BOOK REVIEW: The Golden Sheep (part three) By Kaori Ozaki

The Golden Sheep

After three months the wait to find out what happened to Tsugu, Sora, Yuushin and Sally (Asari) is now finally over. Music lovers were hooked line and sinker from the opening scene in part one which saw a smashed front screen of a car and a smashed guitar. Our main protagonist Tsugu is disheartened and her spirits are only kept alive through her passion for music. This passion is first demonstrated when Tsugu moves home and the first thing she unpacks is her electric guitar and amp. Being passionate about music is not easy when your school has no Rock Music Club and most of your peers tease you for your love of the guitar.

Part two sees these four friends separate from each other. Tsugu and Sora go to Japan where Tsugu seeks out her Dad and Grandfather. They end up working and living in a place called “Honest Croquettes” unsurprisingly making and deliver croquettes. Despite growing problems (including rumours that Tsugu and Sora had eloped), Tsugu’s father Sakishima repairs her guitar. Yuushin is in a tortured state. His attempts at becoming a professional box are ill-fated and he learns “The Story of Aries” which involves a girl dying as she falls off a Golden Fleece. This girl destined to die is Asari (Tsugu’s school friend who had a life-long childhood crush on Yuushin). Part two concludes with a hallowing message that no one can change their nature and fate.

Part three begins with Asari who is separated from her friends Tsugu, Sora and Yuushin and now a loner at the bottom of her school social strata hierarchy detested and bullied by her peers who pull nasty stunts on her. Feeling isolated from the world where Oxford shoes are the new cool and angry that her three closest friends have abandoned her; Sally returns to Sheep Park where several years ago Tsugu, Sora and Yuushin buried a time capsule. Ignoring the seven years and seven-month rule that if you wait for at least this period of time the wish made comes true Asari excavates the time capsule and then ends up in hospital. The wish contained within the time capsule says “We wish for Asari to get better”.

Part one focuses on Sora’s insecurities and anxieties where he reaches nadir and attempts suicide only escaping the void through Tsugu’s support. This time Sora is a crutch to support Tsugu who cannot accept that her parents will not get back together. Her father tells her that Tsugu’s mum is no longer a part for his family. Tsugu’s experience of her parent’s separation leads to fears that she will lose all ties with Sora and Yuushin as she did with Asari. Meanwhile, Sora aka the “Croquette Guy” receives an anonymous a love letter. Ozaki’s illustrations of an elated Sora depicted as several halo headed angels playing trumpets is original and binds you closer to him. Despite Sora’s elation he is not interested and tells Sora that there is “someone I like already” and he is “not remotely worthy of her yet”.

All the unanswered questions as to whether Sora reconnects with his grandmother, or takes up manga art again are answered. We find out if Yuushin overcomes his demons and rekindles his friendship with Sora and if Tsugu reunites with her own mother. Finally, we find out if these four friends can change their nature and fates and if the Golden Sheep at Sheep Park is truly magic or just inspirational symbolism.

Whilst there is a witty and creative scene where Tsugu plays and develops her guitar playing and even sings in “terrible” English; this does not form part of the nucleus of the story in part three and plays no role in deciding Tsugu’s fate let alone the destiny of her three friends. This is slightly disappointing as the target audience is music lovers and the front cover for part one depicts a solemn Tsugu with her guitar. Nonetheless the adroit storylines and creative artwork as well as bonus story “Love Letter” make The Golden Sheep a series that never lulls and will only continue to further entice and fascinate readers as they finish reading each part.

To find out for yourself what finally happened to Tsugu and her friends please visit https://kodanshacomics.com/volume/the-golden-sheep-3/

 

 

 

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