From This Flame, an anthology by the mangaka Oumi Konomi, is a collection of eight stories published by Glacier Bay Books. The American publishing house has accustomed us (link) to proposals of great quality plucked from the magnum sea of dōjinshi (Japanese self-published comics) and Comitia (one of the largest and most important festivals of independent Japanese comics). This too is no exception, being both intensely fascinating and almost impenetrable. The stories are very short, sometimes as short as four or five pages, but more often than not effectively capture the contextual atmosphere of the narratives. Often events occur or supernatural beings enter the scene, but there is never a desire on Oumi’s part to tell what lies behind the veil of the otherworldly: a sort of mysticism permeates the visions that are proposed to the reader, given above all by Oumi’s line, which alternates between a painstaking delineation of details thanks to the dense hatching and a simplification of character design emphasised by the direction. The latter, in fact, is always very participative and seeks to involve the reader above all emotionally, despite the fact that Oumi almost always uses only a few panels per page and adopts, although the mystery that often surrounds the plot, a clear and recognisable storytelling. More unique than the others, however, is the story “The God Beyond the Mountains”, the most successful of the collection, in which a visual narrative is constructed that goes from splash page to splash page and develops a mature, adult mythological tale. From This Flame is an interesting anthology that will probably appeal to a niche audience that already loves independent comics, but those who want to explore the meanderings of this world will find themselves faced with a stimulating and excellent production.
A collection of eight unique stories published by Glacier Bay Books.