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4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  710 Ratings  ·  73 Reviews
Relato autobiográfico en el que Mizuki cuenta sus recuerdos de infancia en la década de 1930, en Sakaiminato, un pequeño pueblo costero del suroeste de Japón. Con nostalgia y ternura, el mangaka cuenta sus primeros años de vida en el seno de una familia modesta, las peleas con sus amigos, la escuela o los primeros amores. El personaje que da título al libro, NonNonBa, es u ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 15th 2010 by Astiberri (first published 1977)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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David Schaafsma
I first read Onward to our Noble Deaths by Mizuki, his serious anti-war story based in his own experience as a soldier. Lately I read the first volume of Showa, his epic history of twentieth century Japan. My understanding is he is best known, even revered, for his Kitaro YA series, which is light, humorous, and centers on yōkai (or roughly, ghosts), a class of supernatural monsters and spirits in Japanese folklore. What is an example of yōkai? A kappa, which is similar to a turtle. Yōkai usuall ...more
Dov Zeller
This book is fantastic.

It's a manga artist's fantastical memoir, a sort of ars poetica, and it draws a world in which intricate relationships are always to be navigated and the world doles out a lot of kicks and an occasional perfect kiss (what was it that Voltaire said?).

There is a great depth to the people and the story and a beautiful humor and lightness that makes it sad and joyful with the feeling of the unsimple simplicity of childhood wrapped around one's shoulders like a dear old flann
Tom Ewing
May 09, 2016 Tom Ewing rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manga
I'm not sure why I decided to start with this as my introduction to the late Shigeru Mizuki - probably, if I'm honest, it was the promised monsters, though the Yokai play very much a supporting role in this charming, meandering childhood memoir. Authorial stand-in Shigeru is growing up in a struggling middle-class rural family in 1930s Japan - the book is the story of his relationship with his parents, his brothers, the local street gang he half-wants to lead, and NonNonBa ("Gran"), an old local ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Adan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A semi-autobiographical tale relating/inspired by Mizuki's childhood and the teachings of NonNonBa, the grandmother figure who taught him about the spiritual world. Besides being an excellent primer for Japanese folklore, it's also a funny and bittersweet look at a child's life in early 20th century Japan.
May 27, 2013 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really love his style. The realism of his drawings in some frames, and the more simple manga type drawing in others, juxtaposed with one another is somehow powerful. In this book, and also in Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, he is able to convey the bigger picture of the time and circumstances through a very personal story. Highly recommend taking a look at Mizuki-san.
Emilia P
Jul 16, 2012 Emilia P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-books
This book is ostensibly about yokai - Japanese ghouls/goblins/fairies/etc, but really it's about early 20th century childhood in rural Japan, and spooky-cool grandma ladies, and as such its very sweet and successful and touches on that weird place of childhood where you don't even have to believe in the supernatural, it's just seamlessly real. Hooray! And nicely illustrated.
Dec 15, 2015 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics-manga, 2016
This is a book about yokai. Or rather, this is a book about childhood. Or rather, this is a book about growing up.

Much like Dennou Coil (not to compare one obscure thing to another...), this is a story about children and the way children imagine and play, and uses "imagination and play" as a method of addressing serious topics like death, abuse, etc. It's also ostensibly a fictionalized story about Shigeru Mizuki's childhood (the main character is named "Shigeru Muraki"), what drawing comics mea
Noran Miss Pumkin
It is hard to describe this book. I found it enchanting, and at times sad. It s a view into a world long since passed. How do you explain a doughnut to someone how never seen one before. Would you walk miles, just to try one, with the scant change you had? Add Japanese myths, and spirits-you have a unique mix to savour.
Jason Keenan
Apr 23, 2014 Jason Keenan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan
This could be my favourite collection outside the Showa series by Mizuki. It's an incredible blend of stories growing up in pre war rural japan as well as one boys discovery of yokai. It is the genesis of all Mizuki's yokai stories to come it seems. Wonderful storytelling and some surprising and sad history.
Sergio Sierra
Mar 19, 2013 Sergio Sierra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Muy buena aproximación al pasado del autor y a sus vivencias de infancia donde germina ese mundo sobrenatural al que pertenecen los yôkai, tan importantes en su plasmación artística de estos seres monstruosos del folklore japonés. Se trata de un comic divertido y original, lleno de inocencia y sencillez, pero a la vez oscuro y sobrecogedor. Para mí un imprescindible junto a su Kitaro.
Sasha Boersma
Perhaps the best book I've read through 2013... lovely collection of stories of a young boy in Japan (pre WWII) learning about the world of yokai (spirits). Beautiful tale with amazing, simple illustrations. It's like a more child-friendly not-dark version of Spirited Away in book form.
Apr 13, 2016 sanaz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed the book. Nonnonba was a lovely granny that I felt i have known and loved forever. I traveled to the boys' world and felt the magic of Shige's imagination. And of course I loved the Yokais and how they helped Shige's journey to be a grown up.
Gorgeous art. Interesting story. What's not to like?!
Avi Alany
Oct 21, 2016 Avi Alany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great book, contrasting the supernatural with a tender attention to the detail of daily life.
Karen Mardahl
Jun 18, 2016 Karen Mardahl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I learned about this book from reading notes in Jiro Taniguchi's works. This is why it pays to read notes in books. You get more book tips! I am so glad I got this one. The illustrations were great - they were humourous, but they were also filled with love. I do not mean romance love. I mean the love of an artisan for his story and his craft. He is passionate about his craft - and sharing tales about the yokai, Japanese spirit monsters. The line between our world and the spirit world is ...more
Michael Scott
I wanted for a long time to read Shigeru Mizuki's NonNonBa, so finding it in the Kinokuniya Tokyo store gave me great joy. I read it in the plane, and, overall, find it to be a very pleasant experience. NonNonBa is a memoir, structured as a collection of loosely related stories told by the young Shigeru (Shige, Gege) about his childhood in a remote village. It is as much a coming-of-age story as a story about the myths of pre-WW2 Japan.

Central to the story, next to Shige, is his grandmother (or
Charles Dee Mitchell
This is Japanese folklorist and manga artist Shigeru Mizuki's memoir of his 1930's childhood in the small coastal town of Sakaiminato. The small boys of the town play constantly at war, staging pitched battles with rocks and traps aimed at enemies across town. Shigeru, an artist at heart, befriends the elderly woman who lives near by and she regales him with stores of Yokai, the demon spirits, sometimes playful and sometimes dangerous, that fill the houses and surrounding countryside of Sakaimin ...more
Why can’t all manga be more like this? This memoir was delightful.
Reading Nonnonba was like reliving my childhood with all its carefree days, innocent ignorance, boundless imagination, fun games, friendships, first loves, life’s first sorrows and concerns.

The blend of humor and tragedy makes for an emotional journey with joy and laughter on one page followed by sadness and tears on another. Mizuki’s reality (marked by poverty, family tensions, death) is enriched by Nonnonba’s stories about yoka
May 14, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manga
If you are a fan of ghost stories, folktales, urban legends, fairy tales, you would enjoy Shigeru Mizuki's work. This book is a fictionalized account of Mizuki's childhood growing up hearing stories about yokai, which are something between ghosts, spirits, goblins, and demons in Japan. These stories came to him from a family friend, NonNonBa, a grandmother figure and the inspiration for Mizuki's manga career. Japan's interest in yokai had begun to wane when a British tourist who eventually becam ...more
Jul 18, 2012 Blue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel, memoir
A great memoir, NonNonBa has the perfect blend of the supernatural creatures of Japanese folk tales and a very tangible childhood in rural 20th-century Japan. Our unlikely hero prefers to indulge in stories of goblins and monsters and spirits from the grandma figure in his life and draw manga than to go to middle school. You can imagine his mother's worries. There is a certain sadness that runs through the cheerful and carefree childhood days, where boy gangs declare daily war against each other ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Gina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and touching and funny.

NonNonBa and Shigeru's relationship reminded me of Charles Dicken's description of his nanny and the stories she told, and how the fright tormented him but he also couldn't get enough of it.

For Shigeru the stories sometimes truly frighten him and discomfort him, but he wants more. They also entertain him and nurture his creativity. Some of the yokai are almost friendly, or at least capable of truce, and they appear to help create an escape during bleak economic
Bruce Gargoyle
Ten Second Synopsis:
Shigeru recounts the story of his boyhood in which his elderly neighbour NonNonba educates him about the various ghosts and spirits that inhabit their corner of Japan.

I found this to be a refreshingly ordinary childhood memoir that happened to feature some elements of the supernatural. Mizuki recounts a number of incidences from his boyhood with humour and sensitivity. While the meetings with various spirits are scary at times, the background context to each apparition is tho
Bobby Rush
Jul 03, 2012 Bobby Rush rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A nostalgic memoir by one of Japan's best folklore storytellers, Shigeru Mizuki. The comic follows the author in his hometown of Sakaiminato and his life growing up with Nonnonba, a sort of local "nun" that helps the inhabitants of the village with prayer and sight of the superstitious world of Japan. She tells Shigeru of the Yokai (spirits), as he converges the two reality and fantasy into an overlapping read, that lets them interplay into solid belief and entrapment of it all.

I was captivated
Dec 07, 2016 Jord rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manga
A great semi-autobiographical tome about how the author came to be fascinated by yokai, the traditional spirits of Japan.
Hugo Seven
Jan 14, 2014 Hugo Seven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic read, which offers some comprehensive knowledge on the spirits and monsters (Yokai) of Japanese folklore, as well as give us a glimpse into the life of a typical young boy growing up in early 20th century Japan.
Of course, the undisputed star of this book is most definitely NonNonBa, the old woman who introduces young Shigeru to the world of Yokai in the first place!
The artwork is Shigeru's signature unique style. A blend of lush, detailed backdrops, and charmingly stylized, almost "c
Feb 08, 2016 enricocioni rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
I can see why one would like this book, but it wasn't for me. I never really got used to the cartoonish style Mizuki uses for the characters, and I found the writing understimulating--I guess it's partly a culture thing, partly being spoiled by the comics I've read most recently, Saga and Sex Criminals. Also, what attracted me to this book in the first place was the fact, like Mizuki, I too spent a significant portion of my childhood drawing monsters, so perhaps I'm also disappointed I couldn't ...more
Jan 07, 2016 Gianluca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Semplicemente eccezionale. Eccezionale come Mizuki riesca a raccontare la vita quotidiana del Giappone degli anni '30 attraverso gli occhi di un bambino, che fatica a comprendere più la realtà che lo circonda piuttosto che le leggende e le storie degli spiriti della tradizione locale dove invece si rifugia.

Eccezionale per il sottile equilibrio di emozioni in cui tutta la storia si mantiene, tra profonda e amara tristezza, tenera innocenza e situazioni divertenti e surreali che quasi fungono da s
Jul 04, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely wonderful account of Mizuki-sensei's boyhood in postwar Japan and the old woman who introduced him to traditional tales of the yokai. The creatures' presence is tangible throughout (they are actually seen and encountered) and makes the book magical as well as charming. Meanwhile, his family (salaryman/dreamer dad and fiercely proud mom, and younger brother) struggles to make ends meet, local kids design pretend warfare, and human life goes on - to the yokai world's amusement. A gre ...more
Jul 16, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
via NYPL - Mizuki's memoir of an older woman (called NonNonBa) who lived with him as a child, introducing him to the spooky Yokai of Japanese lore. The book also details several formative moments in Mizuki's childhood among his band of friends, his dreamer father's struggles with serious employment (and said father's encouragement of Mizuki's artistic talents) and the loss of a childhood friend to human trafficking. Despite that last part, it's a largely endearing, entertaining book, and definit ...more
Siloh Radovsky
A winning combination of lovely whimsy and serious commentary about the interactions between industrial economy and supernatural belief systems, and their concurrent social dynamics. The narrative is full of cute gags and pleasant derivations, though the sturdy spine of the story is Shigeru's relationships with close family members and a cast of women who seem have direct lines with the spirit realm. Indeed, the stake in losing this connection may be the main theme of the plot, and the implicati ...more
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Shigeru Mizuki (水木しげる) is Japanese manga cartoonist, most known for his horror manga GeGeGe no Kitaro. He is a specialist in stories of yōkai and is considered a master of the genre. He is a member of The Japanese Society of Cultural Anthropology, and has traveled to over 60 countries in the world to engage in fieldwork of the yōkai and spirits of different cultures. He has been published in Japan ...more
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