Graphic Novel Review: Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame

Our Colors by Gengoroh Tagame. Translate by Anne Ishii. Pantheon, 2022. 9781524748562. 528 pp. including some pages of Tagame’s uninked art in the back of the book.

Sora and Nao have been friends since their were kids. In middle school everyone thought they were a couple. so now, in high school, Sora doesn’t want anyone getting the wrong idea. He’s secretly gay (he’s never told anyone) and in love with his friend Kenta, and he can’t figure out what to do. Sora imagines himself wearing a mask as he has to hide his thoughts and feelings. And then one day he meets an older man, Mr. Amamiya in what feels like a dream, and later finds that he runs a nearby cafe. They become friends. After Mr. Amamiya reveals he’s gay, too, Sora comes out to him and also accidentally comes out to Nao at the same time. There are minor complications as Sora continues to like to his parents and a girl who likes him, but (minor spoiler) when he embraces who he is he also seems to be taking a step forward in terms of the art he makes.

This is a beautiful manga with a simple, friendly story about a young man coming out that I’d say belongs in any public library’s YA graphic novel collection.

Worth noting: This book is oversized (at least in terms of how most manga is reproduce in the U.S.) and Chip Kidd did the cover design, so it’s gorgeous.

Fantagraphics also recently published two volumes of Tagame’s BDSM graphic novel erotica which have been difficult to find in English.


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