Look Back is a one-shot manga by Chainsaw Man creator Tatsuki Fujimoto that is quite different from his most famous title. This manga is set within the real world, and stars two girls who are artists.
We meet Fujino first. She draws manga for her fourth grade school paper, and is pretty happy with herself. She gets comments about how good of an artist she is, and how she’ll become a professional artist. Then one day she’s asked to help out a truant student who doesn’t come to school. The student sends in some of her artwork, which is published next to Fujino’s in the school paper. And Fujino is mortified to see how much better the other student is.
This sends Fujino spiraling, but it also helps her engage. She draws and draws and draws. There are many pages without words in this manga, and a chunk of them just show her sitting at her desk, drawing. She ends up meeting the truant student, Kyomoto, and is shocked to hear that Kyomoto is a fan of hers. They begin working on manga together.
The storytelling gimmicks used here are unusual, and parts of it can be left open for interpretation. The artwork is also very impressive. Fujimoto’s art style changes over the course of the manga, and even from panel to panel, sometimes being incredibly detailed. The change of art pays homage to how Fujino’s artwork gets better over time, and is also a showcase of how artists can approach the same subject in different ways. It really works for this story.
There’s something in the story that feels reminiscent of the Kyoto Animation arson attack, which shows how much artists can be affected by what they see going on around them. Look Back is melancholic, bittersweet and unique, and a great opportunity for Fujimoto to show off his skills.
Story & Art: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Publisher: VIZ Media
Translator: Amanda Haley
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.