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The Quest for the Missing Girl Paperback – January 1, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Given that Taniguchi is the creator of and artist for many accomplished works of nouvelle manga such as The Walking Man and Ice Wanderer, this mystery manga falls short. The rather uninventive story line finds mountaineer Shiga traveling to Tokyo to find his friend's 15-year-old daughter, who has gone missing. Taniguchi, whose usual work reflects a fascination and great respect for nature and the overwhelming feelings that it can conjure, feels out of step with this book. The project excels in the mountain scenes and flashbacks, but flattens out in the flashy lights of Tokyo. Like Shiga, Taniguchi seems to feel out of place with the big city, outside of and uncomfortable with its rhythms. Very much a product of its time (Quest was first published in Japan in 1999), Taniguchi treats compensated dating (a practice of older men giving younger women gifts in exchange for companionship or sex, common in Japan in the 1990s) with a heavy hand. He also implements larger-than-life scenarios that, while staples in manga, feel clumsy in his hand. Taniguchi's art is ever beautiful, but like the storytelling here, it simply doesn't grip the reader the way his other works do. (Dec.)
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About the Author

Jiro Taniguchi was born 1947 in Tottori, Japan. He trained in the 60's and debuted in 1971 in 'Young Comic'. During the 70's he worked with author Natsuo Sekikawa before launching into their massive work 'The times of Botchan' in the 80's. The 90's saw many solo works including the prize winning 'A Distant Neighborhood'. The new millenium saw Taniguchi's epic adaptation of Baku Yumemakura's novel 'The Summit of the Gods' into a 1500 page manga. He continues to live and work in Japan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ponent Mon S.L.; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8496427471
  • ISBN-13: 978-8496427471
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,108,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you can get past the SLIGHTLY clunky story and the more conservative customs of Japan (probably shown in this book as more conservative than Japan today)this is a cool story. A girl is kidnapped and a man leaves his mountain post to rescue her from down and dirty inner city Tokyo.

The art is incredible. The way he resolves the story is cool and unique, although it is wrapped up rather fast. I blew through this thing in about an hour and a half, so if you are looking for a light read for a train ride or something, this is a good pick.
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Format: Paperback
I have to say that A Zoo in Winter and A Distant Neighborhood are better manga than this. (See: A Zoo In Winter and A Distant Neighborhood, Vol. 1). But if one enjoys more 'adult' themes in manga (not R rated stuff). The themes Taniguchi uses typically cover relationships. There are themes of family, friends, love, and loss. One of the interesting aspects of Taniguchi's writing is that it seems he puts something of himself into his works.

In The Quest for the Missing Girl, Taniguchi seems a bit more distant in his writing. The plot and premise are very interesting, and cover a subject very hush hush in Japanese society: youth prostitution. In this manga, the protagonist is Shiga, a man who lives a solemn life in the mountains of rural Japan. He lives for mountain climbing. In an odd twist of fate, his old friend died while on a climb that Shiga refused to join. Shiga was grief and guilt stricken, but vowed to always look after his friend's wife and daughter.

The daughter and the missing girl is Megumi. Very early on the reader discovers that her disappearance is connected to teenage prostitution. Shiga sets out for Tokyo to discover her whereabouts. Along the way he tackles the search as if it were a climb: always moving steadily forward with nearly mindless resolution.

The first half of the story was very good. The mystery surrounding Megumi's disappearance is well built. The supporting characters are all interesting. Though at times it seems that Shiga tends to engender trust from the youths he encounters without the story really explaining why.
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Format: Paperback
After falling in love with Jiro Taniguchi's art on the brilliant The Times of Botchan, I was interested in checking out some of his solo work. He is a beautiful artist, but can he write?

At 334 pages "The Quest for the Missing Girl" is a heavy book, both in size and content. The pace is more like a novel or a modern Clint Eastwood flick than a comic, moving forward with a slow determination towards the inevitable climax. Taniguchi tackles social issues affecting Japan, be it from the loss of attachment to nature, to the demands of society over personal passion, to teenage prostitution, all wrapped within a gripping and heroic narrative.

The missing girl of the title is Megumi, a 15-year old Tokyo girl who didn't come home one day. In a panic, Megumi's mother calls Shiga, a solid mountain man who lives his life as far away from Tokyo as possible. Once upon a time, Shiga was best friends and climbing partners with a man named Sakamoto. Both men were in love with a woman named Yoriko, whose only condition for marriage was that her husband gives up the mountains to be with her. Shiga's passion for mountains was too great, but Sakamoto accepted. However, after marriage and Megumi's birth, Sakamoto wanted one last climb to the Himalayas. Shiga refused to partner with him, and Sakamoto died. Shiga, full of guilt, swore to watch over Megumi and protect her.

So when Megumi goes missing, Shiga comes down from the mountains and into the wilds of urban Tokyo, as the proverbial stranger in a strange land.
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