Shojo Beat

Only Covered With Your Memory

I picked up the latest issue of Shojo Beat on my last trip to the comic store, and I was struck by the beauty of this page:

Shojo Beat October 2008, p. 99

"Honey and Clover" in the October 2008 Shojo Beat, p. 99

A series of gently tilting panels from right to left, from dark to light, suggesting a progressive revelation of tremendous beauty. Then, a switch from the vertical to the horizontal, from the perceiver to the perceived — though the vertical momentum of the page is maintained by presenting just enough detail in the door jamb. And of course, a change from a medium shot, from emotions worn on the sleeve but observed at a distance, to a close-up, to an intimate view of an inscrutable expression on a motionless face. This is also one of the moments where Chica Umino's sketchy style is remarkably effective, with broken lines suggesting dazzling sunlight and just enough detail to help us particularize otherwise generic items. Interestingly Yamada presented in a strangely complementary that are both contrasted and complementary — Yamada's wearing a light jacket over a dark shirt and standing in the light, with nothing to hide, while Nomiya's wearing a dark jacket over a light shirt and standing in the shadow.

If there's any criticism to be made, it's that the lines of the door jamb in the lower tier are a bit too close to similar lines in the upper tier — specifically, the edge of Mayama's jacket and the first panel border — which creates an unintentional tangent that has the potential to make the page feel too structured and design-y.

(Does anyone else think it's significant that many of Yamada's most emotional moments come in front of windows? It's an interesting way to suggest that she's easy to read.)

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