Naoki Urasawa’s long-running series about insurance investigator Taichi Hiraga-Keaton continues to surprise me with its heart and nuance.
Coming to this, I best knew Urasawa from Monster (a serial killer story about moral responsibility), Pluto (an alternate Iraq war retelling of Astro Boy in which history is a neatly unbearable burden for the characters), and 20th Century Boys (an epic about an apocalyptic cult based in a childhood game)—all heavy, dark, intense stuff. Some of that is present in Keaton, but not that much. Perhaps that because Urasawa didn’t create the story here—Hokusei Katsushika did—but Urasawa has collaborated with others on many of his stories.
The stories here—almost always completed in a single chapter—are much more interested in relationships and character, love and pets, and the small pleasures that make life worth living. It makes for a collection of sweet, breezy, touching stories. Great stuff.