The Walking Man

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Yes, I realize it’s been over a month since my last post. I’m not going to say anything in the realm of cute schtick, like “I was busy walking.” I did do more walking than reviewing, obviously. But mostly, I’ve been busy with the new house.

Which is how the manga sets up the series; a couple settling into their new home.

Let’s talk about art-heavy manga. If you want a manga to relax to, then look for manga like this: Light on conflict, gorgeous scenery, published by Fanfare/Potent Mon. Like this manga.¬†Like this manga.

The problem with The Walking Man, and I loathe to type that because there’s nary any at all, is that it’s boring. Now, if I may. I feel relaxed reading The Walking Man. Very soothing. But that’s it, and I wouldn’t read it for fun. I read funny things when I’m bored. I’d give this to someone on the edge. It would remind them not to stress, to take things slow, and maybe get a dog.

Here’s a chapter: The Long Trail. The lead, who I don’t think is named, is walking. He spots an older man with a cane, also walking. The lead decides to follow him. When a train passing through separates them, the lead discovers the man with the cane paused until the train went by. Eventually, the older man fully stops, and they walk side-by-side. No dialogue is uttered.

See, The Walking Man is unique in the manga world, but that’s because it’s the only ASMR manga, autonomous sensory meridian response. The dude’s just walking, and it’s hecka soothing, brah.

To be fair, I’m making it sound duller than it is. One chapter has him talk to a bird-watcher! One has him lay beneath the shade of a tree! The last chapter, “Ten Years Later,” seems to be a prologue, as the lead explains the root of his walking obsession: He got off the train one stop before his office one day. Couldn’t expect much.

And it’s great. Fantastic. But it’s not my flavor. You know Aria? That’s also a very low-conflict manga. But it does have the constant struggle of the lead trying to become a full gondolier. So you keep reading because she hasn’t succeeded in her goal, and it has atmosphere, humor, and developed characters. Atmosphere is 95% of The Walking Man, but without humor or developed characters, it’s therapeutic in its most practical purpose.

But the manga is self-contained, so it comes and goes. And it’s wonderful, because it doesn’t answer any questions, so you don’t feel obligated to ask. And it’s somewhat rare, so good luck with…

Okay. I’m asking. Why is he never at work? Is he sort of slow? Is he living on disability? Why isn’t he much thinner, considering all the walking he does? Why does he meet so many people that he walks with silently? Why hasn’t anyone reacted negatively towards his presence? What does he do to relax? I mean, he does this all the time, so doesn’t walking get boring eventually? ¬†That’s why I took a month off from reviewing; I needed to renew my interest in it.

If you can find The Walking Man, take a stroll with it. It’s one of a kind. If not, then just take a stroll in real life. Maybe you’ll meet a snail or something.