Like my previous post, The times of Botchan is by Jiro Taniguchi, but this time it is written by Natsuo Sekigawa. Botchan follows a snippet of the life of famous Japanese author Natsume Soseki, known for some of the classic literature that came out of Japan after the Meiji Restoration.
The story starts pretty slowly and, after all, this is about the life an author, not a mountain climber or mech pilot. It's hard to tell where the story is going to go from here, and in what ways the author will explore Soseki's life and to what end. The manga is 11 volumes in total, so there's plenty of time to go somewhere with it.
The art is, as expected of Taniguchi, excellent, but it's also quite different from his work in the other books I've read by him (A Zoo in Winter, Summit of the Gods). It has the same detail, but the lines are just a bit more cartoonish and the facial expressions on the characters tend to be less subtle, more animated. A friend familiar with the source material suggested that the novel Botchan, by Soseki, has a tone that fits in with this art. It's interesting to see Taniguchi's art change a bit to fit the content while still staying his own.
There's only one real problem with the book, and that's the price. Fanfare/Ponent Mon's releases aren't exactly cheap, but in the cases of A Zoo in Winter and Summit of the Gods, you're getting either a hardcover one-shot book or at least a thick volume. While Botchan is nicely bound, it's $17 for a single volume, making it a tough sell unless you're specifically a fan of Natsume Soseki and post-Restoration Japanese Literature. I happen to be that, but I'm not sure that the $17-per-volume price tag is worth it. Despite enjoying the book, I think the series will fall down the priority list in favor of some of Taniguchi's more obtainable work.