CHANGE IS THE CONSTANT IN KEN NIIMURA’S HENSHIN
Short story collection explores life
in modern Tokyo
Ken Niimura, artist on the acclaimed and award-winning graphic novel I KILL GIANTS (written by Joe Kelly), returns with HENSHIN. The short stories of HENSHIN present a unique vision of Japanese life, presented in English for the first time by Image Comics in January.
“Henshin” means "transformation" in Japanese, and in all 13 stories, Niimura shows how choices and events — whether momentous or seemingly insignificant — can change the lives of his protagonists.
“A transformation or a change is the most basic premise for a story,” said Niimura. “That's why Henshin is about people in the process of change. I also chose this title hoping that I would also change for the better in the process of creation and improve my craft.”
Niimura’s imaginative storytelling finds its way into the emotional lives of his characters, from a kid with peculiar powers to a lonely girl finding her way in the big city to a salaryman out on the town.
“Henshin is similar to a restaurant,” Niimura said of the collection. “I selected the ingredients for these stories from all the things I saw during my life in 2013 in Tokyo. I've tried to keep the natural flavor of each of these ingredients, sometimes adding some spices when needed. I hope you like the resulting menu, somewhere between comical, moving and fun.”
For readers who can’t wait to sample Niimura’s graphic feast, the entirety of one of HENSHIN’s stories, “Victory Sign,” is available to download.
HENSHIN is a Japanese-format graphic novel, which reads right-to-left. It will be in comic book stores on January 14 and in bookstores on January 27.