Solanin(ソラニン) is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Inio Asano.
Meiko and Taneda graduated from university two years ago. Having no real goals or direction, they step into society, clueless. Meiko works as an Office Lady to pay the rent for her apartment, while Taneda works as an illustrator in a press company, earning just enough to take some of Meiko’s burden. While Taneda often meets up with his bandmates from their University days to jam, he still feels something is missing. His bandmates know what it is: they need to step out, promote themselves and let their songs be heard by a larger crowd; which has been their dream since their first meeting in their university’s “Pop Music Club”.
Unhappy with the rhythm of their “normal” graduate lives, things change when two important decisions are made: Meiko decides to quit her job, and Taneda decides to devote time to write his first proper song for the band. Having broken free of their old routines, they now find themselves uncertain of where their new life will take them. Slowly, Meiko and Taneda come to embrace their unpredictable future together but an unexpected tragedy occurs, changing their lives and the lives of their friends forever.
In an afterword to the manga Inio Asano wrote:
“I drew solanin when I was about 24 years old. I had just graduated from college and was feeling a bit insecure about my ability to succeed as a manga artist and whether I would be able to continue to draw manga that were true to myself. In my anxiety and impatience, I felt that all I could do in my manga was try to get a true depiction of the times as experienced by my generation.
Lovers, friends, money, jobs, a society with an unclear future, ones own pride… Writhing in these multiple, entangling factors, perhaps they are unable to draw any conclusions. Perhaps this instant now is just a small part of their futile daily lives. The only thing that’s certain is that they can never return to the days gone by.
There’s nothing cool about these characters. They’re just your average 20-somethings who blend into the backdrop of the city. But the most important messages in our lives don’t come from musicians on stage or stars on television. They come from the average people all around you, the ones who are just feet from where you stand. That’s what I believe.”
The manga was made into a live-action film and released in Japan in April 2010. The film stars Aoi Miyazaki as Meiko Inoue and Kengo Kora as Naruo Taneda.
Official Japanese Trailer for Solanin.
In March 2010 the Japanese rock group ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION released their song “Solanin” which would become the main theme for the movie.
Solanin by ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION.
A behind the scenes DVD feature of the movie cast performing Solanin.