Even as butterflies ominously proliferate in town, the rumor of a mysterious creature lurking in the tunnel behind the school spreads among the children. When the body of Arié Kimura's mother is found by this tunnel's entrance, next to apparently human traces, the legend seems to be confirmed. Is the end of the world coming? In order to appease the wrath of the beast, the children decide to offer it a sacrifice: The unfortunate Arié, whom they believe to be the cause of the curse, is shoved into a well that leads to the Nijigahara tunnel — an act that in turns pushes Komatsuzaki, the budding thug who has carried a torch for Arié for a while already, entirely over the edge.
But this is only the beginning of the complex, challenging, obliquely told Nijigahara Holograph, which takes place in two separate timelines and involves the suicidal Suzuki; Higure, his stalkerish would-be girlfriend; their teacher Miss Sakaki, whose heavily bandaged face remains a mystery; and many more — brothers, sisters, parents, co-workers, teachers, aggressors and victims who are all inextricably linked to one another and all will eventually — ten years later — have to live with what they’ve done or suffered through.
Asano, whose Solanin was nominated for the 2009 Eisner and Harvey comics awards (and which was made into a feature film in 2010), delves into disturbing territory with this Lynchian horror story, told in his unnervingly crisp and detailed panels.
"...[A] haunting story of trauma, guilt, and, finally, closure. ... Though there are many moving pieces, the fluid timeline; tight, stark, and realistic artwork; and clues carefully revealed through deliberately worded dialogue and purposeful character design work in perfect harmony to prevent ambiguity or confusion. Critically acclaimed Asano deftly twists this disturbingly compelling story, managing to shock the reader at every turn. Its intricacies are even more rewarding on the second read." – Booklist (Starred Review)
"Inio Asano is one of the best new manga creators, hands down." – Shaenon Garrity, About.com
"Inio Asano is one of the great emerging voices in manga… [Nijigahara Holograph] is guaranteed to be one of the books of the year, and should help cement Asano's reputation." – ComicsAlliance
"Asano is so young, and [his] ability to talk about human nature, and the distress of becoming an adult is equally painful and beautiful. [He] is in my opinion one of the best and more moving storytellers working nowadays." – Emma Rios (Pretty Deadly)