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Saturn Apartments, Vol. 1 Paperback – May 25, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Some time in the future, all of the humans are evacuated from Earth and moved to a man-made ring that now circles the planet. The luckiest people are the richest ones, because they can afford to have their windows cleaned so that they can see the planet far below them. Mitsu's father was a window cleaner, until the day five years ago that his rope broke (or was cut) and he fell down to the planet below. Now that Mitsu has graduated from junior high, he is about to become a window washer, too. It's a difficult and dangerous job because of the wind, meteorites, and radiation, but it's what he was born to do. This book introduces readers to a world that is both beautiful and tragic–people long to set foot on the planet Earth, but most of them can't even afford to see it. Iwaoka's drawings are for the most part cartoonlike and sweet, especially the people. But when the camera pulls back and readers see things on a grander scale–like Earth as seen through the eyes of a boy hanging tenuously by a rope while floating in space–Iwaoka's detail is suddenly breathtaking. Readers will look forward to the next volume because they'll be rooting for Mitsu to succeed in his career, to make new friends, to figure out what happened to his father, and to visit the surface of Earth.Andrea Lipinski, New York Public Library
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

As fans of Japanese comics know, character development is king in manga, and Saturn Apartments is a series that proves the rule. Humans have moved to an immense apartment complex in the sky after earth was declared a nature preserve, with those able to afford better views living on the top floors. After his father plunges to his death, middle-school graduate Mitsu takes over his dad’s job as a window washer, allowing him a view of all levels of both the structure and society. The detailed artwork, particularly the carefully rendered backgrounds, offers insight into the characters and their place in society that the narrative leaves out. There are no car chases, no high drama, and no explosions, yet the gentle stories are compelling, as are the characters and their palpable yearning for light, for love, and, most of all, for a glimpse of home. This story of a young teen struggling to live alone will appeal to YAs, and the introspective nature of the narrative will have plenty of crossover appeal for adult readers as well. Grades 9-12. --Eva Volin

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Product Details

  • Series: Saturn Apartments (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC (May 25, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421533642
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421533643
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.7 x 5.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
I don't know about you, but I am scared of heights. Few things freak me out more than seeing those window-washers hanging off the edges of skyscrapers with nothing under their feet than empty air, and nothing holding them up but a slim cable. Imagine, even more so, what window washers will be like when mankind makes its eventual move to outer space.

That is the basic premise of "Saturn Apartments," which sees a future where the entire planet Earth has been set aside as a nature reserve, and the human population has been moved to an artificial enclosed ring system in geosynchronous orbit. The ring itself is split into three levels, the upper level where the wealthy make their homes, the lower level where the poor are, and the middle level which seems to be set aside for public services like schools and hospitals.

The story follows Mitsu, who has just graduated school and is set to replace his father as a window washer for the ring system. This means he suits up in a spacesuit and rappels across the ring-structure until he gets to his client's window, where he washes it. It is a dangerous job, due to the threat of meteorites and running out of air, or even having your lifeline cut as happened to Mitsu's father. Of course, because the window-washing service is expensive, it is almost entirely the upper level that can afford the luxury, while the lower levels survive in only artificial light and no view of the outside world.

"Saturn Apartments" is essentially a "job manga" in the same was as the Science Fiction series Aria, where the story revolves around Mitsu and his various clients and his struggles to fit into the world of his father.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Likecroft on May 11, 2012
Format: Paperback
A quiet slice-of-life manga. I've very fond of manga like this--they tell human-centered slow-paced stories about just slightly not-our-world worlds that say little, thoughtful, sometimes sentimental things about people and how we make it through our lives. If you like this one, you might like Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou', which I *wish* a publisher would bring out in the States.
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From Hisae Iwaoka, the mangaka for “Hana Boro”, “Shiroi Kumo” and “Yume no Soko” comes “Dosei Mansion”, a seven volume manga series which was serialized in Shogakukan’s manga magazine “Ikki” from 2005 to 2011.

And now “Dosei Mansion” with the new title “Saturn Apartments” will be released in the U.S. courtesy of Viz Media.

“Saturn Apartments” is set in the future where a man-made structure is circling the Earth. The structure, a huge apartment complex which is divided into upper, middle and lower levels and where humanity now survives, while the Earth has been declared a nature preserve.

While the humans who live in the structure are separated by class depending on their jobs. And like the financial classes in humanity, the rich are the upper class while the poor are the lower class.

The manga is focused on the main protagonist named Mitsu. A lower level older teen who has been raised by friends of the family, after his father, an outer space window washer apparently died. All that was found was a cut rope and so for all these years, Mitsu thought that his father had tried to kill himself in order to fall down back to Earth.

As a new college graduate, Mitsu has become a professional window washer.

On the first day of the job, he is paired up with the older Jin, a man who had worked and was good friends with Mitsu’s father. But Jin is alarmed when he found out that his son thinks his father had committed suicide.

Their first job together is a request from the lower level and that is to clean the windows for a new couple who are getting married.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Valdivielso on December 9, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mankind left the Earth to live in space. In a massive station, a giant ring around the Earth, where all people are born, live, and die. Why did they leave Earth? To make it into a preserve. But in many ways life is the same. There is the upper class and the middle class and the scum..er..lower class. This is a story about one of those lower class people. You know, one of the 99%. Well, not really, I mean, this society seems to have no unemployment, no starving homeless, no problems like that. Yes, nobody is really equal, you can't pick the flowers, and the upper class get to see the Sun and sky. Things could be better.
Anyway, Mitsu is a window cleaner - he cleans the windows from the outside, while in a spacesuit. Yes, I know, it kind of makes no sense - how would windows in space get dirty? I get the impression that the structure is in the atmosphere, so stuff, like dust, insects, pollen, very likely CAN dirty up the windows. Anyway, he has a very dangerous job waiting for him when he gets out of school. A job his Father had before he died. His Father's death is a major theme of the story so I will not get into it.
Most of the stories are human driven stories, stories about what people want, what they wish for, how they need other humans to live and love and progress. You know, human interest stuff. True, this kind of makes Mitsu a peeking Tom but lets put that to one side and just say that the stories are about the human condition. Oh, and there is a whale in one story and a cat in another. So maybe I should say the animal condition? Earthling condition? The point is it is a very good sci-fi story mostly because its focus is on the CHARACTERS not on the science and setting - which is really kind of solid even with all the nitpicking I did in the review above.
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