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not simple

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,121 ratings  ·  124 reviews
Complex, powerful, and emotionally wrenching, not simple is a novel told in visual form by one of the most acclaimed creators at work today.

Reads R to L (Japanese Style). Ian, a young man with a fractured family history, travels from Australia to England to America in the hope of realizing his dreams and reuniting with his beloved sister. His story unfolds backwards
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by VIZ Media LLC (first published January 1st 2006)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,121 ratings  ·  124 reviews

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Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga
Bottom panel, page 236... all the review needed:

Noah Nichols
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-loaned
Not really sure how I feel about this book just Im going to sit and marinate on it for a bit. ...more
Jun 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
Definetly Not a book I would had read if I knew what was getting my self into,not recommend at all
Mikael Kuoppala
May 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Natsume Ono at her best. She is a master of creating a special kind of atmosphere, and this time her characters and story go extremely well with that talent. "Not Simple" lives up to its title and offers a nuanced story that goes inside its main character's psychology and exposes the complexities of a young mind emerging from the turmoil of uncertainty, trauma and guilt.

The structure of the novel is also quite ambitious; it experiments with the perception of reality and the subjectivity of
Oct 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Oof. This was a twisted maze of pain and life. Distinct art style that fits the disjointed feeling of the story. I really liked it!
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-manga
I saw this book at the library, picked it up, and put it back when I saw that the art style is, how should I put it... untraditional. Flash forward an ironic 3 years (what an amazing coincidence) and I have fallen in love with this short work. Its one of those mangas I wish I could buy and put on my bookshelf the only manga I have bought, but unfortunately gave away as a secret Santa present was Solanin right where all my other favorite books are. Because this is not a manga you can simply ...more
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Not Simple, a title that fits the description of the story well.

I have always been a fan of works that are depressing in nature. But when I try to revisit a story, it just seems to have a less impact to me. Maybe its the realization that the story could have proceeded in a less tragic direction. Some just lack the essence of catharsis, making it feel like the whole story is just a misery fest for the reader. You get overwhelmed the first time but it doesnt feel special anymore the second time
Keiran Thegreat
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A mixture of warmth, compassion, and devastating sadness. In many ways a beautiful and challenging book. Several stories entwine to reveal Ian's history and life story. Characters fall in love but not all happiness is destined to last and this story begins at the end. Jim, Kylie, and Ian all feel like very real people and their problems are equally real.
Not Simple is far from a typical story and the title works on several levels.
Jan 11, 2011 rated it did not like it
I just couldn't get past the first few pages. I liked the description, but between the Japanese layout ("backwards" to my western eyes) and the illustration style, I only barely started the thing. I'm very irritated, because I really want to get into manga, and I thought that this, as a slightly arty, more realistic take, might be a good gateway piece. But sadly, no.
Jan 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Not Simple is one of the best mangas I've ever read. Its story is about as unique as its art style. It's incredibly touching, which, for a manga, is very rare for me. The plot moves a bit like the wind. Events transpire quickly and sometimes without reason, and you just have to follow along. Regardless, Not Simple is a magnificent story I could read again and again.
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"You're hard to Grasp. You're not simple"
"A person unclouded by too much thought. Someone who was simply himself and nothing more"

The story of a boy who goes in search of his sister. His life is filled with moments of hope only to be replaced with tragedy.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
To be honest, I didn't like the drawing style in its simplicity. But there was something about the eyes that caught my attention. Upon reading, I was at first confused by what appeared to be a non-linear plot. Then the threads of the story started to pull together and I really enjoyed it.
Apr 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great little graphic novel, sweet and sad. Really fast read, knocked it out at the library while the kids were playing.
Matt Richter
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
goes straight onto my list of most favourite graphic novels.
LG (A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions)
Im not sure how to summarize this story, since so much of it counts as spoilers. I suppose Ill start at the beginning. A young woman named Irene wants to run away with her boyfriend but is afraid that her dad will find them and literally kill her boyfriend. She then comes up with an idea that immediately qualifies her as a horrible person: pick up a random homeless guy, convince her dads goons that hes her boyfriend, and run off with her boyfriend while the goons beat the homeless guy half to ...more
Wyatt Ryder
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Not Simple is an experience of hatred, depression and anger that never shows you a single moment of brighter times. The manga starts with the protagonist, Ian, dying a sad and miserable death alone.
Right from the start, as a reader you've been conditioned to never hope for brighter times. The problem I struck with this formula is that because there was never any hope for Ian, the constant twists and turns that ruin his life feel as if they have left much less of an impact than they had the
Oct 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, manga
Rather a downer of a story, but it was still a decent read.

The back cover blurb tries to make the whole thing more mysterious than it is: "A story within a story, a book within a book . . ." In truth, it is quite straight forward, and only the prologue and epilogue are told out of order relative to the main story. (view spoiler)
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
My main takeaway: an urge to call/text all the people I love. At once. Right now, before its too late. So in that sense, well done, Natsume Ono. You wanted to break my heart and you did.
Devastatingly tragic. The minimalism helps pull it off to avoid the trappings of melodrama, but at the same time Im not sure that this particular style was enough to successfully carry the ambition of the overall narrative structure.

Would recommend to: people who want to feel depressed for a bit or get some
Luna Hart
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have never cried so hard at a Manga before. When my boyfriend and I first met, he gave me this book to read, and I fell in love with it so hard. It brought us closer as we went farther into the story. It is hard to believe how paper with words and drawings can be so powerful. The story gave me cold chills. I have never read anything so meaningful that it literally broke my heart. I simply cannot put into words how much this book means to me. I doubt I will ever read anything like this again. ...more
Forthright .
Picked up this stand-alone work because I am so enamored of Ono's other works. Simply drawn, but living up to its title where themes are concerned. The whole tone is oddly wistful as we meander through Ian's past and present. He's so very human and hopeful, yet every relationship around him is so desperately twisted and broken. Brushing lightly against harsh realities without belaboring any one point. Lost and lonesome and heartbreakingly sad.
Dec 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
Of course this was very confusing as it kept going backwards and forwards and all over the place. Definitely one that needs reading a couple of times before you get it (unless youre super smart (clearly not me haha)). But its one of those where you just want to keep turning the next page. An interesting art style for a manga. ...more
DNF. Got to page 50 (chapter 2). Maybe it's the reading right to left, maybe it's the panels/layout, but I'm having trouble following the plot and what I did pick-up wasn't interesting enough to me to work harder to "get" it.
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: manga
Alex Hodge
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a sentimental and innocent portrayal of some dark subject matter, and it's probably going to stick with me for awhile.
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-manga
The story was short but really interesting.
I really enjoyed it. It is now one of my favourite mangas :D
dedSteph (ded)
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, comics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels, teen
Ians family has never been strong. His alcoholic mom can barely stand to look at him, and since the divorce, his dad only cares for his new girlfriend. As he gets older, Ian begins to have suspicions about what drove his family apart; he thinks the sister he loves, the only family member who loves him back, might really be his mother.

Onos graphic novel is presented in the Japanese style and reads back to front, right to left. Being familiar with manga, I knew how to approach it. For first-time
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Tragic subject matter but not as gut-wrenching as the blurb suggests. I didn't feel much for the characters, partly due to the lack of detail and build up and partly because of the art style.
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Natsume Ono made her professional debut in 2003 with the webcomic La Quinta Camera. Her subsequent works not simple, Ristorante Paradiso, and Gente (a continuation of Ristorante Paradiso) met with both critical and popular acclaim. In 2009 Ristorante Paradiso was adapted into a TV anime series. Her current series House of Five Leaves (Saraiya Goyou), also adapted into a TV anime series in 2010, is ...more

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