Story and art by Hitoshi Ashinano
Originally published: Kodansha (1999)
Length: 1 Volume (7 chapters)
This is going to be a really short review for a really short piece. I don’t have too much to say about PostioN, but it had some interesting qualities that I thought were worth discussing nonetheless. PostioN has an unorthodox blend of art and writing. That is, great art with a complete lack of story. Each chapter plays out in a similar sense: set in perhaps a distant future, the reader explores the peculiar, and sometimes extraordinary occurrences in the everyday life of our protagonist, Sukiya Keiko. What makes this manga so immersive at times isn’t what’s said, but what isn’t.
There were one or two moments where the art actually took my breath away. Not only that, but the chapter thats art left the strongest impression on me had the most unexciting story. What sets PositioN apart from other one-shot slice of life is the world-building that is done through the extraordinary interactions between characters and their environment. The art itself wasn’t highly detailed, but it was soaked in meaning. These wondrous designs gave readers a sense of awe, inspiration. But they were also portrayed in a somewhat nostalgic sense – sometimes the occurrences weren’t necessarily fictitious, but things we’d find in our lives. To make them seem wondrous not only creates a sense of fondness, but one that leads the reader to heavy reflections.
Unfortunately, this manga did feel more like a preview to the authors previous work, ‘Yokohoma Kaidashi Kikou’ which is essentially an expansion of this concept, but with more developed characters to connect with. The story was so absent that I didn’t realise there was one protagonist. I genuinely thought that each chapter had a different character as the lead. In saying that, the way Ashinao’s works are created makes all his universes feel entwined, but this manga would be more of a side story. I’m not a huge fan of the word “charm”, but that’s exactly what this manga feels like its missing. Flicking through it is a blast, but when you try to truly connect with this piece, there isn’t anything to grasp onto.
As I saw (in glimpses) within PositioN, complex writing isn’t always necessary for immersive storytelling. But what was given to the reader didn’t have much substance to it. It almost read better as a picture book, with fairly predictive/below average writing actually taking away from the art at times.
Art – 8
Story – 6
Writing – 6
Overall – 7/10