THE QUEST FOR THE MISSING GIRL (Sôsakusha, “The Searcher”) (???) • Jiro Taniguchi • Fanfare/Ponent Mon (2008) • Shogakukan (Big Comic Special, 1999) • 1 volume • Mystery • Unrated/13+ (violence, mild sexual situations)
Shiga is a diehard mountaineer, a man in early middle age who works at a remote mountain refuge. When the daughter of his dead friend–to whom Shiga is a sort of father figure–vanishes mysteriously, Shiga comes out of the mountains and goes to Tokyo to find her, suddenly entering a world of street crime and enjo kosai schoolgirl prostitution. Part “man vs. nature” mountaineering story, part mystery, The Quest for the Missing Girl combines two of Jiro Taniguchi’s favorite genres into an old-school detective yarn. It’s a little square, like its protagonist, but it’s a well-told tale in the classic Philip Marlowe sense, the story of an aging man testing himself as he clings to a code of chivalry in a shadowy world. Taniguchi’s urban backgrounds are so incredibly detailed they make Katsuhiro Otomo look like Fumi Yoshinaga.
Today’s winner is Annette S. of Iowa, who will be receiving five manga graphic novels very shortly. Hope you like them, Annette!