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Of love and life

Of love and life


Story and art: Mari Okazaki

Publisher: Tokyopop; 224 pages

(ISBN: 978-1427803146)

For ages 18+

SUPPLI is a manga where you seriously consider the possibility that the publisher may have made a mistake. The manga is rated “M” (mature) but has absolutely nothing explicit, violent or even remotely sexual in nature (well, at least for this volume). In fact, it contains less explicit material than some supposedly tamer stuff such as the dark, gothic shojo manga Godchild, and even Paradise Kiss. However, I still would not recommend this manga for readers younger than 16 because it deals with more mature issues.

Suppli revolves around 27-year-old Minami Fuuji, an ambitious and driven advertising executive. Her story is one of love lost and love found anew, of ambition versus love, of life and coping with it. When her boyfriend of seven years leaves her, she finds herself shutting out everyone and everything in her life except for her career. She throws herself into her work, forgetting about her heart.

When an opportunity for love comes knocking, she is torn between her past hurt and her future happiness. Will she finally open her heart? Or will she shut it out?

These questions and more are slowly answered in this rather confusing though very involving manga. The plot takes off and builds up in a painstakingly slow way. Half of the manga’s story meanders around Minami and her job and the people around her. The reader is left pretty much in the dark about the point of the whole manga until it begins to pick up somewhere through the later half.

When it does, however, the story takes on a whole new depth. The characters begin to flesh out and the conflict becomes evident. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself liking the story for how it depicts the real situations one may face in life (job conflicts and relationship problems among them).

The artwork is a different matter altogether. It is neither good nor bad, and very clumsily executed. Proportions are rather off at some parts, and although the artwork is somewhat reminiscent of Ai Yazawa’s in Paradise Kiss, it fails to meet the same detail and uniqueness. The only plus point of the artwork is that it is certainly different from your typical shojo manga.

I did, however, adore Minami as a lead character. She is very real, with all her flaws, misgivings and doubts. She makes mistakes and faces disappointments. She has quirks and little oddities which make her seem that much more human.

So, despite the clumsy, so-so artwork and slow-paced plot, I rather liked Suppli. And given that I enjoy manga with real characters in real-life situations, I will surely look forward to Vol.2.