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It has been a while since I have actually read anything manga wise. Most of the time I usually just look to see if there is an anime, and if not I move on. However, I felt drawn in by this manga in particular, if for no other reason than it was a one-shot and something I could finish pretty quickly. However, while I finished the manga in a little less than an hour, I can tell “The Gods Lie” is one that will stick in my mind for a long time to come.
Why Do the Gods Lie?
One of the things that I really liked right off the bat about this story is how much it feels like a refined version of Makoto Shinkai’s storytelling formula. Now, part of this might just be that the manga is, overall, a little bit shorter than the amount of time it would take to watch a Shinkai movie, and I think one of the things his movies suffer from to some degree is a lack of brevity.
Author Kaori Ozaki not only brings that needed brevity into the form of a one shot manga, but also manages to add a little more substance to the story, something that “Your Name” lacked a lot of.
The message of the “The Gods Lie” is one that resonates not only in more peaceful times, but especially during times of tragedy and unrest. Ultimately, no matter who it is, at some point, there will be an event that is beyond there control. Sometimes, its good to be lied to. Constant tragedy and unfairness make life so much worse, and so if they do not know about it, people do not have to be as hurt by it.
When it comes to shifting a story into the visual realm, there is a lot to be said for using still saying the loud parts quietly. One of the things Ozaki excels at when it comes to her storytelling is the way she is able to foreshadow using just one or two frames and very little dialogue.
A good example of this comes in chapter four, when Rio explains why her grandfathers remains are buried in the ground, and also why there father is gone. Instead of their father saying that he’s leaving, Ozaki uses the Yuuta’s request for real crab as an excuse to leave, saying that he’s going crab fishing in Alaska as an excuse to leave the two of them. Their father’s sullen expression in a few of the panels makes this a bit more obvious.
Originally, I thought that the main character Natsuru was actually going to be the weakest part of the story, and while it could be argued that he is, I still think he adds much more than he takes away.
Much like Rio and Yuuta, Natsuru is going through a lot in his home, although to a much lesser extent. With his father gone, Natsuru’s mother is the only one supporting him. On top of that, although he loves soccer, his friends are likely going to stop playing when they go to middle school, and his old coach is in the hospital with cancer.
It seems as though the two of them see a lot in each other, in the sense that the two of them are missing a lot from their life, and so when they meet, the two help to heal each other emotionally.
Names in Storytelling
While this is nothing new, I really appreciate when a writer goes the extra mile to incorporate the meaning of the characters names into the story itself. Natsuru’s name, being a combination of “summer” and ” has two major meanings within the story. One comes from his birth, as his mother explains, and the other is tied to the overall story. up until they met Natsuru, Rio and Yuuta had been holding out for hope.
When the three of them meet, it changes each other’s lives significantly, to the point where Rio and Yuuta are saved from their terrible situation. Because Rio and Yuuta were able to stay until summer, their lives were made better. In the same vein, Rio last name, which means “a reason to live,” is relevant because Natsuru became her reason to live.
This manga, much like the works of Makoto Shinkai, is an emotional roller coaster, to say the very least. While it may only be one volume, the amount of depth and character development present is equal to a series ten times its size. “The Gods Lie” is a story that will make people forget its ending was even happy.
Still, Kaori Ozaki’s creativity and writing ability, combined with her detailed drawings and refined style make this manga worth reading and re-reading. This is an easy insta-buy for any fan of shorter manga, and manga in general.
No, but like seriously, go read this, and if you have already, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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