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When I reached the end of the first volume of Emanon and learned there was going to be second, my first thought was “there’s no way that it will be anywhere near as good as this one was.” And unfortunately, I was right.
This volume starts out with a full-color story which is absolutely gorgeous. I am a huge fan of Kenji Tsuruta’s artwork. It feels a bit like a shojo manga style with the flowing lines and characters with elongated bodies and limbs that are a trademark of comics targeting that audience, even though Emanon is published in Monthly Comics Ryu, a magazine targeted at men over 30, which is old even for the seinen demographic. The fully painted art, which appears to be watercolor, has a sort of dreamlike feel to it that compliments the fantastical story about the mundane life of a three-billion-year-old woman.
The problem with Emanon Wanderer is that the story doesn’t really offer anything that readers wouldn’t have gotten out of the first volume, and only gives hints at a larger story. There’s a reason Wallace Shawn and Andre Gregory never made My Dessert with Andre.
A lot of it feels rehashed from the first novel. Emanon meets a young boy and they have a mostly esoteric conversation about the Kappa, a legendary Japanese cryptid. The pair goes to take a bath together and runs into a friend of Emanon who isn’t introduced or explained but appears to be a time traveler of some sort, telling Emanon to quit smoking because in “her era” you’ll need ID to buy cigarettes, and that they’ll meet again in the ‘90s.
Emanon also mentions having a twin brother in this life, which becomes the focus of the second story in the book as Emanon tries to understand why, after billions of years, she suddenly has a sibling.
While this is only the first part of the story which will unfold over two more volumes, it still feels very unfulfilling. We get a lot of questions and no answers, but we also don’t get any compelling reasons to stick around and find out how those questions are resolved. There’s not enough information to speculate on Emanon and her brother’s purpose or the origins of her friend from the future, and no hint that the answers will be particularly compelling or impactful, leaving me wondering why I should pick up the next volume.
I don’t envy having to follow up such a well-done and touching comic as Memories of Emanon, and it’s clear it was no simple task. Unfortunately, the story here fails to entice the reader to stick around to see the conclusion. The first volume was strong enough that readers may slog through this one in the hopes that the second story ends strong in future volumes, but taken on its own, Emanon Wanderer Part One is a pretty big let-down.
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