REVIEW: ‘Look Back’

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Look Back - But Why Tho

While Tatsuki Fujimoto is most well-known for Chainsaw Man, his one-shot Look Back offers a different kind of emotional story, one grounded in reality but still couched in enough sci-fi to use the genre to hit an emotional resonance with readers. Created, written, and illustrated by Fujimoto, this one-shot is published and localized in English by VIZ Media through the publisher’s VIZ Signature imprint. Additionally, the one-shot is translated by Amanda Haley and features touch-up art and lettering by Snir Aharon.

The overly confident Fujino and the shut-in Kyomoto couldn’t be more different, but a love of drawing manga brings these two small-town girls together. When Kyomoto sees Fujino’s manga in the school paper, she’s hurt. It’s beautiful art but Fujino is younger than her which causes inferiority to grow inside Kyomoto. How come she can’t draw like that? Putting immense pressure on herself, Kyomoto begins to dedicate every piece of her time to drawing manga, becoming a shut-in in the process. When Fujino comes over one day to drop off something from school, she pulls Kyomoto out of her room with a comic strip.

What follows is a friendship and dedication to creating manga that captures the beauty of friendship and creating together. But when tragedy strikes, the girls will have to look back on their lives and into the future. A poignant story of growing up and moving forward, with a light science fiction twist that only Fujimoto could have come up with to be so packed with emotion.

While Fujimoto’s mastery of dialogue is on display in the small moments between the girls, it’s his ability to craft emotional scene in panels that don’t feature any words, spoken, unspoken, or otherwise. In panels dedicated to just the girls drawing, living, Fujimoto is able to capture differnet atmospheres depening on th eline weight, the shadows, and the posture of his characters. Telling a story with no word is a skill that separates Fujimoto from others, and in this particular instance, it adds deep emotion to his one-shot.

Overall, Look Back is very different than Chainsaw Man, but in some ways it isn’t. This one-shot tackles inferiority, depression, and friendship. It also looks at grief and surviving after it in a nuanced way that is unbelievable given the small page count. To tell a story with the emotional depth in Look Back over such a small number of pages is an accomplishment.

Fujimoto remains one of my favorite mangaka working right now and it’s due in large part to their versility in crafting intimate stories with loud genres. This is a twist that I can’t wait for everyone to see unfold on the page. Now, I’m just hoping VIZ Media licenses more of their work as quick as it can happen.

Look Back is available now wherever books are sold both digitally and physically. 


Look Back
5

TL;DR

Overall, Look Back is very different than Chainsaw Man, but in some ways it isn’t. This one-shot tackles inferiority, depression, and friendship. It also looks at grief and surviving after it in a nuanced way that is unbelievable given the small page count. To tell a story with the emotional depth in Look Back over such a small number of pages is an accomplishment.

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