by Whitney Grace
Kaoru Mori is different from other manga-ka in Japan. She sets most of her well-crafted stories in England or another foreign locale, but what really draws the reader’s attention is her gorgeous, detailed art. Most manga tends to play copycat of its peers by sticking to formulaic storyline and even replicating parts art styles Mori, however, launched her pencils forward and drew what was most pleasing to her. The end result is a cult following and manga series that are comparable to fine literature.
Anything and Something is a collection of short story comics and design notes that Mori did before and in-between her bigger projects. The stories are small snippets of life that are sweet, compelling, and comical. After the short stories are concept art, designs, and historic notes about Mori’s Emma, Shirley, and A Bride’s Story series. Spliced throughout are self-effacing biographical comics Mori wrote about her work ethic, love of England’s Victorian era, and gratitude towards her readers. As a note, many manga artists add comics like these in side panels or at the end of their works to communicate with their fans.
Compared to her other works, Anything and Something hardly registers a blip on Mori’s radar. It is interesting to see how her artistic skills lend themselves to other genres, such as more cotemporary stories, but it is obvious where her true love lays. This graphic novel is more for the die hard Mori fas or someone who wishes to get acquainted with her work. For a better grasp on her abilities, check out her other titles.