Story and Art by Inio Asano
Released in the US by Viz
Slugline: Even after college, you can never escape high school.
Meiko grabbed the first job that came along after graduating from college and she hates it. Her boyfriend Naruo lives with her, sometimes working, sometimes not and going to the twice monthly practices of his college band. Not that the band actually performs anymore, it existing mostly now as an excuse for Meiko and Naruo's group of college friends to get together on a regular basis. But when Meiko can no longer stand her own job and quits, it starts a process in which Naruo confronts his own aimlessness and their friend's feelings towards the band. The outcome is not what one would normally expect from a manga, but still falls within manga's soap opera like traditions. Meiko has to interpret and react to these events, and uncover her own meaning of the band's song Solanin.
The slugline comes from how similar the attitudes of high school students can be to the post-college crowd, especially in this manga. It is actually no big surprise, for both groups have been put into new situations outside of their experience and often don't feel ready for it. Over-thinking things is a sin that both groups indulge in, so heavily that the reader is not sure what the character really thinks or believes anymore, after reading so many of the character's flights of fancy. But this confusion and ambiguity fits the characters in Solanin, because it has been altered to fit their post-college circumstances. Plus there is the refreshing novelty of a manga about characters who aren't in high school. These two factors help to compensate for the fact that the story is really not about anything, or even really that much about anyone despite it's apparent focus on Meiko.
Solanin is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga