Comic Picks By The Glick

Saturn Apartments vol. 4

November 22, 2011

Though the structure of this series tends towards the episodic, showcasing the various situations its cast of low-Earth-orbit window washers finds itself in, there have been hints of an uber-arc to tie everything together in previous volumes.  You’d figure that with how young window washer Mitsu’s father disappeared all those years ago that mangaka Hisae Iwaoka would get around to explaining it at some point.  There’s also engineer Sohta’s encounter with a mysterious scientist in who wants to make a journey to Earth in the previous volume which sounded even more interesting.  As it turns out, both of these treads wind up coming together here in a well-orchestrated bit of synchronicity.  Now this might be seen as a hopeful moment for our young hero, there are some very sinister undercurrents to this secret trip to Earth that bring some welcome suspense and edge to this normally very low-key series.

While this is a good thing in and of itself, the other stories being told here are also pretty worthwhile.  The series most distinctive character, the very big-hearted and VERY bald Mr. Kageyama, finds out the toll that window washing has taken on his body, and makes some surprisingly mature decisions about his future.  We’re also shown Mitsu studying for the first-class washer test, and making contact with a strange radio presence that has the side effect of getting the normally very unfriendly Makoto to open up a little.  It may not be improving by leaps and bounds, but this series continues to get better with each volume.

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