Posts tagged ‘Invader Summer’
Well this is interesting: instead of deciding to sell two Hideyuki Kikuichi novels separately, Dark Horse decided to put A Wind Named Amnesia and Invader Summer in one volume. This is decent value for money especially in Australian dollars (where I live books are expensive: expect to pay twenty dollars or more for a paperback). The first novel on my first inspection seems to be a post-apocalyptic tale which avoids the lack of finesse more Western apocalyptic literature and film has to the influence of the (again) Australian film Mad Max and its respective sequels. I’ve never read Vampire Hunter D (written by the same author as this anthology) but Kikuichi seems to have a real grasp on how narrative flows with full exposure to the atmosphere of a novel set in a dark yet graceful future.
A Wind Named Amnesia is about a youth named Wataru who wanders the landscape of America with an alien girl named Sophia. They must discover the cause of a mysterious amnesia which has caused humanity to descend into a primitive state. The roads are perilous, and the people they meet could be friend or foe alike. And yet there is still hope. Sophia never lets Wataru give up hope in humanity, as they struggle to survive in a world where humans have forgotten basic skills and even advanced technology. Once humans were capable of reaching the stars, now they are glued to the ground. Overall A Wind Named Amnesia is a quick but raw read which plays out like a sort of On the Road only instead of Jack Kerouac a Japanese science fiction writer is documenting the graceful decay of civilization, for all its rawness in the description of brutality, it’s never gratuitous or over the top. Kikuichi as a writer chooses to depict America as a sprawling wilderness where all order has been lost due to a lack of remembering what they once had, only some people remember more than others. I highly recommend this as light reading because while it’s fun to read it’s not as intellectually demanding as Brave Story. Well written, good effort, but not much depth. Philosophical statements are made, but they sound cheesy. And isn’t that what a Kikuichi novel should be? It was written in the 1980s, and believe me, after seeing Hot Rod, the 80s inspired film about a stuntman biker, I totally “get” what Kikuichi was going for with this one. It’s rock and roll, not Mozart.
The second novel in this anthology is Invader Summer, which is an entirely different mood to A Wind Named Amnesia but sticks with the premise of alien mystery. It’s about a kendo black belt teenager or something who’s in trouble with some gangsters who want to knock him off because they’re working for a competing school who want their kendo pupils to win the national championships. There’s also a strange girl who captivates all the male members of the school, causing a lot of problems for the girls.
Invader Summer can get dark but it’s in a lot lighter tone than the first novel presented here. As I don’t know much about the context of Invader Summer – but I can tell you it’s a hell of a lot easier to read than A Wind Named Amnesia which gets pretty brutal. Mainly because the gangsters are so inept that they’re hardly threatening at all, whereas A Wind Named Amnesia has a really dark apocalyptic atmosphere. My recommendation is to buy this book because you get two stand alone light novels which can be enjoyed as reading on the bus or just individually. You can’t lose with this deal, since Hideyuki Kikuichi delivers strong stories with reasonably deep musings on humanity.
* * * * *
Text Copyright © Jacob Martin 2010 and The Ranobe Cafe. All Rights Reserved.