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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Story, Beautiful Art
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,...
Published on May 5, 2010 by Benjamin Boylan

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Predictable.
I was forced to read this book for class The story is good but predictable and the character's are a little flat save for the cliche emotional trauma that the main character suffers from, but its well put together. a warning though, it does vaguely explore the topics of Pedophilia and prostitution.
Shiga sets off in search of Megumi, his freind's daughter and gets...
Published on May 13, 2010 by Ben-Oni


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid Story, Beautiful Art, May 5, 2010
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This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, intriguing, very adult, but not quite among his best ~, October 14, 2012
This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (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. It seems that Taniguchi had written and drawn Shiga as a trustworthy, almost father-like figure, but it doesn't seem to come through very well in the English version. Another point that I felt Taniguchi missed was in fleshing out the backstory of Shiga and Megumi's mother. At times people connected to them even ask if Shiga is really Megumi's father. But we don't really get any of Shiga's perspective on this back story, and it is sadly dropped about halfway through the manga.

At about the halfway point, things begin to clear up and the reader is privy to much more information. Sadly though, the story starts into a corporate conspiracy plot thread that tends to muddle things a bit. Not much is explained well, and often the events don't make much sense. It is my opinion that Taniguchi shifted gears in order to build to a climbing themed finale.

So it may sound as if I am being unduly harsh, but in comparison with something as emotional, as touching, and wonderfully written as A Zoo in Winter, the shortcomings of this manga become clear. It is still Taniguchi's work, but it's almost as if he wasn't putting his usual touch into the writing. Shiga is an interesting character, but it seems that he is Superman at times. Even the scenes where Taniguchi tried to make him more human seeming, come off as contrived; almost as if Taniguchi thought "oh man, I need him to have a 'human' moment".

All criticism aside, this is an excellent manga that delves into taboo territory for the Japanese public. I applaud the author for going against the grain, and using manga as the medium to do so. His works are complex and solidly written. Though the character drawings all seem similar to characters from other Taniguchi manga (it seems he only uses 8 female faces), he puts enough written dialogue personality into each so they don't come off as too similar except in appearance. The drawing style is crisp and clean, and as far as manga goes, Taniguchi tends to use restraint. Often the characters are standing in relaxed poses or sitting and conversing; very different than most modern manga where characters almost always seem to have to be in a state of motion.

I do recommend this manga heartily. If it were any other author/artist I would be listing five stars. But knowing Taniguchi can do better (and has done better), I felt it not up to his usual high standards. Check out the other two listings. Personally I liked A Zoo in Winter better, but they are both wonderful stories. Times of Botchan is also a nice manga to look into. And if anyone has other recommendations, please list them in the comments section (even from a different author); I'm always game for something new.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Mountain of Glass and Steel, November 9, 2010
This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (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. Shiga is more accustomed to the direct dangers of mountain climbing, and lacks the skills necessary to navigate lying wealthy businessmen and the underworld where young girls are rented by the hour. But he is a dogged pursuer, and follows the trail towards Megumi even when it leads to conclusions he would have never thought possible. The men and girls of Tokyo are unbalanced as well, not able to deal with a man who cannot be bought and does not give up. There is a last mountain that Shiga must climb, but steel and glass is much more slippery than the honest earth he is accustomed to.

I found "The Quest for the Missing Girl" to be a gripping read. Tanigushi has crafted a perfect noir detective story, moving down from the mountains, through the labyrinthine streets of Tokyo and finally back up to the world of skyscrapers and privilege. I have read a lot of modern Japanese detective novels, and I would put "The Quest for the Missing Girl" up there with any of them.

Shiga's an interesting character; pure like the nature he loves but haunted by past failures as well as his own middle-age. In Tokyo he is completely out of his element but the same willpower that drags him up mountains pushes him through the story. I loved the subtle emotion Taniguchi brought to the story as well. You can feel Shiga's sense of loss with Megumi, seeing what he gave up because he would not give up his personal passion. The scenes with Megumi's mother Yoriko and with Megumi's friend Maki are especially touching. Maki is a cynical street kid, but breaks down wondering why no one cares about her as much as Shiga cares about Megumi.

Action-wise, it is rare that a comic has me on the edge of my seat. I usually only get that out of seeing a movie. I don't want to give anything away, but the final scene was an absolute page-flipper that had me literally holding my breath. The realism Taniguchi brings to his art gives the scenes a much greater impact than more cartoony styles.

Needless to say, I loved "The Quest for the Missing Girl" and will be checking out more of Taniguchi's work. Great stuff.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complex storytelling, April 1, 2009
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This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (Paperback)
A book to read and share, I do like how "The Walking Man" puts in a cameo.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Extremely Predictable., May 13, 2010
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This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (Paperback)
I was forced to read this book for class The story is good but predictable and the character's are a little flat save for the cliche emotional trauma that the main character suffers from, but its well put together. a warning though, it does vaguely explore the topics of Pedophilia and prostitution.
Shiga sets off in search of Megumi, his freind's daughter and gets led on a wild goose chase before ever really breaking the case open. All the while he is reminded of his freind's death (Which occured while he was climbing in the mountains and froze.). The bad guy is also very predictable and the CEO of a car company with a fancy for young girls.
I thought the story was well put together but I wouldn't reccomend this book simply because I detest even the vague allusions it makes to subjects I mentioned before.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars climbing climbing climbing THATS IT, March 2, 2010
This review is from: The Quest for the Missing Girl (Paperback)
the story is simple(minded): the guy comes from the mountains to Tokyo to find his friends lost daughter. he stumbles around a bit and solves the case by climbing.
i understand this guy does a lot of comics about climbing the mountains... but is climbing the solution to everything? why mix it with mystery?
the story is straight-forward, simple-minded, the drawings are very nice.
read it only if you are a hardcore climbing fan.
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The Quest for the Missing Girl
The Quest for the Missing Girl by Jirō Taniguchi (Paperback - January 1, 2010)
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