Is Love The Answer? became the English-translated debut of Isaki Uta when it debuted earlier this year, a touching manga with a nuanced exploration of asexuality and aromanticism. But now Uta and Irorodori Comics are taking to crowdfunding to bring more of their work to English audiences—and blurring the line between surrealist genre themes and explorations of gender identity and sexuality.
Isaki Uta: The Lost and Found Collection—already two-thirds of the way funded a couple of days into its Kickstarter campaign—collects four of Uta’s prior doujinshi and translates them into English officially for the first time. Each of the stories in the collection play with the intimacy of relationships in multiple manners, from a young woman navigating a romantic relationship with an asexual man, to the shared traumatic upbringing of siblings, while also weaving in fantastical genre elements to discuss themes of gender expression, queerness, and othering.
One of those stories, Mermaid in the Bottle, explores both, as young siblings Takeru and Ayumi discover something supernatural at the heart of their controlling mother’s beauty company—and navigate their own complicated relationship with their family and identity. Check out a small preview of the manga—Uta’s actual first self-published work—below!
“Isaki Uta’s works are gems in the world of Japanese LGBTQ＋ comics,” Irodori Comics’ translator ITSUKI said in a comment provided via press release. “The relationships between characters aren’t cookie cutter and show the rawness and intensity of discovering one’s sexuality and gender identity. It makes queer individuals like myself feel seen and that these kinds of stories are worth telling.”
Head on over to Kickstarter to see more from the anthology—which features four manga, Mermaid in the Bottle, Leapers, Mine-kun is Asexual, and Silkscreen—as well as back digital and physical copies of the collection before the campaign comes to a close on November 2.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.