a Wind Named Amnesia/Invader Summer Novel (of 1) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Release Date: Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Two fantastic novels whose mysterious worlds are bound to keep you on the edge of your seat.
Writer/Artist: Hideyuki Kikuchi and Yoshitaka Amano
Translation: Joe and Yuko Swift
Adaptation: Joe and Yuko Swift
What They Say
The Apocalypse didn't end with a BANG, but with a whimper. Silently, the "amnesia wind" swept away all of mankind's knowledge. Thousands of years of human civilization vanished overnight as people forgot how to use the tools of modern civilization; who they were, how to speak, everything. Technology decayed as mankind was reduced to an extremely primitive level. Two years after the devastation, a young man explores a nation reduced to barbarism: America.
Miraculously re-educated after the cataclysm, a young man is accompanied by a strange woman - somehow spared the obliterating effects of the amnesia wind. Pursued by a relentless killing machine, they search for those responsible for stealing their memories.
The cover here is an interesting one, depicting a pale image of a young girl surrounded by a multitude of butterflies all over a dark background that fades into sunny colors. The image has a very unique feel to it, in a way mirroring the strange tales contained within. The back cover holds a synopsis of each novel as well as a few words about the author over a plain background matching the front. The paper here seems to be of decent quality and the binding seems fairly sturdy. The artwork has an interesting, almost sketchy feel to it that you many readers will instantly recognize from the artists work in the Final Fantasy videogame series. Few extras are included, just a handful of musings by the author.
The text reads smoothly and does a good job of drawing you in, and honorifics are retained. A small glossary is included for Japanese honorifics is included before the second novel.
The first story contained in this book, A Wind Named Amnesia, focuses on a young man named Wataru, who we find wandering through a strange post apocalyptic world in ruins, filled with people who act like savages. While exploring the ruined streets of San Francisco, Wataru soon meets a strange young woman named Sophia who not only can still speak, but has an extensive vocabulary at her disposal. In the conversation that follows, we learn the reason the world is in this state. One day, two years ago, the minds of humanity were wiped clean. Civilization fell apart, and things quickly fell to ruin. According to Wataru, the only reason he was able to gain the knowledge that he had was due to a close friend named Johnny, who he had in turn kept his memories due to government experiments. Johnny had passed away after helping Wataru gain those memories, but before he did he pushed Wataru to travel the land and see how humanity has changed. Sophia, intrigued by the young man, asks him to aid her on her journey to reach New Orleans in ten days, and makes a mysterious bet with him that they will not gain a single companion on their journey.
After an encounter with a killing machine originally designed to keep the peace, the two depart and begin their journey across America. Along the way, they pass through grand locations such as Los Angeles and Las Vegas, as well as mysterious ones such as a strange town that provides everything for its residents and a natural park containing strange, giant animals. They also meet many people along the way and begin to learn how humanity has changed and yet in many ways stayed the same, and Wataru even begins to understand the reason behind the strange amnesia that struck humanity.
The second novel, Invader Summer, takes on a slower, yet much eerier approach as it follows the summer of Manabu Katagiri in the small town of Yubue. Katagiri, known as a kendo genius of extraordinary talent, lives a fairly normal life. He practices his kendo often and hangs out with Sayo, the little sister of his recently deceased girlfriend, Yayoi, as well as the eccentric reporter Otomo. However, it doesn’t take long for things to fall apart.
One day, a strange girl with pale skin appears in the courtyard of Katagiri’s school. Every boy in the school falls for her completely at just the sight of her with the exception of Katagiri. She departs as soon as quickly as she appeared, but from that point on, strange things start occurring around the town. People begin speaking in strange tongues, couples deeply in love fall apart, and a strange otherworldly dragon begins roaming the streets. Eventually, Katagiri meets the young woman, and finds her to be a poor, distressed young girl who he can’t imagine wishing harm on anyone. Could she really be related to these mysterious occurrences?
The two stories here each weave their own interesting tale of intrigue and inspection of human nature. A Wind Named Amnesia has us observing humans brought down to their most basic levels and displays some truly moving examples of both the great cruelty and great kindness that we are capable of. On the other hand, we have Invader Summer breaking the world down and questioning the very nature of reality. Both have some very interesting bits and pieces to them, and are bound to keep you reading just to see what happens next and how everything fits together. While some of the oddities contained within might go a tad too far, they still provide a striking tale that is bound to keep your attention. The amount of content here is absolutely great for the asking price, so if you’re interested in strange, thought provoking tales, do yourself a favor and pick this release up.
Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: N/A
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translation Rating: A
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Dark Horse
Orientation: Left to Right
Series: a Wind Named Amnesia (novel)