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Tropic of The Sea Paperback – September 17, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Satoshi Kon was born on October 12, 1963. While in college, at the Musashino Art University, Kon made his debut as a manga artist with the short manga Toriko (1984) and earned a runner-up spot in Kodansha's 10th Annual Tetsuya Chiba Awards. Afterward, he found work as Katsuhiro Otomo's assistant. Kon is credited by some, including TIME, magazine as one of the faces most responsible for bringing Japanese pop-culture to America. His feature length films Perfect Blue, Paprika, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers We're all distributed in theaters across the States and saw critical acclaim worldwide earning a number of awards in the process.

Kon died on August 24, 2010 at the age of 46.

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Product Details

  • Series: Tropic of the Sea
  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical (September 17, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939130069
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939130068
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #141,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Ryan Wakeland on October 23, 2013
Format: Paperback
I'm really glad to see that someone is starting to bring Satoshi Kon's printed work back to the United States. His work in film is some of the greatest in Japanese cinema (Perfect Blue, Paprika, not to mention Paranoia Agent - seriously, if you haven't seen these, do it now!), and his influence can be felt as far as Hollywood (Darren Aronofsky is admittedly a huge fan of Satoshi Kon, and Aronofsky's films are eerily similar to Kon's). Tropic of the Sea is the first of Kon's written work that I've had the chance to read.

Kon's work is generally adult in nature. He tends to get a little more philosophical, even more preachy, than most other writers, which is definitely not for everyone. There is not much cheesiness or camp to Kon's stories, so don't expect any stylized action or over-emphatic gestures; Kon's work tends to start with reality, and any deviation into fantasy is always treated seriously. Tropic of the Sea is perhaps his most straightforward work I've delved into, but it's also one of his earliest. It's a simple, beautiful story about a family's supposed pact with a mermaid. It has elements of a coming of age tale. There is, of course, a message about environmentalism as well, and materialism, modernism, rationalism, and many other -isms, all tightly packed into this very short manga (Satoshi Kon loved making points with his work). There's a great retrospect, written in 1999, included in the back of the manga that explains what point Kon was in his life during the writing of Tropic of the Sea.

It doesn't say it anywhere in the book, but I would like to point out that the author passed away in 2010. He left behind a letter to the public, and some unfinished work that hopefully will one day be released.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Manga Maniac Cafe on November 15, 2013
Format: Paperback

I love it when a great read comes right out the blue and completely catches me by surprise. I received a review copy of Tropic of the Sea, and was instantly interested in it for two reasons. One, it’s complete in one volume, which is always a plus, and two, it’s about one family’s promise to protect the egg of a mermaid in exchange for the prosperity of their village. As times change, and the pressures of a modern economy squeeze the village, Yosuke’s father has sold the family’s land and turned the shrine into a tourist trap. His father doesn’t believe that the object their family has cared for over the last sixty years is really a mermaid’s egg, and he wants his hometown to experience the prosperity he feels has been passing them by. As the young people leave for the city, with no plans of returning, he begins to fear for the future of his village, so he makes a deal with the Ozaki group, commercial developers chomping at the bit to turn the sleepy town into a luxury resort.

I love character driven stories, and Tropic of the Sea is filled with empathetic characters. Even Yosuke’s dad, who I thought was a complete jerk at first, turns out to have the best interests of the town at heart, even though his misguided attempts to modernize it have sharply divided the townsfolk. The fishermen are deeply opposed to the development, which will destroy their traditional fishing grounds. This conflict has turned neighbors against each other, and is so volatile that the threat of constantly simmers, destroying the peace of the town.

Yosuke just wants to pass his college entrance exams and get out of Dodge; he doesn’t really believe in mermaids, but he performs the shrine tasks out of a sense of duty and out of respect for his grandfather.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Surjorimba Suroto on December 3, 2013
Format: Paperback
I’ve been a fan of the late Satoshi Kon’s works for so many years. His animation movies. This is the first time I read his comicbook, and for me it is a new experience. In many ways Tropic of the Sea has the same spirit, tone and atmosphere as Millenium Actress. And quite different compared to Perfect Blue or even Paprika. Tropic of the Sea was his first long-form manga, released in 11 installments in Kodansha’s Young Magazine between March & June 1990.

Tropic of the Sea focused on faith and loyalty to a trust given to the main characters. Yosuke, a teen age boy, was trusted to take care of a ‘mermaid’s egg’ at his father’s shrine. The mermaid’s egg was originally trusted in the hands of Yosuke’s grandfather some 60 years ago, and he promised to look after it since that day. His son (Yosuke’s father) never believed the myth, though Yosuke’s late mother believed and adored mermaid-myths. The grandfather never disclosed the truth: did he meet a mermaid 60 years ago? Who or how exactly he found this mermaid’s egg? What will happen if he abandon the trust?

Some modern resort was developed in the area, including where the shrine was located. Apparently Yosuke’s father agreed to sell his shrine (or move to a new place), and also agreed to relocate the mermaid’s egg to a new place. This started the conflict in the story, as trouble occurred in the village. Fish went missing from the sea, strange incidents happened whenever the egg was around, etc. People from the village got divided, and tensions arose.

Then the initial mystery was reminded again: was mermaid a myth or what? Did it really matter if it existed or not?
I really like with what Satoshi Kon did.
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