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Two Girls Grow Up Drawing Anime Comics Together Becomes a Kind of Autobiography for Tatsuki Fujimoto

On Saturday, July 6th, the animated film "Look Back" made its US premiere at Anime Expo.

On Saturday, July 6th, the animated film "Look Back" made its US premiere at Anime Expo.

The film is based on the graphic novel of the same name by Japanese author Tatsuki Fujimoto, released in 2022. The comic follows two girls, Fujino and Kyomoto, as they grow up together with a shared passion for drawing comics. They become a duo, writing and drawing the comics together As they approach their high school graduation, they've racked up many accolades, but a difference in ambition leads the two to break off their partnership and grow further apart.

The movie tackles several themes, many of which are recurring topics from Fujimoto's other works. The sanctity of life, the drive to create, the ways that art can enhance or even save lives. Unlike most of his other work, it's largely grounded in reality. Most of the plot revolves around the two main girls talking to each other in their rooms, with even big set piece moments revolving around them running through city streets or the rainy countryside.

Artistically, the film relies on soft, moody color palettes to accentuate the tone and emotions the characters are feeling. It holds true to Fujimoto's artistic style, and there are dozens of easter eggs for fans of his work to find throughout.

It's hard to tell when "Look Back" is autobiographical and when it's fiction. Parts of it are confirmably real - Tatsuki Fujimoto was a wunderkind, at once both conceited and self-conscious. He made several one shots before creating his first serialized work. "Shark Kick," the fictional manga in Look Back, is clearly an amalgamation of his two major serialized works, "Fire Punch" and "Chainsaw Man." When Fujino takes her break to grieve her best friend, it's at volume 11 - exactly when Chainsaw Man took its hiatus. If you combine the names of the main characters Fujino and Kyomoto, dropping the middle syllables gives you the name Fujimoto.

From Look Back by Tatsuki Fujimoto

Like all art that's about art, it's tempting to dive further and further into this autobiographical framework, to find out who the author was and what they think about life, and the world, and forget that they've given us a narrative in itself to analyze.

Fujino doesn't like drawing very much, but she does it for her friend, for the fans, and ultimately for herself because she just can't stop herself. Kyomoto is a genius artist unfit for the harsh world of weekly serialized manga because even though she can draw backgrounds like nobody else, she takes too much time to finish. Her insecurity about her own art isolates her, while Fujino's confidence drives her to greater and greater heights

At a weighty but not overbearing 58 minutes, the film accomplishes great things with a trim runtime. The film does not currently have a US distributor, and a full release date is not currently planned.


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