Review: Solanin

To be free is never easy

Inio Asano

Plot Summary
Inoue and Taneda decided to quit their typical life and earn their long-awaited freedom. It turns out freedom is not as they expect it to be. Their freedom went from being happy to being bored. The further they go the more they struggle within their so-called freedom leaving a harsh life at the palm of their hands. Will they retain their freedom?

Personal Opinion
What is freedom? This is the basic question that evolves within the life of Meiko Inoue and Shigeo Taneda in Solanin. Inio Asano took us on a 2 (two) volumes journey on a typical definition of freedom; what it is, how it is achieved, and how it is basically something you can’t handle just by yourself.

Freedom almost equals hardship. A lot of people want freedom but unprepared to face the consequences of being free. Moreover, they never realize that even freedom requires hard work from their side. We live in a world where the ideal forms of free were most likely dreams and that we have a small chance of really surviving the real world by being free.

[Look out below, incoming spoilers!!!]

Solanin, in my opinion, perfectly showed all those things I mentioned above. In the first chapter, life was harsh for both both Meiko and Taneda. They wanted to be free. Without looking far into the future, they managed to earn their freedom. Meiko quits her stressful job with Taneda supporting her all the way. Taneda? He’s doing part-time job. In the end of the first chapter, the image of their recently acquired freedom was pictured beautifully.

Too good to be true? Yes. Meiko and Taneda began to realize that such a freedom was actually a life full of uncertainties. That kind of life would be troublesome. They would soon realize their freedom was not quite as they expected. Thus they began to rethink their plans for the future. It’s like a more-than-100-degree turn on their life.

As depressing as it sounds, I still had a good laugh from Solanin. I think Asano put up a good balance to keep the readers from getting carried away in depression from reading Solanin. There are times for serious stuff and then there are times when Taneda and his friends were too depressed to be serious. Hence the laughter.

Unfortunately -or is it fortunately?- the story gets way heavier during the second volume. Something went the other way around and it changes everything. I won’t share what’s in this volume to prevent myself from ruining the story any further. Have a read at it yourself. I enjoyed reading every pages of it. It really made me rethink my own definition of freedom. It also helped me understands how hard it is to survive in this world.

Being free does not necessarily means happy.

Personal Rating

[Reviewer: Amir Syafrudin]


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