With the release of Bunny Drop‘s 4th volume last week, I’ve been thinking about Yumi Unita again, who I think has one of the most distinctive and beautiful styles in published josei today. Her use of line, pattern, and white space is different from most of the comics I’ve seen published, and I think that it is criminal that only one of her series has been published in the US (major props to Yen Press for picking up Bunny Drop, even if it is on a fairly slow release schedule). Also news – it looks like Unita is writing a Bunny Drop sequel that focuses on the story before the time jump that’s supposed to happen soon (I haven’t received my volume of Bunny Drop from my order yet, so I don’t know if the time jump happens in volume 4 or 5).
This week I’m looking at a two-volume Unita series called Toribako House (トリバコハウス), published in Shodensha’s Feel Young anthology in 2003. It focuses on an early-20s woman named Miki who is living with an older man. She has a real aversion to people being in her personal space, and comes across a guy who is brash, rude, and is all up in her grill. It is these sorts of situations that Unita derives her comedy and great story-telling situations, so I assume that this would be a great read. Apparently there are some darker tones to this series – threatened abuse from Miki’s boyfriend, perhaps – that apparently give it a darker feel at some points, but I suppose that’s what reading the book is for. The metaphor is a bird in a gilded cage, as evidenced by the cover art for the first volume (check out those shirt patterns!)
Unita has a style that I find expressive unique, and delicate, and unlike other shojo or josei, focuses more on the characters themselves than the places in which they interact. Her expressive facial features and varied character composition are highlights to what I consider a very excellent style of illustration, if a bit unconventional.
Toribako is a two-volume series, so not a big investment in funds – Yen Press could have it in a one-and-done omnibus (which I think I would prefer over two volumes, although I would certainly pay for two), and I wouldn’t mind reading it in digital if I had to – it looks like it lines up well with content from Digital Manga or NetComics, although I assume JManga could get the digital rights as well.
Toribako House looks like a cute series that could possibly stand on the line between shojo and josei, and could easily make it to the US because of its small size. Who do I have to beg to get a copy of this?