The Sky is Blue with a Single Cloud

Translation: Ryan Holmberg


First, I was fascinated by the character of Kuniko Tsurita – one of the first women in the world of alternative manga, which until the 1980s was a world of men: men were publishers, authors, critics, and readers. Tsuruta was lucky and managed to get into the mega-elite environment centered around Garo magazine, where she published most of her work. And despite all this, despite the powerful sexism in the industry and the expectations of how a woman should write and draw, she managed to create in her own way. And there lies the strength of her work.

I admit that at the beginning I didn’t quite know how to take her stories, especially from the beginning of her career (the works in the volume are arranged chronologically). The introduction helped me a lot – it breaks down some of them into prime factors and shows the currents that were more widely present in the world of manga at that time. Tsurita is inspired by kashihon manga from the early 1960s, the works of Osamu Tezuka, Dostoyevsky, animation, but also European art, radical feminism and Marxism. Her work is surreal, sometimes dark, and defies conventions – for example, the gender of the person the titlular manga is about is unknown.

Tsurita died at the age of 37 from lupus erythematosus. She created until the end, although in the last years of her life she did not manage to publish much. The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud is a great anthology of mangaka work that paved the way for women in the industry. It is a pity that we had to wait so long for the translation of her works.


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