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I read and much enjoyed the first volume of this manga series last year. It concerns the education of Hikaru Azuma, a young Japanese autistic boy, as told largely from the viewpoint of his mother Sachiko. At this stage the series is settling down into being a regular feature in the Japanese magazine For Mrs, targeted at young mothers, so we get a certain amount of recapitulation and also re-education of the reader through new characters - first the parent of a new child in Hikaru's class, who has had a much more difficult time of it and is much more traumatised by her dealings with authority, and then a difficult transition at school with a new special education teacher who isn't really up to it and a new headmaster who doesn't really care. Tobe's art as ever captures the expressions of autistic children brilliantly, and is pretty good on other points too; and I was also fascinated by the various insights into Japanese elementary school culture which were included as local context but were often more educational for me than the main thrust of the story.

Keiko Tobe died earlier this year without finishing the series, but I will certainly get through the remaining four volumes.

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