On Growing Up (The Gods Lie)

This is Day 5 of the 12 Days of Aniblogging holiday rumpus. Today I am going to talk about a manga titled The Gods Lie. Or more accurately, the gods lie. with no capital letters, and with a period at the end. (That is code for “this is an artistic work.” [Which often means I will like it, ha ha.])

After reading some high praise for this one-shot manga, I decided to go ahead and just buy it. The story didn’t sound exciting — rather, it sounded quiet and pensive. Sometimes I am in the mood for those sorts of stories. The Gods Lie reminded me a lot of the sort of story you might find at an indie film festival. It has a “so this is how life goes” sort of feel to it. Kaori Ozaki’s art style seems to go along perfectly with this tone: not too flashy, and a little rough around the edges. It’s calm and down-to-earth, but still beautiful.

I read the volume again in preparation for this post, and it made me tear up a bit at several points. The story is not a melodramatic tragedy, but rather a series of events that feel much more within the realm of possibility than is perhaps typical in drama. The characters feel real, the dialogue feels natural, and the way the plot progresses never feels forced. It’s just a very solid production, so I’d recommend it to anyone.

This was one of the few manga I brought with me to Japan, where I’m currently living. It helps that it’s a one-shot, but it’s also the kind of story that I like to go back to periodically. Growing up, I did not experience the sorts of things the characters of this story had to go through — but I still felt I could relate to their anxiety and their concerns. The adults in the story also have trouble knowing what to do or say in trying situations, I think is worth noting. It seems that we only have wisdom to support us after we have endured our hardships in life.

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