"F" by Imai Arata, translated by Ryan Holmberg, published by Glacier Bay Books / ISBN 9781953629098 / 224-page paperback with half-dustjacket, 5.75 × 8.25 inches
“F imagines Fukushima as a kind of Syria in the fallout of the 3.11 disaster, and follows a British journalist’s infiltration of the region while brutal foreign forces strike into the heart of the remnants of northern Japan.”
The tsunami and nuclear meltdowns of 2011 seem like yesterday. Wreckage still litters Japan’s coastline. Fukushima’s fields are piled high with contaminated soil. Tohoku, northern Japan, furious about how they have been treated by Tokyo, has seceded from the union. The rebels, known as the Nihonmatsu Front, are battling the more heavily armed Japanese government along the southern border of Fukushima. Meanwhile, they are being overwhelmed internally by a faction who call themselves the State of F. Composed of radicalized Tohoku natives and foreign guerrillas, the black-clad F knows only absolute obedience and cutthroat terror.
Though virtually unknown in its home country, Imai Arata’s F is the edgiest work of manga made in the wake of the 2011 disasters. Crossing splintery drawings of the devastations wrought by the tsunami and meltdowns with images sourced from Islamic State propaganda from the Middle East, F trespasses upon many taboos regarding political expression and etiquette in Japan. Originally self-published and sold at avant-garde art exhibitions, Imai’s F is truly underground. It deserves to become a classic.