Just So Happens

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NUMBER OF PAGES

171

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ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED

March 2015

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“A thoughtful story about grief, outsiders, and moving beyond family expectations.” – Barnes and Noble

Yumiko was born in Japan but has made a life in London, losing herself in its cosmopolitan bustle. She has a gallery show of her art, a good job, and a good guy she plans to marry. The culture she grew up in seems very far away – until her brother phones with the news that their father has died.

Yumiko returns to Tokyo and finds herself immersed in the rituals of death while also plunged into the rituals of life – fish bars, bullet trains, pagodas – as she confronts the question of where her future really lies.

Just So Happens deals both gently and powerfully with grief, identity, and the pressure not to disappoint one’s parents, even after they’re gone, in a look at the relationships that build the foundation of our lives.

“Obata’s book is refreshingly understated; his sparse dialogue leaves lots of room for his expressive, water-colored imagery, which can appear cartoony or super-detailed or dreamlike, depending on the storytelling needs.” –
 Slate

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REVIEWS

Comics Bulletin

•Comic book website

“Just So Happens is a thoughtful, subtle and smart graphic novel. It presents one of those quiet stories that sticks in your mind with its charming spirit and depth.”

Publishers Weekly

•Publishing trade magazine

“Delicate lines and vivid watercolors create bold and flowing scenes, as well as a slow, ethereal Japanese summer.”

The Guardian

•UK national newspaper

“Fumio Obata is a Japanese exile himself – he came to Britain in 1991 to study illustration at Glasgow School of Art and never left – and perhaps this is one reason why his fantastic graphic novel Just So Happens feels so richly intimate; he knows all about the conflict of belonging. But it's clear, too, that he is a talent to watch. I like his elegant, understated drawings, which hint at the manga stories he must have read as a boy. Bullet trains, Shinto temples, shopping malls, sushi restaurants: he does them all beautifully.” – Rachel Cooke