Sunny Vol. 2 by Taiyo Matsumoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

November 10, 2013 by  


“Sunny” is an innocent, real slice-of-life manga series about children at an orphanage and the experiences (happy and sad) that each have to deal with in their young lives.  You don’t really find these type of manga in the U.S…. So, for anyone wanting some real, different or unique, then I definitely recommend Taiyo Matsuoto’s “Sunny”. 

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Image courtesy of © 2011 Taiyo Matsumoto. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Sunny Vol. 2

STORY AND ART BY: Taiyou Matsumoto (松本大洋)


PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2013

What is Sunny? Sunny is a car. Sunny is a car you take on a drive with your mind. It takes you to the place of your dreams. Sunny is the story of beating the odds, in the ways that count.

In Japan, mangaka Taiyo Matsumoto is well known for his work in manga series such as “Tekkonkinkreet”, “GoGo Monster”, “Ping Pong” and “Number Five”.

While his work has been released in the U.S., “Sunny” has received the Viz Signature treatment and is printed in hardback.

“Sunny” is a series that revolves around a group of children and teenagers who live at an orphanage and each chapter deals with a children’s life, with other orphans and also the heartbreak they endure of being left by their parents.

The title of the manga series is derived from a broken down Nissan Sunny 1200 in front of the orphanage which the children use as a getaway vehicle for imaginary adventures, a clubhouse and more.

The chapters in volume 2 are as follows:

Chapter 7 – Kiko becomes jealous of the attention that Megumu is receiving, especially when she tells the school that she was being targeted by a kidnapper.  Wanting some of that attention, what happens when Kiko tells the school that someone tried to kidnap her?

Chapter 8 – First grader, Toru Oishi is moving to the area and his mother has left him temporarily at the orphanage.  But as Haruo feels like his mother will ditch him like his mother had, Seiyama Shita has hopes that his mother will come for him and befriends young Toru.

Chapter 9 – It’s Parent’s Day at school and how will some of the orphans react when some of their guardians at the orphanage come to visit them at school.

Chapter 10 – Teenager Kenji has chose not to go to school and hang out with a bad group of kids.  Will Kenji pursue that lifestyle of being a high school dropout?

Chapter 11-12 – Haruo comes to visit his mother for a few days.  But will she want to take back Haruo forever?  Or is this a temporary visit and he’ll be returning to the orphanage?

If there is one aspect of Japanese culture that many westerners never get to see, it’s life at a Japanese orphanage.

With Taiyo Matsumoto’s manga “Sunny”, the manga gives readers a chance to read a slice-of-life manga series of various children of different ages living at an orphanage and the challenges they have.  May it be in school, with other children and also the feeling of one’s self-worth after being left behind by their family.

What I found very interesting with “Sunny” is that in this volume, we get to see parents who leave their children but get to visit them or take them back at home.  Orphanage’s in the United States, most parents who choose to leave their children, usually never come back.  Nor do they leave them temporarily.  So, I found these stories to be quite interesting.

For example, on the chapter with Toru, he’s left temporarily as his mother plans to move to the area but he is left at the orphanage and while the other children have heard they are being left temporarily, they try to break the bad news to Toru that his mother probably will never come back.  But there are kids who hold hope that their family will come back for them.  It’s just a matter of when.

The chapter with Kenji is probably something that many of us or others in different countries have seen before.  Those who grew up at an orphanage and are now older teenagers, not having parents but some who have had the love and nurturing, able to go on and live productive lives, for Kenji, he’s going through that rebellious stage of wanting to ditch school and hang out with a bad crowd of people.  But the one girl he hangs out with (who hangs out with the bad crowd), knows that he should waste his life with them.

This latest volume is also Haruo-centric and of course quite dramatic and emotional as he finally gets the chance of visiting his mother for a few days.  But those emotions of wanting to come back home and why his mother abandoned him is still hard for him to keep inside and he needs to let it out.  But it’s the reaction of his mother that an older reader will catch onto (which I don’t want to spoil), while young Haruo just holds out hope for another meeting with his mother in the near future.

The artwork of Taiyo Matsumoto is always interesting to see.  His style is unique and some girls, the way he makes those rosy cheeks look like uneven smudges that change from page to page, but it’s the uniqueness that I have come to appreciate about Matsumoto’s artwork.  But of course, it’s his stories that are captivating and while “Sunny” is a slice-of-life manga series, it’s a fresh manga style to have released in the US, something different and unique.

As with the last volume, Viz Media is giving “Sunny” the Viz Signature hardback treatment for each release, thus the series does cost a bit more than a standard manga series.

Overall, “Sunny” is an innocent, real slice-of-life manga series about children at an orphanage and the experiences (happy and sad) that each have to deal with in their young lives.  You don’t really find these type of manga in the U.S…. So, for anyone wanting some real, different or unique, then I definitely recommend Taiyo Matsuoto’s “Sunny”.

“Sunny” vol. 2 is recommended!

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