another graphic novel post. Witches is a breathtaking graphic novel short-story collection by 五十嵐大介 (igarashi daisuke). each story focuses on, as the title would suggest, witches. the witches come from different parts of the uncivilized world (two from small villages in germany and russia, another from the jungles of south america). these witches are quite unlike the average portrayal of witchcraft in japanese graphic novels (or manga if you're too pedestrian to realize that that word just means "comic"; aka "graphic novel". that's why i am loathe to use it, since it would be like calling books from poland "książka"). they are not delightful magical princesses (i have no problem with this sort of japanese graphic novel/comic book princess, by the way; i've read/watched every volume/season of Cardcaptor Sakura and Bishōjo Senshi Sailormoon) but instead they are traditional practitioners of magick, speaking to animals and digging runes in the sand to cast spells blessed upon them by the spirits of this world. in the story about the witch from the rain forest, the protagonist uses the wrathful spirits of the forest to attempt to take vengeance upon the government who is destroying her forest in the name of furthering humanity's death-grip on nature (i think they want to build a mall or an airbase or something). i won't reveal the ending (as it absolutely crushed me when i read it), but it's not pretty. the art, on the other hand, is most certainly pretty. igarashi's lines are complex, beautiful, and natural looking. there is no overproduction here. indeed, his drawings sometimes seem to perfectly capture the spirits of nature.
his works have been compared before to miyazaki. i think that is perhaps a fair comparison, considering the focus of his stories (feminism, childlike naivety, and defending the natural world against man). it also reminds me of magical realism (particularly marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings").