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Blue Spring, by Taiyo Matsumoto (Review)

Blue Spring
By Taiyo Matsumoto
216 pages, softcover, Published by Viz Media

Review by John Anderson

The Japanese title of Blue Spring is aoi haru (青い春), which can also be translated as “inexperienced adolescence” (a more wink-and-a-nod English title might have been Green Spring). These short stories about disillusioned teenagers are funny, violent, frightening, and sometimes blue. The longest stories, “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” and “The Revolver”, with their chaotically cramped panels, convey the impression of stretches of boredom punctuated by violence and intense excitement. In the first story, a gang of teenage boys at an extremely rundown school relieve their boredom by playing a game that involves seeing how many times they can clap their hands while leaning off the school roof. Try to clap too many times, and you won’t be able to grab the railing before you fall. “It’s not as scary if you imagine there’s a pool down there,” says one boy.

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