A compendium of work by one of Japan's pioneers of gekiga, or literary manga. Translated into English for the first time, this collection includes an afterword delineating Tsurita's importance and historical relevance.
The first authorized anthology to showcase Tsurita’s work in English, it includes an exhaustively researched afterword by Ryan Holmberg (adapted and expanded from a shorter piece by Mitsuhiro Asakawa). The essay, which recounts the story of young Tsurita’s letter in great detail, seeks to explain her place in the heavily gendered world of Japanese manga, particularly alternative or alt-manga. While the comics assembled here are uneven in quality, and though the introductory essay may seem intimidatingly academic to readers unfamiliar with early manga, the book is overall a fantastic, continually surprising look at one of Japan’s most innovative—and least remembered—manga artists ... The quality of Tsurita’s late work is remarkable, given how severely lupus ravaged her ability to draw; before her death, she was barely able to finish tracing the lines of her panels ... The Sky Is Blue With a Single Cloud succeeds in establishing Tsurita as a truly singular cartoonist whose versatile oeuvre deserves more critical attention. Her work, including somber sphinxian riddles and the quiet, unforgettable terror of the titular comic, reflects a complicated artist who fought against the sexist strictures of her era, leaving behind a rich, multivalent collection of art wholly her own.
... the peculiarities of Tsurita’s stories finds them strange and compelling. Coincidentally, they’re also also abstract enough they often move more like music in how they develop and digress, rather than seeming to follow a plot and a three-act structure. Compiled here, they play off each other like songs an an album, or suites in a symphony ... Though the level of ornamental detail feels European, Tsurita’s approach to drawing faces feels closer to the masks of Kabuki theater than celebrity models, and the rest of her drawing follows an approach that favors a neutral distance that allows the reader to consider what is being conveyed without feeling the author’s trying to seduce them ... There’s so much life and so much to love in Tsuritisa’s panel-to-panel transitions, where an engraving-indebted approach to black and white drawing renders light shifting from one moment to another, investing slightly shifts in perspective with gravity, while other panels depict the act of flipping a fried egg with both perfect grace and the implicit humor of a non sequitur. These tones existing alongside one another accrue an unforced beauty. Despite the association with realism, for a stylist like Tsurita, there’s no real distinction between detail and the decorative flourish. Any intensity is rendered exquisite. And yet it still feels loose, cartooned, moving from one panel to the next as naturally as you exhale after an inhale.
... Tsurita’s art explores the corners where people often do not look ... No matter the style through the decades, Tsurita always shows a captivating eye with close-ups, sudden large panels, and heavy inking that frames the light with much darkness ... In addition to Tsurita’s evolution in art, The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud hints at shifts in her perspective ... Tsurita combines...boldness of emotion with captivating plots for her most powerful work. Each of these stories carries a feeling of a twist worthy of the Twilight Zone ... Tsurita still impacts anyone reading her work on a level so deep it seems she might well have been a pen pal.