Sunny Vol. 5 by Taiyo Matsumoto (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

December 20, 2016 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. 5

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: July 7, 2016

The fifth installment of this series focused on the young lives of a group of foster children displays the breathtaking peaks and troubled flatlands of their imaginations.

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 5 of “Sunny”, Haruo hangs out with his troublemaker baseball playing friend Tsuda.  What happens when Sei decides to leave the orphanage by stealing a car?  A day in the life of Junsuke who has caught a fever. Also, what happens when Kenji meets a rebellious girl named Haruna?  And what happens when Megumu meets her aunt and uncle for the day?

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

What is “Sunny”?

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 Taiyo Matsumoto’s 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 rebellious Haruo get into trouble, but this time he sees another person that is slightly older than him but Haruo sees how much trouble he has gotten into.

Another is involving Sei, the orphan who wears glasses, mild-mannered and misses his parents immensely.  And now, he makes his move to leave the orphanage.

Volume 5 also gives us a story around Junsuke, which the cover of vol. 5 depicts the young child with a cold.   Also, a story revolving around Kenji when he meets a rebellious girl named Haruna and he falls for her.

And another intersting story as Makio returns to the orphanage to introduce everyone to his girlfriend Nanako and how everyone reacts to Makio’s return.

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. 5 is recommended!

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