A Distant Neighborhood
Some years ago, I had the chance to read the manga A Distant Neighborhood (遥かな町へ); one of the most famous works of Jiro Taniguchi. It is regarded by readers and critics as an excellent manga aimed for adults. It didn’t disappointed me one bit. It is a manga with very meticulous drawings and a wonderful and witty story that will make you think about your own past, your own life.
The story is about a 40-year-old-ish businessman who involuntarily travels in time, going back to his own 14-year-old self but keeping all his 40-year-old memories. He goes back to his life in high school in post-war Japan (to those of you who are interested in WWII stuff, the atmosphere and insight on Japanese society from post-war Japan can’t be better, as Jiro Taniguchi lived it himself) but with the mind of an adult male. From that moment on, he’ll try to fix the things that he couldn’t fix back in the day. What would you do if you had to go back again to being 14 but with the knowledge and mindset you have today?
After reading it, the conclusion, or the message that I think Taniguchi wants to get across is that the only things that we really regret in life are the things that we don’t do.
Finally, I would like to highlight a small detail. When the main character sees himself traveling in time, there is a butterfly, as a reminder of the Chaos Theory. There are other details in the story that make you think Jiro Taniguchi had the Chaos Theory present when he was writing the story.