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“Henshin” from Image Does Not Fear Change

Posted on December 5, 2014 at 8:53 am by Tyler Waterman

While comics are always good for folks in spandex punching each other, epic space adventures, or battles at the bottom of the sea, sometimes it’s nice to get away from all that and just enjoy some quality storytelling. Graphic novels are truly the greatest medium for “slice of life” stories; the ability to see the expressions of the characters and take in the setting visual makes it infinitely easier to relate to, even if it’s nothing like your own life.

Henshin, an upcoming graphic novel from Ken Niimura, is a perfect example of this. I don’t live in Japan, but even the brief preview below instantly made the idea something I could relate to, despite being on the opposite side of the planet. I’m really looking forward to taking a break from moon-punching and super speed and spending some time with this book; take a look at the preview below, and I suspect you’ll say the same!

Short story collection explores life in modern Tokyo

Ken Niimura, artist on the acclaimed and award-winning graphic novel I KILL GIANTS (written by Joe Kelly), returns with HENSHIN. The short stories of HENSHIN present a unique vision of Japanese life, presented in English for the first time by Image Comics in January.

“Henshin” means “transformation” in Japanese, and in all 13 stories, Niimura shows how choices and events — whether momentous or seemingly insignificant — can change the lives of his protagonists.

“A transformation or a change is the most basic premise for a story,” said Niimura. “That’s why Henshin is about people in the process of change. I also chose this title hoping that I would also change for the better in the process of creation and improve my craft.”

Niimura’s imaginative storytelling finds its way into the emotional lives of his characters, from a kid with peculiar powers to a lonely girl finding her way in the big city to a salaryman out on the town.

“Henshin is similar to a restaurant,” Niimura said of the collection. “I selected the ingredients for these stories from all the things I saw during my life in 2013 in Tokyo. I’ve tried to keep the natural flavor of each of these ingredients, sometimes adding some spices when needed. I hope you like the resulting menu, somewhere between comical, moving and fun.”

For readers who can’t wait to sample Niimura’s graphic feast, the entirety of one of HENSHIN’s stories, “Victory Sign,” is available to download.

HENSHIN is a Japanese-format graphic novel, which reads right-to-left. It will be in comic book stores on January 14 and in bookstores on January 27. It is available for pre-order now.


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