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Thread: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

  1. #1
    Translator 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Meriken's Avatar
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    SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko



    Started: 2004
    Serialized: Comic Bean
    Publisher: Enterbrain


    Hijacked for some more info ~ Drmke

    Hey guys, I've started this thread to try and stir interest on a not-so-new series that's recently been added to the site. The series is Soil, by Atsushi Kaneko:

    http://mangahelpers.com/m/soil

    The story revolves around the strange disappearance of a family living in a seemingly idyllic town. It's a crime-solving mystery/psychological thriller, but with a definite hint of the supernatural. If you're into any of that stuff, or are just looking to read a mature seinen series, this one definitely deserves a shot.

    I found the artwork to be particularly striking. I was strongly reminded of Japanese kirie pictures when I first began reading. The ink lines are extremely crisp and clean, but also grotesque at the same time. Even when he's just drawing flowers, or smiling faces.

    I have read through the first 2 volumes so far, and I must say I am hooked. 8 Japanese volumes have been released as of July 2009, and Nomad Soul of Kotonoha has translated and scanlated Vol. 1 by himself. I will be translating from Vol. 2 forward with Kotonoha scanlating. English chapters are already available on Kotonoha's group page:

    http://mangahelpers.com/s/kotonoha

    I hope more people will get to know this series.
    Last edited by Drmke; February 28, 2010 at 03:44 PM.

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  3. #2
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Nomad Soul's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    Thanks for pimping this series, Meriken. SOIL has been one of my personal favorites for years. Atsushi Kaneko is not just an accomplished artist, his story telling also has a Lynchian quality to it that is simply irresistible.

    Just think of SOIL as an X-files episode where Mulder and Scully have been replaced by a foul-mouthed, sexist old geezer and a female nerd. The two main characters actually work great as a manzai couple and their dialogues, even though cringe-worthy at times, are priceless.

    In any case, I look forward to continue working on this series.

    @all: Soil will rock your world!


  4. #3
    Registered User 初心者/ Shoshinsha / Beginner Laika's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    It's a great manga with a very interesting style and some snarky dialogue. I'm glad it's getting picked up again.

  5. #4
    Registered User 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member Revilenigma's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    I love the art, I'm gonna have to check this one out!
    http://i586.photobucket.com/albums/ss310/revilenigma/avatars%20and%20sigs/boxman.png

  6. #5
    Registered User 下級員 / Kakyuuin / Jr. Member Nomad Soul's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    Chapter 8 and 9 are out. Thank you, Meriken, for the great translation.

    If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, you better do it now, because it only gets crazier from here on out.

    Here's the only English review (translated from French, but still) that I found:

    Quote Quote:
    SOIL by Kaneko Atsushi
    Published by Enterbrain
    Review by Xavier Guilbert in June 2006
    Translated in April 2007


    Among the current Japanese production, Kaneko Atsushi is one of the few authors that one can identify right away — whether because of his distinctive line, obviously very much inspired by American illustrators, or by his unexpected choices in terms of printing colors. Difficult also to ignore the hysteric Japan fleshed out in his magnus opus, the essential Bambi — but tha would mean leaving out a whole panel of his production, published in short stories collections [1] where he cultivates the art of the unsettling and the frightening.

    His new series, SOIL, follows this vein, and leaves the “punk, sex & rock’n roll” approach of the pink-haired girl to explore the swarming underbelly of human society, building an oppressing story which should eventually spawn seven or eight volumes. [2]

    “SOIL new town” is a model-estate, “the city that knows no shadow”, where flowers grace balconies and streets are immaculate. And among the families living in “SOIL new town”, there is none more exemplary than the Suzushiro family — appreciated by all, presenting well and respectable in all ways, as their portrait on the cover of the first volume clearly shows. The emotion outbreak in the city is then understandable, when during a power outage, the whole family disappears without leaving a trace except for a lone column of salt in the room of the daughter Mizuki.

    From this starting point, Kaneko Atsushi slowly builds up a lynchian mystery, where the quirks and twitches of the police officers detached there (Chief Yokoi and his obsession with his own body odors, Onoda messy and emotional, or Tamura and his habit of prodding and poking everything he comes across) end up being rather harmless in the light of what the reader is going to discover in this model-estate. Because as Chief Yokoi likes to repeat, “there is no such thing as normal people”. And behind the welcoming smiles roam envy, jealousy or even worse, and it does not take much for all this to go awry and end up terribly wrong.

    The reader shivers, but as if fascinated by the crawling mass a rather ordinary rock reveals once overturned, the desire to know what happens next remains stronger. And indeed, the author controls masterfully the rhythm at which this story unfolds, exploring each narrative thread issuing from the fateful night, building a complex puzzle with numerous ramifications, supported by an impeccable drawing style. In this book, Kaneko Atsushi’s work reminds of Charles Burns’ — sharing with him this ability to bring out the monstruous from those too perfect faces, from this oh-so-neat line, but which always manages to avoid feeling stiff.

    Honestly, at the end of the fourth volume of SOIL, things have not gotten any clearer regarding the disappearance of the Suzushiro family. Quite the contrary, as the picture gets darker ad the story progresses and reveals a “SOIL new town” pulled between many strange and alien forces, bringing back to the surface events dating back half a century, and leaving some doubts about the possibility of supernatural implications.

    The X-Files might come to mind, but a comparison with Twin Peaks would be more fitting, sharing with David Lynch’s series the heavy atmosphere of a small country town with its load of resentment and strifes, where tragedy is never too far. Let’s hope then that, after such a good start, Kaneko Atushi will bring a satisfying conclusion to this investigation on the brink of bad dreams.

    [1] I am thinking of R or Atomic in particular.
    [2] The series publication picked up again recently after a year-long hiatus, during which Kaneko Atsushi directed Mushi, one of four Edogawa Rampô adapted for the silver screen in the movie Rampô Jigoku (“Rampô’s Hell”), released in November 2005.


    http://du9.org/SOIL,805
    <hr noshade size="1">
    The next two chapters are out. Things are starting to unravel in Soil as the town's dirty secrets become exposed one after another. But the most pressing question still remains: What the hell happened to the Suzushiros? Well, I'm afraid you'll have to wait a bit longer to get the answer.

    Check out this interesting interview with Atsushi Kaneko conducted by du9 in 2007. In it he revealed that he had the whole story of Soil mapped out.

    Quote Quote:
    XG: The “punk attitude” is very tangible in Bambi. That reminds me of Inoue Santa’s work and his hip-hop sensibility. But reading what he’s been doing, there’s the question of his capability of doing something else than Tokyo Tribe. While in your case, after finishing Bambi, you started SOIL that is almost entirely devoid of this “punk attitude”...

    KA: In a way, Bambi is garage punk, while SOIL is alternative — from a musical standpoint, something aking to noisy industrial. (smile) I have many interests, and I try to use them to produce different things.

    XG: I also get the impression that, since your debut, there has been an evolution not only in your themes, but also in the narrative structure. A lot of short stories at first, then Bambi, which starts off as a “road-manga” with shorts sequences, but becomes more structures along the way with the introduction of the three killers, to culminate with SOIL where the story structure is essential, since there’s a mystery on which everything relies. This progression, is it because you built up self-confidence, or is that from a desire to tackle more complex stories?

    KA: When I started drawing, I had an idea of how to do it. For Bambi, even if it looks very different on the surface, I wanted to use techniques from “deeply manga” manga — there’s a main character, things happen to her, and the story follows that. And using all the dynamism from manga, for the atmosphere, the reactions, that I could use freely.
    But while Bambi was very free-form in its construction, on the opposite, for SOIL I wanted to create a story where everything was decided from the beginning. Among the stories that rely on a mystery, those where the enigma holds up are the most interesting, and I wondered if I would be able to create such a story. But to do that, it required preparation, and when I finished Bambi, I took about half a year to write down the scenario, and only then I started drawing SOIL.
    That being said, before SOIL, I never had that freedom. How to put it? I had always had the drive to go further, again and again.

    XG: So for SOIL, the conclusion is already decided?


    KA: That’s right.

    XG: Five volumes have been published so far, how many for the complete story?

    KA: Most likely seven. With Bambi, I was always looking for places to take the story, and I was worried to see if it could work. While with SOIL, it’s far more relaxed, I only have to drawn and stick to what has already been decided.

    XG: In SOIL, I have the impression that the drawing is a little looser, there are little hints in the line work, as if to balance the story where everything is set. There is a distinctive pleasure from drawing that can be felt, do you have the impression you’ve reached some sort of mastery?

    KA: Oh no, absolutly not! (laugh) When I look back on something I’ve drawn, be it for Bambi of for SOIL, I’m always a little disappointed, and I have this urge to correct my mistakes. But well, I still hope I’m progessing as books go by ...

    XG: There is another rupture between Bambi and SOIL. On one hand, Bambi shows a fantasy Japan, deeply transformed by American influences, while on the other hand, SOIL is set in a nearly realistic Japan...

    KA: That’s not something I was specifically looking for. But for Bambi, I didn’t have a set narrative, I was improvising. For SOIL, story and characters are already well defined, and that allows me to put in more details, and then it’s easier to be more realistic.

    XG: What were your sources for inspiration for SOIL? I find it rather close to the universe of David Lynch, with the irruption of otherworldly forces, and a very specific atmosphere ...

    KA: How to put it? ... At the start, I had this idea of relics. With the idea that the first relics had something to do with sex — with a magical dimension. And starting from there, I started building my story. But it was only a starting point, and little by little it grew to encompass broader topics. And the relics ended up being at the center of the key situations.

    XG: We’ve made a point that Bambi looks like no other manga, and even if it’s about a more realistic Japan, SOIL is also very much aside from the Japanese tradition of horror manga. In fact, there’s almost no manga-ka that could be likened to you. Is that something you miss?

    KA: In fact, not at all. If my books are different, it’s because I almost don’t read Japanese manga, I don’t know anything about them. Therefore, it’s normal there’s no similarity.

    (Interview made in Angoulême, on January 27, 2007)
    Last edited by Nomad Soul; July 26, 2009 at 07:28 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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  8. #6
    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    It is about time I discussed other things than shounen

    I am also hooked at this manga, even if I do not like the art (the author did not break any panel, they all have a square form) and dialogues do not impress me.

    What interests me is this strange story taking place in one place and what is going on in very particular and unusual circumstances. Things begin to go out of control and everything is falling apart and an unhealthy curiosity pushes us to follow how the story unfolds.
    I am actually really fond of this kind of story. I already enjoyed the end of Monster by Urazawa or books like The Plague by Albert Camus or Tempête sur la ville by Gorki (did not find the English title). There is always this oppressing atmosphere that reveals a lot of things about people and in Soil the author abuses of graphical details (e.g. sweat) to make the reader feel it.

    About the surnatural thing, I have read 14 chapters, except the first chapter I do not have the feeling the story has much surnatural in it. There are still some unexplained things where I am, but I see them solved with a rational explanation. I will see later how that turns out. Perhaps other weird events will happen.
    Last edited by Meromorphe; November 01, 2009 at 04:22 AM.

  9. #7
    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member barbapapa's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    I love that this was picked up again.

  10. #8
    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member nzz's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    this manga is the best mystery manga I've read in a while ... after reading it (up to the latest-chapter 36), I get the impression the author is a more talented version of J.J.Abrams (the philosophy of some mysteries aren't meant to be solved)

    the pace and the depth of mystery and chaos only steadily increases. You might think of also X-files after you read some if it, but the detectives are way outclassed when faced with these undecipherable mysteries (however, they are not really as likeable as one would hope). Some mysteries are solved in time (the ones that are meant to) but others continue to be left unsolved (the ones you really want to know the answer to!)

  11. #9
    Harasho 伝説メンバー / Densetsu / Legendary Member
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    TV Drama green lit.

  12. #10
    Registered User 中級員 / Chuukyuuin / Member Rei Ayanami's Avatar
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    Re: [Featured Series] SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaiten.Sama View Post
    TV Drama green lit.
    The TV drama premiered today.

    Quote Quote:
    A television drama adaptation of SOIL, the ongoing manga by Bambi and her Pink Gun creator Atsushi Kaneko, has been green-lit for a March 5 premiere.

  13. #11
    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member barbapapa's Avatar
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    Re: [Featured Series] SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    Too bad I despise dramas. Love to see this as an anime, though.

  14. #12
    Scanlator 英雄メンバー / Eiyuu Menbaa / Hero Member barbapapa's Avatar
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    Re: SOIL by Atsushi Kaneko

    I read everything up to the end of Block 2 over the last few days. It wasn't that hard getting back into itdespite it being more than a year since I read Block 1. This manga is all about the mystery though, not a lot of room for character development and all that. But what it does, it does excellently.
    Now we play the waiting game for Block 3 to be completed.

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