BREATHE DEEPLY manga by Yamaaki Doton

BREATHE DEEPLY is a 470+ page manga published by One Peace Books, created by husband and wife team Doton Yamaaki. It retains the original Japanese layout of right-to-left reading.

The back of the book explains … “A battle ensues over life and death, machines or clones, create synthetic hearts or grow them? Two boys, Sei and Oishi, fall madly in love for Yuko. Her loss wreaks havoc in their young lives as relentless memories cease to fade. As a result their tender hearts are dedicated to a dream that no one will ever suffer their excruciating pain again. But, is what they had thought been a lie? Is there still a chance that their suffering may end? Will mercy and love prevail?”

At the heart of the matter (no pun intended) is that this manga explores the debate between stem-cell research versus organ donation, as a possible solution to how the human race can attempt to improve or rescue those that require further medical assistance.

The artwork is superb, rarely do you see grey-tones delivered with stunning clarity and depth. Story-wise, this is as serious, complex and mature as anything you are likely to ever read in the medium. The story deals with numerous flashbacks, and this is also artistically delivered with great subtleness.

Much respect must also be paid to the English translation by Glenn Anderson, providing some heart-felt, memorable and quotable lines. The manga also has a glossary of medical-specific and Japanese terms, at the back of the book.

My only detraction is that the finale probably will not satisfy some, and there were times when it took high amounts of concentration to follow the actions and motives of certain characters, in a story that may just test the morals of many readers.

Despite this, I offer my highest recommendation for Breathe Deeply, for it a piece of manga that propels the medium to a greater height and stands as a wonderful example of what graphic novels can achieve.

score: 8 out of 10.


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