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Graphic Novel Review: Not Simple by Natsume Ono

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Not Simple, by Natsume Ono, is a graphic novel for those readers who like a touch of the different. Technically speaking, it's two stories in one. The tale as viewed from the eyes of the reporter is first, but there is also the life of the reporter's subject.

Ian, the main character, is going on a cross country trip from Australia to America. To achieve his goal, he must also make a stop in England. Ian plans to fulfill his longtime dream of reuniting with his dearly loved sister. Getting there, though, is only half the adventure.

As Jim, the reporter, discovers, many more layers are part of the seemingly simple tale. The family picture Ian has in his mind is not exactly a rosy one. Worse yet, long-held beliefs are only a facade in order to try to show the world just how apparently normal things are at home.

Ono, artist as well as author, uses basic pencil drawings to let the words speak for themselves. No color is added, but it is hardly needed. In a way, this is a smart tactic. The black and white undertones set off the starkness of the character backgrounds.

Jim has his own not so happy life to share with readers. Although he has a successful career, the choices he makes on a daily basis are troublesome. Jim must find out the hard way that consequences come with every action.

This story might best be named as strangely compelling. While the subject matter is not always pleasant, finding out what happens next takes the reader to the final page. A sequel would not be out of the question, but it's not necessary.

Not Simple
is only the latest in a line of several graphic novels for Ono. After publishing the comic-made-for-the-web, LaQuinta Camera, she followed it up Ristorante Paradiso and Gente, which continues the story Ristorante Paradiso began.

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