06 Nov / Saturn Apartments (vol. 3) by Hisae Iwaoka, translated by Tomo Kimura
With the debut volume receiving major approval by the American Library Association earlier this year by making YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association)‘s list of 2011 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, the rest of the Saturn series certainly has quite a bright future on translated shores.
Kind and gentle Mitsu befriends a lower level transplant as vol. 3 begins, a woman who is now living in vast, upper-level luxury space but is desperate and lonely, not knowing why her new husband has suddenly disappeared. Mitsu manages to give her lonely soul hope.
He watches a quiet drama between a pair of devoted siblings play out (that one got me soooo weepy). And he repeatedly insists on turning down a lucrative job offer from a mysterious wealthy stranger.
Down below, Sohta questions his menial job at the power plant, dreaming of more challenging work … including somehow, some way making it down to the earth’s surface, in spite of how toxic it has reportedly become. When he starts to spend more and more time away from home, his energetic wife Kayo who loves to cook, feeds others with her delicious meals as she waits and waits. Meanwhile, an interloper appears to try to gain some window space …
Even in the future – perhaps not too distant given our escalating abuses of Mother Earth – we remain unable to let go of the arbitrary lines separating the haves with the have-nots. Navigating the many strictly delineated levels, Mitsu remains a wide-eyed innocent, drawing friends and strangers to him from above and below, somehow reconnecting even temporarily the tenuous ties between human heart to human heart. He’s a gentle, necessary reminder to reach out and touch someone, without barriers, without expectations, without judgment. The YALSA judges sure picked a good one!
Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult
Published: 2011 (United States)
DOSEI MANSION © Hisae Iwaoka
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc