Seven Seas Entertainment recently aquired the rights to Kabi Nagata’s autobiographical manga, The Private Report on My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness. The first volume will be released in the states in June 2017. Until then, we can read unofficial fan translations on the internet and #gethype, because My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness is amazing and you need to drop what you’re doing and read it immediately.
MLEWL is raw and intensely personal, as can be expected from an autobiographical comic with that title. The first four chapters include mentions of self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts, and depression. The Dynasty-Scans translation even tags it as #depressing as fuck. And that’s one of the reasons I’m so drawn to it. I look at Nagata’s struggles and see myself, my friends, a real twenty-eight year old with real problems.
What’s really interesting about it, though, is the way it frames its pages. A lot of manga, especially introspective manga, feature many aspect-to-aspect transitions, or sequential panels that show different parts of the environment or setting of a certain scene. In MLEWL, panels that focus on setting and environment are very rare. Even though the entire comic is from Nagata’s point of view, we don’t see the world so much through her exact eyes as we see it from an outsider’s perspective, looking in. Most pages are also simply laid out as columns of three wide panels, with boxes of narrative text framing art from left and right. This layout gives very sad and serious content a more comedic tone, which, rather than accentuating the dramatic elements, makes it feel more realistic.
I think that’s part of why MLEWL is so appealing to today’s readers. A lot of internet humor revolves around making depressing things funny by phrasing them in a certain way. Though MLEWL isn’t exactly that- it is still sad, still introspective, still thoughtful- it does use a style that reminds me of the jokes I see so often on Tumblr and Twitter, and it feels more relevant to me that way.
The art is very fluid and dynamic, more exaggerated than most manga art styles. Instead of relying on standard expression tropes Nagata exaggerates poses and facial features in a really funny and charming way, and the visual techniques she uses make for a very pleasant read. I love the combination of pink with the black and white. (Fun sidenote: in Russian pink is slang for lesbian.)
Anyway, I really enjoyed what I’ve read of this so far and will be preordering the print edition the moment I can do so.