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WANDERING ISLAND

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WANDERING ISLAND

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Recommended. By Kenji Tsuruta. First volume in a fascinating storyline. Mikura Amelia is a free-spirited young woman--more girl than woman, really--living alone with her cat. She operates an air delivery service, flying her vintage 1936-era seaplane to Japan’s small island communities located hundreds of miles out into the Pacific. When her beloved grandfather, who taught her to fly and started the business, passes away, she discovers he left her an undelivered parcel, addressed to an island that doesn’t exist…or does it? Magnificent artwork--photo-realistic detail, juxtaposed with softly sensual images of Mirkuro, who is more comfortable in a bikini than in flight jackets...it's hot there!

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First volume in a fascinating storyline. Mikura Amelia is a free-spirited young woman--more girl than woman, really--living alone with her cat. She operates an air delivery service, flying her vintage 1936-era seaplane to Japan’s small island communities located hundreds of miles out into the Pacific. When her beloved grandfather, who taught her to fly and started the business, passes away, she discovers he left her an undelivered parcel, addressed to an island that doesn’t exist…or does it? Magnificent artwork--photo-realistic detail, juxtaposed with softly sensual images of Mirkuro, who is more comfortable in a bikini than in flight jackets...it's hot there! To answer this question, and just perhaps find out what happened to another missing mentor, her old English teacher, who was also looking into this strange disappearing island, Mikura sets off. Her first vision of the island results in a serious crash and she's only saved by the good graces of a friendly ship's captain who was wathcing out for her. But she's determined to solve the mystery, and the rest of this first installment has her working hard to that end.

Like fellow manga artist Mizui (Sowa: A History of Japan), Tsuruta fills his work with highly detailed planes, ships, buildings and landscapes with a photo-realist quality, setting this firmly in the real world. The plane here is an actual 1936 Swordfish, which uses a huge Bristol Pegasus engine. Mikura has a second engine, which I imagine is for spare parts, taking up part of her living room.

Editor Carl Horn nicely sets the stage for all this in his six-page Afterword. Japan is actually made up of 6,852 islands--we usually only think of the largest four.  These stretch deep into the Pacific, hundreds of miles from other land, and this is where our heroine makes her living, delivering materials to these islands too small for an airport or for a regular delivery service. Carl points out just one of these is 25 hours by ship from Tokyo--so that is why planes come in so handy, just as they do in Alaska.

I can't help but think filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibl) would love this. The story combines his favorite subjects: independent young girls, vintage airplanes and a mystery...instead of islands in the sky, here we have a traveling island that comes around just once every three years. What is the tale here? And is there someone there who saves Mikura the first time she crashes nearby? She's a bit sexier than a standard Miyazaki heroine, while still very realistic, nothing as fantastic as American comics heroines.

Series Overview: First Volume of Manga Series only released in Collected Format. This is a continuing series, but volume 2 is not yet out in Japan.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Item Code WAIS
Publisher Dark Horse Manga
Publish Date 2016
ISBN 9781506700793
Binding Soft Cover
Dimensions 6x8
# Pages 200pg
Color b&w
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