Title: Just So Happens
Author: Fumio Obata
Genre: Graphic Novel, Cultural (Japan)
‘Life has a time limit. And we are changing all the time… So are our ambitions, desires, and purposes. The important thing is to find something that never changes in you.’
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I picked up Just So Happens on a whim, drawn in by the beautiful watercolour paintings and Japanese theme. The story follows a Japanese girl living in London, who must fly home to Japan after receiving news that her father has died; she must come to terms with losing her father while readjusting to the Japanese culture she had left behind.
After reading Goodreads reviews, I see that a common perception is that although visually stimulating, the book loses points by having a weak plot. In a sense, I can agree with this. The overall message I took away after reading was ‘life just goes on’, and I wasn’t sure that Yumiko, our protagonist, had truly found closure by the time she returned back to London (and therefore neither had I).
However, perhaps those critics are missing the point of it all. Due to her cultural displacement, caught between her London identity and her Japanese one, she can not find peace within herself. I sensed her confusion, but I think it could have been portrayed even better than it was.
Most of the star rating goes towards the illustrations, which depict Japan beautifully. Maybe I was generous giving this four stars, but despite the thin-at-times plot, it was a very pleasant read, and I will definitely be reading more from Fumio Obata.
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (4/5)
Have you read this book, and if so, what are your thoughts on it? Do you agree with my review or did you interpret the book in a different way? Comment below!