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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tokyo Year Zero, US and UK

US design by John Gall

This first book in a planned trilogy of crime novels receives a nice review in the Guardian, in which it's called "a thriller that is both a gory psychological whodunit and a meditation on the origins of modern Japan. The result is something dark and bloody, the tone lying somewhere between Kurosawa's Macbeth and the caricatures of the more violent manga cartoons."

That said, it's the US cover that captures the crime vibe and hits the right notes. And the type, the treatment of the O in "zero", the stamp and the paper they're all on look very time-appropriate to me (the action of the book takes place in 1946).

While the destruction of Japan figures prominently in the book, the UK cover makes this look more like a historical novel than anything else:


Ian S. said...

The Us version has that Jap-noir feeling, so it works on that level.

There is something bold, poster-like (tactile quality) and graphically engaging about it.

I agree about the UK cover. Looks like an old Penguin title about hard times in Japan.

Overall the US cover has a strong shelf presence and speaks to the content. But it heavily relies on literal tie-ins and perhaps could have explored a more conceptual idea. Perhaps it would not be necessary...

Anonymous said...

It's John Gall's.

reader said...

I would pick up the US cover and pass by the UK