My Brother the Shut-In Volume 6
The final volume of this digital-only manga series illustrates just how much the premise changed from what I liked about the first book. My Brother the Shut-In volume 6 by Kinoko Higurashi is mostly about Tamotsu, the brother of the title.
You might have guessed that, but I was much more interested in the story of Shino’s life, of how her brother’s decision to spend four years in his room affected her. She’s almost an afterthought in this volume, with her role to tell Tamotsu what he’s done wrong and explain his feelings to the reader. She only gets focus in one chapter, as she’s doing makeup for a school fashion show, until the final, abbreviated wrap-up.
I suppose his fumbling attempts to restart his life, and to make up for what he missed, is considered more dramatic. I really wasn’t interested, though, in his struggle to become a competitive kick boxer, although it makes for some dynamic art compared to the other images, mostly of conversations. Not all of them are visually staid. One outstanding example is how Higurashi has some nice staging of a tree-shaded picnic that captures the outdoor relaxed feeling.
Tamotsu gets involved with a single mother after he stops a purse-snatcher who tried to rob her. The kid’s adorable, but the relationship reads as superficial, with the ups and downs not particularly believable to me. Maybe that’s because I’ve read too many other comic stories about a boy’s emotional development and self-centeredness. Others may better enjoy the happy ending, as Tamotsu gets his life back on track with purpose and interconnections. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)