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Manga Monday: Henshin

Story and Art by Ken Niimura

Article by Mara Wood

Henshin GN

If you’ve read any of my reviews of GEN manga titles Alive, Anomal, and Android Angels, you know I’m a fan of short story collections. Short manga stories are few and far between. Most titles require a lot of invest from the reader. Black Bird, a favorite of mine, lasted only 18 volumes. But, in order to understand the full story, you needed to ready each and every volume.

Don’t even get me started on Bleach and Naruto.

For new readers, a short story collection in a manga format is a great way to dive into a medium. No prior knowledge, no long-term investment…You get an appropriate taste of what the medium can do.

Henshin by Ken Niimura from Image Comics is that entry point for new manga readers. Niimura, of I Kill Giants fame, is an accomplished storyteller who presents a unique point of view for each story.

The central theme to these stories is the role of change in each character’s life. The stories range from light science fiction to action-adventure to autobiography. One of my favorite moments from the collection is Niimura’s love of cats. Specifically, the series of stories he tells about how much he wants cats to love him. It’s easily one of the most relatable stories in the collection. (I say all of this with a cat in my lap. It makes typing a little difficult, but it’s worth it to hear her purr obnoxiously.)

Niimura’s artwork reflects the type of story he tells. He shows more detail when needed, and he brings out the more cartoonish look for stories about him and his friends.

There’s not a whole lot I want to expand with the quick review and recommendation. Being a short story collection, I want to you be able to experience each story as it’s presented in the collection with little prior knowledge. Take my word for it and check out this collection.

Henshin came out from Image and hit comic stores on January 14th. It will be available in bookstores on January 27th. It’s presented in the original right-to-left format and is approximately similar in size to I Kill Giants.

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