to hitch on this exciting development to uplift other works I’ve thoroughly enjoyed recently and over the holidays. First in line…

The Premise:

From Star Fruit Books — A full color collection of three stories. 
Someone learning more about who they are by accepting themselves just the way they are. someone learning more about a lover who’s no longer with them, and someone learning more about the world by searching for a place where they belong in their town.

What I Love:

I’ll just put it out there first of all. If you’re looking for something with a structured story that’s more plot-driven bla bla bla, this manga is not it.

Despite that, please please PLEASE READ THIS MANGA.

One thing I love about short story collections or anthologies is when they have a consistent element. Whether that’s an overarching theme or a visual connection et cetera, it adds another layer of enjoyment to me as a reader.

I love that there are SO MANY connections throughout the three stories, while each story can still completely stand on its own. They all take place in the summer and the theme of realizing something is at the forefront of each story. They’re all quite metaphorical in the way they deliver each “realization” theme too – which is another element that I think really works for short stories like this one. I find a metaphor-heavy fifty-thousand word novel can get potentially dense. But with short stories? Absolutely enjoyable.

It’s very charming that way – but still grounded. If that makes sense.

Now the art? GORGEOUS. You would think, at first glance, that it is quite simple because of the character design. And also while this will be described as a “full color” manga, there are only, like, three type of colors used. There’s The Color and each story has its own in various shades – blue, yellow and mint green respectively, as you can see in the cover. And these colors serve as the midtone. There’s the black line color which is also used for darker shadows and then there’s the white of the paper or the page as the highlight. Still, the overall art is incredibly detailed and that’s because, outside the characters themselves, it is. And it all feels so OPEN.

The world in which our three main characters walk on is so open and warm and inviting. Having all stories set on summer adds to that welcoming type of warmth too! And I think the art style overall is really fitting for the connected theme of realizations for the whole collection – the art, and even the writing, feel very introspective.

This whole collection is a big reminder that character design doesn’t always have to be intricate for the art of a graphic novel or comic to be deemed good.

Again, this is not the manga to read if you’re looking for complex storyline and structured plot. But there’s so many delightful stories out there that don’t have any of these and yet that doesn’t take away how enjoyable the stories are.

Who will love this, too:

If you:

  • adore cutesy art style
  • enjoy stories that’s leans quite heavily on metaphors
  • are looking for a cozy short read full of warmth

Give The Town You Live In a read!

The first story, Soda Syndrome, is available to read on Azuki FOR FREE and you can enjoy the other two by signing up to their premium membership of $3.99 a month. (Not sponsored – I just love Azuki.) There’s lots of other really cool manga in their library too, like this other really great short story also published by Star Fruit Books, When Pink Rain Falls.

Of course, if you just want to check out The Town You Live In, you can purchase a digital copy on Star Fruit Books. They’re a small press indie publisher and they have some really good manga licensed. I’m personally keeping an eye out for When Pink Rain Falls volume 2 and Pop Life is on my to-read list on Azuki.

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