Reviews: Ashinano, Hitoshi

You’re Watching Snow, You’re Minding Sheep

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 6

The sixth and final volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki was published in 2013. Much to my surprise, this volume contains answers to a few of the nagging questions unanswered in earlier volumes—just not the answers I expected.

Spoilers ahoy!

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The Place Where Light and Darkness Meet

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 5

The fifth volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki was published in 2012.

In volume four, Isaki, Kajika, and Sayori braved the Tate Road to get a better look at Mount Fuji. Having arrived at their destination, they discovered that proximity does not guarantee a good view of the thirty-eight-kilometre-tall mountain. What next?

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Follow, Follow, Follow Me

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 4

The fourth volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki was published in 2011. There has been no officially sanctioned English edition so far as I know.

When last we saw our characters, Isaki was on his way towards Mt. Fuji, with the package he is delivering for boss Shiro. The package is a mere pretext for the trip. Kajika and Sayori are using the fact that Shiro mistakenly gave Isaki the wrong package as yet another pretext, for following Isaki.

In a world mysteriously ten times larger than in our time, what could go wrong?

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I’ll Fly Away

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 3

The third volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki was published in 2010. There has been no officially sanctioned English edition of which I am aware.

Just as in volumes one and two, the world is filled with marvelous things, many of them everyday items magnified tenfold. Isaki is still trying to make a living flying a Piper Cub that belongs to semi-retired celebrity pilot Shiro. The world may be transformed into something rich and strange, but planes are still cool.

People familiar with volumes one and two may be thinking “Finally! Answers to all the mysteries!” Hahahaha! Dream on.

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Beyond This Horizon

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 2

Onwards to volume two of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki , first published in 2009. The world is big, the planes are small, and Kajika may have lost her shot at Isaki.

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Plane Speaking

Hitoshi Ashinano
Kabu no Isaki, book 1

Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki—Isaki of the Cub— was serialized between 2007 and 2013 and subsequently collected into six volumes. I am unaware of a North American edition. Which minor fact did not deter the intrepid reviewer.

At first glance, not much has changed in the (unspecified number of) years between our era and young Isaki’s. People still need to work, which means they need some means to get to work. For Isaki, work and transportation are one and the same. Neighbor Shiro allows Isaki the use of her aged but still reliable Piper Cub airplane. In return, Isaki uses the plane to run errands for Shiro.

First glance is, of course, misleading.

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The places where long ago people used to linger

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 14

It has taken me four months, but I have finally arrived at the 14 th (final) volume in Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō. Like the golden age of humans, the series has come to an end.

Cherry blossoms fall

A YKKless night looms
Weasels rip my flesh

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The End is Nigh

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 13

Welcome to the thirteenth review of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō. How happy I am to have read thirteen volumes of this manga! And how sad, because that means after this one there is only one left.

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One Life Isn’t Enough

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 12

Once more into Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō! But at a cost; at my present rate I will finished the whole series well before August is over. I should have picked some lengthier manga series on which to fixate.

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This dewdrop world

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 11

Volume 11 of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō is much like the previous ten volumes: quiet moments, mysteries, and not much in the way of answers.

Well, one answer: Ojisan is still among the living, at least for now.

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After a while, the sunflower wilted and died without thinking of our feelings.

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 10

You may have been concerned when I skipped a week but never fear! I do intend to finish reading all of Hitoshi AshinanoYokohama Kaidashi Kikō. Which brings us to volume ten. It is a very … Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō volume of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.

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Home Again, Home Again

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 9

I had an interesting experience as a result of last week’s review of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, volume eight. Someone attending an event I was co-hosting showed up on a scooter much like the one Alpha rides, specifically because I reviewed YKK. That’s awesome! And now I am a little worried about how people will commemorate the MilSF and Cosmic Horror books I review.

Ahem. Back to Volume Nine of Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō.

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On the Road

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 8

Volume Eight of Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō covers more than a year in the lives of the character. It’s more … um, “action filled” is the wrong term… informative about the setting than were previous volumes.


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Stuff happens!

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 7

Once more into the Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō archive! Ganbatte!

However, there is one major problem with reviewing one volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s YKK every week … which is that all too soon I will have read the entire run. Oh, well.

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Takahiro, You Idiot

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 6

I ran into an unexpected problem with the book I planned to review today. But of course, since you do not know what review was intended, you should be perfectly happy to read a review of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book six. At least I hope you will be.

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Just one more chip

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 4

I should just admit to myself I have no self control when it comes to binging on series (novels or comics). But will I? NO. I am going to kid myself (again) with “OK, just one more volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō and then I will stop. Really.” Because that could totally happen.

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We Are Both Better Than We Should Be

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 3

Well, I misspoke. Apparently I cannot resist dipping into the YYK archive at least one more time. Volume three of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō offers more enigmas and mysteries, but not a lot in the way of concrete explanation. Ah well.

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It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 2

I am going to skip my usual practice of giving the publication date of the work I am reviewing because … as much as I hate to shake your faith in me as an all-knowing sage of SFF, I must admit that I am not sure when volume two of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō was published.

In this volume, author Ashinano returns to the twilight world of his protagonistAlpha Hasseno, cafe owner and Alpha 7 M2 series robot. We are given eight short pieces; seven that show Alpha’s world as it is, and one that hints at how it got that way.

Sorry about the tiny cover art. I could not find a larger image.

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Where Time Flows Lazily

Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, — Hitoshi Ashinano
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō, book 1

Hitoshi Ashinano’s science fiction manga series Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō (Yokohama Shopping Trip Diary; popularly known as YKK) was serialized between 1994 and 2006.

The climate changed and the oceans rose. Humanity’s cities have either drowned or have become mere shadows of what they once were. The last remnants of humanity are slowly dwindling away into extinction. The general decline poses many challenges to Alpha Hatsuseno, proprietor of a small coffee shop some distance from the much reduced Yokohama, but she accepts them with inhuman calm.

Alpha, you see, is an android. Humans may be doomed but their technological children are doing just fine. As is the Earth.

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