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Review: Wandering Island

wandering island vol 1Spunky loner Mikura runs Mikura Air Service, a parcel and package delivery service in the outer Japanese islands due south of Tokyo, a business she inherited from her much beloved grandfather. When she’s not flying, she’s wandering the harbor cities or trying to figure out the myths around the mysterious Is. Electriciteit, the Electric Island. The Wandering Island.

But how can an island move around, visible one day and gone for months after? Did Grandpa really visit the island, are the sightings in his journals real, or is it all just a tall tale parents used to keep their young children in line?

Most mysteriously, there are entries in Grandpa’s journal that post date his death!

The mystery pulls young Mikura out of her usual habits and Mikura Air Service suffers a drop in business as she spends more and more time investigating and searching. Soon she’s forgotten to pay her power bills and with only the companionship of her cat, she’s rummaging through mountains of paperwork and keepsakes from Grandpa in the house she inherited from him.

And it’s there that she finds… well, no spoilers!

A classic Japanese manga tale, Wandering Island is delightful reading, right-to-left, a curious mystery and adventure tale with a strong, smart heroine who ignores local customs and does her darndest to get to the bottom of things. Be warned that this is only part 1, however, because the story definitely ends with another mystery, not a neat resolution!

There’s also a great postscript by editor Carl Gustav Horn chock full of information about Mikura’s plane (a terrific old Fairey Swordfish from WWII) and the outer Japanese islands (some of which have a population numbered in the low hundreds), along with a background on writer and illustrator Kenji Tsuruta.

Wandering Island, Vol. 1, written and illustrated by Kenji Tsuruta, published by Dark Horse Books, July 13, 2016.

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