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The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories

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The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories Volume 2 by Jiro Taniguchi, published by Fanfare / Ponent Mon

The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories

© Jiro Taniguchi

The Bottom Line

Master storyteller Jiro Taniguchi returns with a series of short stories about men, young and old, who embark on journeys of self-discovery. Whether the setting is the North American wilderness or a Tokyo rooming house, Taniguchi creates memorable stories that dazzle readers with their beautiful drawings and their introspective meditations on nature, life and death.

This is grown-up manga for mature readers, but it's not filled with violence and explicit sex. By "mature," I mean it's thoughtful, subtle and grounded in reality -- it's an accessible, artistic manga that even non-manga readers will enjoy.

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  • Elegantly executed drawings that capture the beauty of nature and complexity of human emotions
  • Thoughtful, artistic and accessible storytelling that will appeal to mature readers
  • Subtle and introspective short stories that feel complete, even in their brevity


  • Can be a bit text-heavy at times, so it's not for readers who crave pure action


  • Original Title: Toudo no Tabito (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Jiro Taniguchi
  • Publishers: Fanfare / Ponent Mon (US / UK)
    Shogakukan (Japan)
  • ISBN: 978-84-96427-33-4
  • Cover Price: $21.99 US / £ 11.99 UK
  • Age Rating: Not rated, but appropriate for OT – Older Teens, Age 16+ for mature themes
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
    • Seinen (Men's) Manga
    • Gekiga (Graphic Novels)
    • Action / Adventure
    • Drama
    • Slice of Life / Reality-based
  • US Publication Date: October 2007
    Japan Publication Date: 2005
  • Book Description: 240 pages, black and white illustrations, 2 pages of color illustrations
  • More Manga by Jiro Taniguchi:

Guide Review - The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories

From one of manga's master draftsmen and storytellers comes The Ice Wanderer and Other Stories, a collection of short stories, woven around themes of nature, memories, regret and acceptance. The first two are based on journals and an unfinished short story by Jack London. The other four stories are about men, young and old, country hunters and city artists, ocean explorers and mountain men, as they encounter nature in all its beauty and cruelty.

The first thing that will strike you about Jiro Taniguchi's artwork is his elegantly executed, detailed linework. Every mountain vista, every crashing ocean wave and country town is meticulously rendered and breathtaking to behold. You need look no further than the last story, Return to the Sea to see several scenes that will leave you slack-jawed in awe. Taniguchi's rendering of a great white whale diving evokes the vastness of the ocean and the majesty of this immense mammal in action. You can almost hear the sounds of the sea just by reading this story.

All of these stories were originally published in seinen or men's manga magazines. As a result, Taniguchi's storytelling has nostalgic wistfulness about the past and an adventurous spirit that's grounded with the risk of life and death consequences. This is mature manga for grown-up readers – but that doesn't mean that it's filled with blood, violence and explicit sex. By "mature," I mean it's thoughtful and subtle – artistic and literate storytelling for adult readers.

While this isn't my favorite Taniguchi manga (The Walking Man still wins, mostly because it's a more completely realized vision), The Ice Wanderer is still a beautifully drawn graphic novel, by any standards of the medium – an accessible, engaging manga that even non-manga readers can pick up and enjoy.

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