By Takashi Murakami
Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, $11.99, 128 pages
Death is not always something sad. Stargazing Dog starts with the information that a man died, and that a dog died in the same spot a few months later. It then backtracks to show us how they ended up there, and then shoots ahead as a social worker investigates their deaths, while looking at how he treated his own dog and how their deaths impact his life. It is a very bittersweet tale about love and how it fills our lives when it’s there and how we feel its absence.
Although the art is relatively simple, even for manga styles, it does fill the panels, and in some very nice detail. The sunflowers, which are a constant motif, emphasize the message of the necessity of love. The man is willing to do anything to make sure his dog can eat, even going without food himself. His final breakdown is the last gasp of someone who has little but the love of his dog to sustain him. Even the second section shows how love can sustain us even when we don’t accept it. This is a book for pet lovers, the romantic, and anyone needing a pick-me-up.
Reviewed by Jamais Jochim