Friday, 6 April 2018

Perfect World volume 1 by Rie Aruga

Perfect World volume 1 by Rie Aruga
First published in Japanese in Japan by Kodansha Comics in February 2015. English language translation by Rachel Murakawa published by Kodansha Advanced Media on the 20th March 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £5.62 (PB)
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from £7.67 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Tsugumi Kawana (26 years old) reunites with her first crush from high school, Itsuki Ayukawa, at a get-together with an architecture firm and the interior design company she works at. He sends her heart aflutter, until she realizes he's now disabled, and in a wheelchair. At first she feels she couldn't date a guy in a wheelchair, but then her feelings begin to change.

Perfect World is my very first graphic novel! I was encouraged to give one a try by the Metaphors And Musings blog post Why I love Graphic Novels and Comics and surprised myself by actually enjoying the book. I spotted Perfect World on NetGalley shortly after reading Kristen's post and specifically chose to download it because it features Disability On The Cover - also a topic Kristen has discussed so it seemed like fate!

No sniggering from experienced GN readers please(!), but it did take me a few pages to understand exactly how to read this book. The dialogue mostly flows from right to left across the page and different speech bubble shapes differentiate between spoken words and thoughts. I was impressed by the software used. My review copy of Perfect World was created as a pdf which I could easily read on my Kindle Fire with no bizarre formatting.

The story itself is lovely and not at all what I had expected from Manga. Aruga's doesn't shy away from the physical and emotional realities of living with a spinal cord injury and also shows how the uncomfortable reactions from other people can impact on sufferers and their companions. I liked that initially Kawana can't really see beyond Ayukawa's wheelchair and it takes a big effort for both to accept that a romantic relationship could be a possibility. Aruga conveys tremendous emotion through what are often quite stark pencil drawings. I loved the atmosphere she creates for these characters and the strong realities of their story.

This GN is the first of six volumes although the only one as yet to be translated into English. The rest do already exist in French, but I'm not sure my colloquial language skills are quite up to this yet so I shall eagerly await the English volume 2!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rie Aruga / Graphic novels / Books from Japan


  1. Yay for trying and liking new things. Nice to see these being translated in multiple languages.

    1. Thanks Kimberly!
      The French editions are cheaper too, but that might be because they're older than the English one

  2. Wow this sounds like a great graphic novel, I definitely want to check it out.
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

    1. I was pleasantly surprised by the story and how much I enjoyed the read :-)

  3. Totally fate! ;-) This one looks cute and like it covers the topic of disability well. But yeah, manga reads right to left. American GNs read in the usual left-to-right way though (just in case you didn't know). I don't think I've read any actual manga. But anyway, I'm glad to hear you liked this one!

  4. The right to left only happens for manga books, and not usual graphic novels! Just so that you can know that for future reference. Also I am so glad you loved it! I hope you can enjoy more graphic novels in the future. ^.^

    1. I have a whole new reading world to explore :-)