Sunny Vol. 4 by Taiyo Matsumoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

September 28, 2014 by  


A realistic manga series on the life of a group of orphans struggling with the fact that they have been abandoned or have no family members to take care of them, and their longing for family. A “Slice of life” type manga series, Taiyo Matsumoto’s “Sunny” vol.  4 is recommended!

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

MANGA TITLE: Sunny Vol. 4

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: April 15, 2014

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. It is the story of beating the odds, in ways that count, for a group of orphans who discover the care and let it take them to better places in their imagination.

For the orphans of the Star Kids Home, the children who dream about having a family after being abandoned by their own parents or lost their parents, can only hope that life will become much happier. But for now, all they have is each other.

In volume 4 of “Sunny”, Haruo starts becoming defiant by shoplifting and what happens when his father comes to visit him?

Meanwhile, for teenager Asako, her mother returns to tell her that she is divorcing her father.  How will Asako take it?

As for Sei Yamashita, is he dating the intelligent girl in his class, Kumi Takahara?

And as for Elizabeth, her mother is marrying a man and plans to take her out of the orphanage.  For Elizabeth, the opportunity to say good by to Star Kids Home has been a dream but it now becomes reality. But will life be much better?

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

Read about the lives of these orphans at the Star Kids Home in the latest volume of Taiyo Matsumoto’s “Sunny”!

What is “Sunny”?

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 set during the 1970s and 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.


Another heartfelt volume of “Sunny” as the orphans of Star Kids Home begin to miss their own families and wonder how long they will be stuck at an orphanage.

We have seen Haruo being the most affected by his parents not taking him back.  Haruo is starting to become rebellious and in this latest volume, has turned to ditching school and shoplifting. Meanwhile, what happens when his father returns?

As for the responsible teenager, Atsuko sees her mother return back home, does it mean she is reconciling with her father?  Or is it divorce?

We also get to see what happens to Elizabeth when her mother is marrying a new guy and she is leaving the Star Home.  Will life become much better now that she is leaving the orphanage?

Volume 4 also shows us more about Taro.  Not much is shown of the man, all he we know is he is bald, huge, overweight and only wearing shorts. But this latest volume showcases him and we get to learn that perhaps he is mentally disabled.  But as he is left with taking care of little Shosuke, will Taro be a responsible babysitter?

If there is one aspect of Japanese culture that many westerners never get to see in manga or anime, it’s life of orphans 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 one of the orphans leave the orphanage but will life outside of the orphanage be positive?  And we also get to see how orphanage and being left behind by your parents is starting to affect Haruo.

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. 4 is recommended!

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