Prologue – Gymnopédies – is a surprising little manga collection that I found on a whim while looking for more work by Natsujikei Miyazaki. It is part of a project that seeks to collaborate between manga and music, a novel concept. The music that inspired this collection is Gymnopédies by Erik Satie. Six lesser-known mangakas were asked to create a short one-shot manga that is inspired by the titular track.
Gymnopédies is a soft piano track that to me elicited a dreamy yet somber feeling. I felt that most of the manga fit the theme of the music well, and I enjoyed reading it while listening to the track in the background. Some of the manga didn’t contain a single line of text or dialogue, such as in Gentle Water and A Certain Student Gymnopedies, yet both pieces had some of the greatest impacts on the reading experience.
The art styles varied wildly but each had a degree of charm, I was particularly impressed with the art styles of Yoso Machi and Murai. For a Quiet Night’s Sleep was by far my favorite and it was the most heartfelt of the entire collection. The art was beautiful and the story was really touching. I didn’t care much for Déjà vu nor Slowly, as if in pain, though the latter at least had a little bit of humor.
In all, this was an obscure and charming little collection that makes for a relaxing read that can be completed it one sitting. It is highly recommended to read it while listening to the accompanying track, as it is the way it is intended to be read and it really adds to the reading experience.