Author: Natsujikei Miyazaki
First Published: 2001
Genres: Seinen, Slice of Life
Format: eBook, Webpage
Source: Read Online
A collection of short stories which feature the mystery of human beings with a seemingly surreal yet pure literature-like style.
Henshin no News is a collection of one-shot stories that explore human relationships and loneliness. It is an extremely experimental slice of life manga that comes to life due to Miyazaki’s unusual art style and expert storytelling in a relatively small package.
“It’s only when it’s time for goodbyes that I finally come to like everyone.”
Like most manga in the slice of life genre, many of the situations that the characters deal with are relatively mundane, but what sets this manga apart is that there is this element of the fantastical that removes the stories and the characters from reality. At times bordering on being absurd, Miyazaki weaves magical realism into her narrative smoothly and doesn’t compromise the central theme of relationships.
Each story has a character facing some form of a crisis and meditates on humanity’s propensity for loneliness and isolation. What is truly magnificent about this manga however is the way that humor is used to cut the tension, giving the collection a pure and dreamy feel. The last story in particular was fantastic for referencing manga legend Osamu Tezuka and it had me smiling from ear to ear.
While a little offbeat, Henshin no News is a hidden gem and I’ve never read anything quite like it. It subverted my expectations with every story and managed to make me feel extremely sad for each character while also making me laugh. It is a breath of fresh air and managed to be both serious and lighthearted at the same time.