Tatsuki Fujimoto’s manga Look Back is a bittersweet story about friendship and art, with a strange twist that would feel right at home in something like David Lynch’s Mullholland Drive. It follows two manga artists Fujino and Kyomoto who make their start in the school paper. At first Fujino is widely acclaimed within the school for her funny strips, and is asked to allow Kyomoto to write one of the strips for the paper. Kyomoto’s very talented with drawing highly detailed backgrounds, which pushes Fujino to try harder, seeing Kyomoto as rival. That is until the pair meet and start working together, quickly getting one-shots published before Fujino is offered a serialised job.
At first the story is a fairly straight forward drama about manga artists competing with each other, then around half way through the story something happens and everything takes quite a dark turn. Up to that point it seems quite light-hearted with the pair inspiring each other to work harder, but the event shakes everything up. Fujino rips up the manga that caused them to meet in the first place, which ripples through time and causes a separate timeline where they didn’t end up working together. You don’t spend that much time in the alternative timeline, but you get enough to see how their lives would be different. It’s not clear whether it’s real, or just a fantasy within Fiujino’s head. It walks a line between reality and dream.
Like with everything Tatsuki Fujimoto has written, I really enjoyed Look Back. It’s a gripping read, that’s around 150 pages long, so you can read it easily in one sitting. I would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a manga that’s slightly different.
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