A group of 20-somethings come together to find themselves in Inio Asano's Solanin.
Solanin is a book that will resonate with a lot of people. This group of friends who met at their university's 'Pop Music Club' has graduated college and are now, supposedly, adults. Time for jobs, families, and perhaps putting aside the childhood dreams.
Meiko and Tandea aren't satisfied with this. Meiko looks around the office in which she works, and contemplates the other adults around her. Deciding that a 'who cares?' life isn't what she's destined for, and since this job has let her squirrel away enough funds to get them by for a few months, she walks out of the job that pays the bills but isn't what she loves. Taneda, having worked part-time as an illustrator but never offered a full-time position, decides to devote his time to the music that brought them all together in college.
But following one's dreams is harder than it looks, and it takes a tragedy to give them the final push to get their music out there.
There's a narrow window in which Solanin will really resonate with the reader. If the reader is too young, and still too idealistic, they won't really understand how hard it is to hold onto one's dreams when things like a mortgage and medical bills need to be paid. Too old, and the reader becomes jaded and simply wants to shake the characters by the shoulders and tell them to stop complaining. But if the reader is in the same place in their lives as Meiko and the rest, this story might be the kick in the pants he needs to follow his dreams, wherever they may lead.
Highs: The art takes a bit of getting used to, but Asano does a wonderful job, especially with the backgrounds
Lows: There's a bit of the 'First World Problems' issue that pervades the story
Verdict: For the target audience of this book, it's a punch-in-the-gut look at the realities of adulthood
Further Reading: Bunny Drop