Not Simple (Manga Review)

Title: Not Simple
Author: Natsume Ono
Illustrator: Natsume Ono
Pages: 320

Story -  Ian, a young man with a fractured family history, travels from Australia to England to America in the hope of realizing his dreams and reuniting with his beloved sister. His story unfolds backwards through the framing narrative of Jim, a reporter driven to capture Ian's experiences in a novel: not simple. A story within a story, a book within a book, a tale about the search for family, for an emotional home. 

One word to describe this book will be depressing. "Not Simple" is packed with adult themes that is approached with a little melodramatic flare, however the melodramatic actually works. The style of storytelling is executed very well, starting the story backwards revealing the ending, and telling the rest through flashbacks of the characters was a great way, especially since the ending was tragic. The characters are amazing. The main character Ian is fascinating and tragic, what really makes Ian stand out is his innocent. While reading and seeing all the obstacles Ian faced, the fact he keeps his innocent and simple personality, really makes you think of the title of the book "Not Simple." How can someone go through situations that is clearly not simple to deal with and keep an innocent outlook on life? Natsume Ono shows you through various characters how one deals with such situations. There is tons life situations that are raised in this book, such as Homosexuality, Rape, Financial Troubles, Incest and more. All these situations are explored through various characters which is brilliantly connected to Ian in some shape of form. Natsume Ono has crafted a compelling story with characters for everyone, the pacing is just right and when the story gets dark it doesn't let up. The story is bittersweet and tragic, but Ian character will leave you saying wow my life isn't that bad. 

Art - The cover of the book is what attracted me to the book. The artwork is simple and style is unique as well, it will take some getting used to for those not use to this art style, however I love how "Not Simple" has a simple appealing look about it. It's not the best artwork, but it fits the universe. 

Final Grade A+/9.5 - "Not Simple" is not simple by any means, the story deals with life situations that will hit close to home for some readers. The characters are compelling, complex and their relationships are connected to one man, the shocking twist and revelations will have you wishing for a better life for Ian, and the tragic end will make you consider how you approach your hardships. This is a must read for anyone who loves good characters and a melodramatic story. The art style is great but will take getting used too for those not use to the doodle feel.