Companion v01

February 28, 2008 at 6:44 pm (Review, Seinen) (, , , , , )

Companion v01 Cover

Japanese: ツレビト (Tsurebito)
English: Companion
Author: 吉富昭仁 YOSHITOMI Akihito
Amazon: Japanese

Description:

The story of Companion follows a high school girl, Mako, into the afterlife. To be more precise, the space between life and death. Mako finds that there’s more to being dead than simply going straight to heaven. There are people who must take you from death to the gate that leads to the afterlife. They are Companions.

Review:

This may contain spoilers, you have been warned.

Companion v01 p006

What starts off as a simple enough looking school life manga quickly becomes a thought-provoking trip into just what happens after you die. Mako’s entire world is literally flipped around and ruined before her eyes as she learns to cope with her death. Yoshitomi’s amazing artwork and imaginative backgrounds and scenery help to show just how difficult it is for her to deal with the world of the dead.

Companion v01 p030-031Companion v01 p038

Out of the chaos of this new world come a few Companions. An old man, Sendou. A young girl, Miyo. And the mysterious Ookumo Aya. All of these characters were once regular humans, but for their own personal reasons decided to stay and accompany souls to the afterlife rather than go themselves. This is the job of the Companion. A person cannot make it to the afterlife on their own, though animals can. A Companion must be there at the moment of their death to lead them to their own personal gate to the afterlife.

This volume reveals some really interesting revelations about the world and the rules of the interstice. I find it very interesting that the Companions are all practically the same as our main character and have their own personal reasons for staying there. I find myself definitely wanting to know more about their pasts and reasons for doing so.

The main storyline here is of course more interesting than the other character’s pasts, as it involves another kind of person. A Wraith. Wraiths are what you become if you don’t lead a soul to the other side within a certain amount of time. It looks to be the shell of what you once were, a person who no longer has the ability of conscious thought or speech. Which means your choices after you die are become a Companion and continually escort souls to the other side, go to the other side, or become a Wraith.

In order for Mako to become a Companion and stay in the interstice she has to first lead this Wraith to its gate. However, in following the Wraith she finds that it has been to a lot of the places she has been, and even seen herself in what I can only assume are the Wraith’s memories. It really makes you wonder just who it could be. The volume ends on a cliffhanger with Mako wondering the same thing.

Companion v01 p204

One thing that I love about Companion is the lack of text. It gives me the feeling that Yoshitomi’s trying to show us more than tell us what’s happening. The lack of text also gives off a sort of eerie silence to the series, which gives some really nice ambience to the scenery and backgrounds. Yoshitomi has such a ridiculous attention to detail as well that you can just stare at his artwork and keep finding little touches he’s added everywhere.

All in all, a very enjoyable volume that will definitely leave you wanting more. This series is what made me a fan of Yoshitomi Akihito’s work, and why I’ll be continuing to update and review each volume of Companion and any of his one shots or other series as they come out or whenever I can get my hands on them.

Rating: ****/*****

(English versions thanks to Strays.)

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