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NonNonBa Paperback – May 22, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


“Mizuki conveys his pen-and-ink messages with a surreal combination of cartoon-like people superimposed against harsh realistic renderings of their environment.” ―Marco Werman, PRI's The World

“Shigeru Mizuki is the preeminent figure of Gekiga manga and one of the most famous working cartoonists in Japan today–a true living legend.” ―Graphic Novel Reporter

“[Mizuki] is one of Japan's greatest illustrators, a master of both realism and manga.” ―Globe and Mail

“This book is excellent . . . I can only hope we're soon flooded by Mizuki translations. I'd like to drown in them.” ―Newsarama

About the Author

Born on March 8, 1922, in Sakaiminato, Shigeru Mizuki is a specialist in stories of yokai and is considered a master of the genre. NonNonBa was named the Best Album at the Angoulême nternational Comics Festival. He has been published in Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Taiwan, and Italy.


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Product Details

  • Series: Nonnonba
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly; Tra edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1770460721
  • ISBN-13: 978-1770460720
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,039 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
UPDATE: Most of my review has been retconned now because Kitaro has now officially been announced for an english release by D+Q early in 2013. Source: Continue reading with all of that in mind.

When talking about Shigeru Mizuki's oeuvre it is impossible to separate him from his literal monster work Gegege no Kitaro, the adventures of little half yokai (a catchall term for demons, ghosts, monsters, angels, netherworldly spirits), half human boy Kitaro who tries to find balance between the two realms.

If that sounds like it is the model for most modern manga, that's because Mizuki's work was highly influential for all those who came after it.
Exploring such themes as "Who is the real monster - man or supernatural?", environmentalism, bullying, deeper and more complex issues even than those - unfortunately my own exposure to Gegege no Kitaro is sadly limited because hey - us Americans never got much of anything in English.

It was a huge hit during the 60's period where cute and socially responsible comics like Astroboy reigned supreme, for whatever reason. Mizuki's climb to fame was through his deep love of yokai, publishing several books on the subject including his pretend scientific illustration book Yokai Daizukai.

Nonnonba is our second Mizuki work to reach American shores. For a man who is now 90 years old, I find that really sad that we are just now starting to get his work, and considering the first comic we got was a war memoir (a good war memoir true), that's utterly depressing that we're JUST now getting what is his FOCUS. But I digress. Let's actually talk about Nonnonba.

First, some cool information about this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Mankins on August 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
The title character Nonnonba is Shigeru Mizuki's grandmother, who introduced him to the tales of the Japanese spirit world when he was a child. That introduction went on to inspire a career of learning about Japan's folklore and recording it in comic form, becoming a Japanese national institution in the process --- on that back of a cartoon series! Nonnonba tells us how it all began, in this lightly fictionalized memoir.

The stories are always charming and magical, and sometimes frightening and tragic. The art is expressive, while retaining a charming cartoonishness.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mylz on August 13, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some make manga, while others, like Mizuki, make manga magic. NonNonBa has it all: picture-perfect illustrations, humor, fantasy, mystery, action, heartache, tragedy, love, and wisdom. The characters are more than just believable, they have distinct personalities. They jump off the page. Even the loathsome ones have the power to bring out a glint in the eye, or a smirk on the face of a reader.

NonNonBa is the key figure in the story. She is an elderly woman who hires herself out to do neighborhood housekeeping. It is she who equally delights and frightens the main character (Shige) when she opens up the wild and wooly world of the yokai. Shige has troubles, just like any other child, but it's NonNonBa who helps in lightening his load.

There's NOTHING like the kooky spirit folklore of Japan: the bean-thrower, the ceiling-licker, the slippery lad, Mr. Sticky, etc. I particularly recommend this book for stick-in-the-mud kids and teens who claim that they don't like to read books. This could be the literary spice they need. I make no hasty judgment in classifying this book as a "classic". Mizuki is a MASTER at his craft.
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