Fumio Obata’s Debut Graphic Novel “Just So Happens” Challenges the Idea of ‘Home’

In Just So Happens, which is Fumio Obata’s debut graphic novel, he challenges the idea of “home is where your heart is” and examines the pros and cons of being an outsider with his main heroine, Yumiko.

Yumiko is running from her past in Japan and thinks she has it made. She’s living in London and life is good—she’s got a great job, a wonderful boyfriend—plus, her family in Japan is too far away to have any impact on the lifestyle she chooses. However, her orderly world is turned on its head when her brother calls her with bad news: their father passed away recently in a mountaineering accident. Once Yumiko arrives in Toyko, she finds herself immersed in the traditional Japanese rituals surrounding life and death. She must also confront her past and make a choice about where her home, and her heart, truly lies.

Thanks to Obata’s delicate but powerful illustrations and the wondrous way in which he weaves his tale, readers will be sucked into Yumiko’s journey. Dignified and nuanced, Just So Happens is a spectacular page-turner that shows off both Obata’s art and his writing.