Recap : Miki breaks out of a house through a third floor window. She falls into the grass below and loses consciousness. As this happens, she begins thinking back to the events of the beginning of the year.
Miki: I don’t know what my plan was […]. I don’t even know if I had a plan at all. All that mattered was getting away from the people in that room. And if that meant broken bones or a concussion…or something a whole lot worse…well…that was a risk I was willing to take.
The various ellipses, by the way, are a result of the various caption breaks, where commas and dashes would look awkward. I’ve reproduced them here, even if they look awkward outside their boxes.
We begin the story with the fall that gives the work its title. We don’t know who the girl is—although we can guess, given the cover—and we don’t know what she’s escaping from. All we know is that she’s willing to risk her life for something–she’s not a passive bystander. She has agency, and a considerable part of the book deals with the ways she fights to maintain that agency, even to the point of taking it from others.
Aside from that, I don’t have much to say about the story just yet, so let’s move on to the storytelling.
One of the most distinctive things about Crilley’s writing here is how it at times feels like an illustrated book rather than a comic. Narrated captions aren’t new to comic books, but Miki’s narration will be a constant presence in the book, and the perspective will never shift away from her, making it feel uncommonly personal. Similarly, the book is singular in the way it allows Miki (incidentally, her name is written 美樹 in Kanji, which can be translated roughly as “beautiful tree”) copious scenes where she’s alone, which is something comic books generally aren’t suited for. And yet, the book never feels decompressed, and it doesn’t allow itself to fall into telling and not showing.
The art, which consists solely of pencils—think Adam Warren’s Empowered, except with no tounge-in-cheek smut–is lovely. We don’t get to see much of it here, but what we do see is, I think, fantastic–especially when it comes to panel layouts and storytelling.
Also, each book is structure in a way that reminds me of TV shows, with a teaser scene, followed by the title page, a two-page shot of a (I think) Fukuyama field, in the season each book represents—volume 1 is spring, volume 2 is summer, etc. It serves to highlight what has always been one of Crilley’s strenghts: a fantastic sense of location. His previous work, Akiko, showcased his abilities to create alien worlds, but he’s just as good at replicating a real place.
So yeah. In the next few pages we get to meet Miki properly, and the story really begins.