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3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,036 ratings  ·  166 reviews

Raised by his Japanese mother in New York City, his American father taken by war before Ichiro ever knew him, Ichiro finds it difficult to figure out where he fits in.

A trip to Japan leaves Ichiro with his grandfather, a stranger to him in a country he does not know.

And then one night Ichi gets dragged down a hole by a monster. When he
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published March 20th 2012 by HMH Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,036 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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Seth T.
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Ichiro by Ryan Inzana

One of the more recurrent themes of young adult literature is disorientation. A young protagonist one day wakes in an unfamiliar place and—through a variety of struggles and trials—eventually overcomes the cultural hindrances that hold him back. Or a young protagonist's home is destroyed and she, alone and unprepared, must discover and come to control the wildness of the greater, wider world around her. Or a young protagonist arrives at a new school (perhaps even mid-term) and must learn to swim
Jedi JC Daquis
Jul 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Even before researching a bit about the author, Ichiro clearly has political undertones about war and the lies behind it. Ichiro, in its front is a Spirited Away-esque story of the eponymous character, who somehow "fell" in a hole Alice in Wonderland style. He met some of Japan's Shinto gods and the creatures of the spiritual world.

During the time he spent there he have learned this war between the realms Ama and Yomi from the god of war himself, Hachiman. This war is obviously an allusion to t
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
This one is hard to rate. Do I rate it for the illustrations and style, which would easily get 5 stars, or do I rate for the story, which sits at about a mediocre 3? I'll go halfsies and give it 4.

I picked this up at the library, and was about 10 pages in before I could put it down. It starts with an old story of a monk and a mystical tea pot. I'm all for old magical Japanese myths, so I was really excited about this one. Besides, the graphics and colors are gorgeous.

Then I got to the meat of th
Emilia P
Apr 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comic-books
Woo!!! Japanese monsters!!!
So yeah, I thought this book would be a cheesy war fantasy for boys when in fact it was about a half Japanese kid who gets stuck in the Shinto spirit world and learns all about the rift between heaven and earth from the war god! I have recently been lucky enough to have conversations with my fellow bookstore employees about the monsters of Japanese folklore. And they are really one of my favorite things to find in manga -- they are so weird and spooky and sideways and
Ben Truong
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ichiro is a graphic novel written and illustrated by Ryan Inzana, it centers on a young American teen, son of a Japanese immigrant and an American soldier killed in combat, goes to Japan with his mother for an extended visit and begins to grapple with sophisticated cultural complexities.

Ichiro, raised in America by his Japanese mother, is left with his grandfather in Japan during his mother's business trip. Though they've rarely been together, the visit is treated as an opportunity to bond and a
Jonathan Maas
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great art, great tale. A gift for anyone who has ever felt like they were caught between cutlures, between worlds - between anything.

It's a specific tale - about a half-Japanese, half-American boy who doesn't feel like he belongs to either culture and -

Well I'll leave the rest up to you to find out. Let's just say there is some real life, some fantasy - and a lot of heart from Ryan Inzana. I highly recommend it - and though the Japanese creatures can be a little foreign to anyone born outside of
May 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Some good moments in the first half, but it's hard to know the sincerity of the author when I don't know his personal connection to the story. Being nikkei, I'm wary of non-nikkei telling stories with Japanese settings for the ~aesthetic, and especially when the book explores diaspora issues which are very complicated and nuanced. There were times when he handled that nuance well, but other times I wasn't as impressed. I wish he'd spoken more about himself in the book so I knew he was writing fr ...more
Brady H
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a really good book but the ending was weird I didn't understand what was going on but overall I really enjoyed it!
Brendan Ghazavi-Gill
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed the combination of Shinto background and the god stories. The 2nd/3rd culture protagonist is interesting and the words of his grandfather about patriotism and not really knowing the true past of a nation and what it stood for and stands for is very relevant in today's landscape.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Britt Wisenbaker
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
A Teen used to spending time with his conservative American grandfather travels with his Japanese mother to her homeland, to spend time with his hitherto unknown Japanese grandfather. After experiencing Japanese culture and recent history through the gentle guidance of his grandfather, he comes to realize that life is more complicated than Fox news had led him to believe. Ultimately he stumbles through a series of encounters with Japanese gods and demons, before gratefully being reunited with hi ...more
This Eisner Award-nominated graphic novel has gorgeous artwork and coloring that takes the reader along. Although the story was interesting enough, and I liked learning about Japanese mythology and Shinto tales, the story had a somewhat simple, didactic message about war, and the characters, though likeable, weren't complex. I think that Ichiro is definitely worth the read, especially since it's a quick one, for the gorgeous artwork and adept graphic storytelling, but I wish that there were more ...more
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, comics, mythology
At heart, Ichiro is really about the power of stories. In this case, stories (both mythological and historical) change the perspective of our title character, teenage Ichiro. And indeed, the stories are the best part of the book. Ichiro's personal storyline is a little thin, though his character progression does make sense under the circumstances. But the art is brilliant, and I loved the way that Inzana dealt with the mythology.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ownit
Either there is a cultural gap that I was unable to cross, or this story was largely incoherent. Or something in-between? The art was enjoyable. I was willing to follow the protagonist and his family on their increasingly fantastical journey, but I really didn't know what was going on! Also, the character growth was nil? Maybe?

As you can see, I had a lot of questions ...
Apr 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Wow, this book was a total mess. So many missed opportunities! I could see sort of what Inzana wanted to do with the story, but he just did not pull it off at all. Which is too bad because I really liked his art style and how it flowed on the page...but the story was a flop.
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I loved the Japanese gods and monsters. Many of the illustrations were superb. Some were a little confusing. The plot became a little nonsensical at times, and dragged in a few places. I wished there was more explanation/exploration of the tanuki. But I liked the characters and the book overall.
Candice Snow
Mar 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
Not going to lie, I picked this up because the back blurb made it sound like a gender-swapped Inuyasha, and I am absolute trash for that series. Instead of a fun story about a boy falling down a hole and ending up in feudal Japan, I was surprised that the majority of this story takes place in present day real-world Japan and dives into some pretty serious discussions concerning cultural identity and history.

There was a powerful discussion with Ichiro's Japanese grandfather early on that was so b
Celia Kim
Jun 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Overall, I enjoyed it. There were some aspects that I wish were explored thoroughly, like the motif of cultural identity (esp. of a mixed background heritage). We get a few scenes of racially-charged verbal exchanges that highlight this motif but that's it. There's not a lot of introspection regarding it, and we don't get an explicit understanding of how the protagonist (Ichiro) feels about having to deal with it in both the US and in Japan, but maybe the lack of closure and precision of underst ...more
An exciting adventure where a young teenage boy travels from the U.S. to Japan with his mother who is going there for work, and then stays with her father outside of Tokyo while she works. I liked how the fact that he was speaking in Japanese was shown by having the text boxes in a different color.

The boy - Ichiro - is sullen, low-energy, & unenthusiastic, but still pleasant enough and not at all mean. He hangs out with his grandfather, who fills him in on local customs to supplement the folkta
Andrew Bacon
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comicbooks, fantasy
ICHIRO is not the book I expected, but I'm glad that it is what it is. It's a rather simple story that unfortunately always feels like it could be longer than it is. I would gladly read a graphic novel the length of AKIRA that was in this style and about this story. It's engaging, beautiful for the eyes, funny. I like the main character, and the cast of side characters, although I with the Tanuki (raccoon dog) was better utilized. The tanuki is built up as an integral part of the story, as thoug ...more
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katy Wineke
Disclaimer: while I enjoy graphic novels, I prefer novels and often feel like important information is missing. Ryan Inzana does a beautiful job giving his readers clues as the read: different colored text boxes to show when characters are speaking in Japanese or English, using colors to show who is from Ama and who is from Yomi, etc. I also appreciated the messages about war, good, and evil (heaven and hell are in the hearts of all men). However, after Ichiro is dragged by the tanuki from the m ...more
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Story - 3 stars
Illustrations/Colors - 4 stars

This story was captivating in its storytelling of Japanese gods, war, shapeshifters, and how they all collide in a story of a Japanese-American boy named Ichiro. He dreads his travel to Japan to spend time with his grandfather and ends up learning much about the ways of war and how certain mindsets can set up barriers of hate and fear when peace and collaboration could be an easier choice. I wasn’t completely gripped by the story until I was about two
Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the beginning and middle of the book I thought that it was just going to talk about japines history and tour japan. But a little bit after that his grandpa talks about it goes into how ichiro tries to catch this animal that has been eating the fruit of the trees and when he catches it it changes into this big giant monster. Once the animal changed back it dragged him into this hole where they thought that he was from some weird place so they marked him with symbols and throw him in jail. In j ...more
Jun 09, 2017 rated it liked it
In some ways, Ichiro reminded me of Spirited Away. Well atleast when he got dragged down to that other dimension bit. But before all that though, what got me hooked on to reading it was those little shades of political undertones about the war with no choosing of sides, only that war is bad for everyone. Very interesting read. Fairly good artwork. Pick it up when you're a bit interested of Japan.
An American-Japanese teen gets the opportunity to experience his mother’s native country and gains appreciation of the importance and effects of war by being transported into ancient history. Good graphic novel with comic illustrations that are dynamic and reflect a style that integrates Japanese creation legends with a currency and modern-day teen appeal.
Sarah Stegeman
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ichiro is a story about an American-born boy who travels to Japan to visit his grandfather. The plot follows Ichiro as he moves from disbelieving to believing in his ancestors gods and traditions. Inzana is a matter storyteller, greatly providing the reader with the necessary background of the culture without feeling too expository.
Mar 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having no idea what I was getting into, I quite liked this book.

It is very political, but I think it is very clever, and the subversion of certain characters from Japanese belief makes for some interesting statements and commentary.

I also really enjoyed the first half of the book. It was a curious reflection of my own growing up, and how an interest in the glory of war was also discouraged.
Kevin W
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved the artwork. The story's points about understanding heritage and background and what it means to accept where you come from and how that can influence who you are, how the world sees you, and how you see yourself are lovely. In the end, it feels a bit rushed or shallow somehow, and context is often limited. I'm excited to read a number of other books and stories as a result, though.
Megan Mann
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was really amazing. I don’t know a whole lot about Japanese mythology, so I thought this was a nice introduction. I thought it was really wonderful and showed that we have to forge our own paths, not follow someone else’s. Now I want to read more about Japanese myth!
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Ryan Inzana is an illustrator and comic artist whose work has appeared in numerous magazines, ad campaigns, books and various other media all over the world. His illustration work has been recognized by The Society of Illustrators and Communication Arts. Ryan's comics have been inducted into the Library of Congress's permanent collection of art and have earned an Eisner nomination as well as an As ...more

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