Giacomo Foscali review

Apr 14, 2021
An ancient roman statue handed down from generation to generation tied to the memories of an old man. Now living abroad, he can't manage to escape from his childhood and he can't forget about Andrea, a young man from the slums who left him to join the Italian resistance movement and most likely died in battle.

Giacomo Foscari comes from a middle-class family, which means he had an easy access to culture and lived a troubleless life, even during WWII which didn't affect his lifestyle much even though his family lost the majority of its wealth. The only thing he knows about poverty, he knows it because of Andreas, a kid who used to bully him but whose friendship will soon become his biggest treasure, until what was bound to happen happened…

Now living in Japan as an history teacher, Giacomo Foscari has chosen to cut all ties with his native country but his past will come facing him again when he meets with Shisuke Koga, a waiter who strongly reminds him of Andrea and with who he will try to get closer as the story develops.

What I particularly like about the presentation of this manga is the idea of objects as memento which makes Giacomo remember about parts of his life he uncounsciously locked away and it craftily switches between the present and the past to make the character deeper and interesting to follow. There's of course the statue of Mercurius I mentioned in the beginning which is the central object of this story, there's still some mysteries around it but it seems to embody Giacomo's vision of a perfect beauty and it's tied to both Andrea and Shusuke for whom he feels a sort of platonic attraction. There's also a story about a pen he gave to Andrea before he left to the War or the songs of Maria Callas which will inevitably also have an effect on him.

In the midst of all of this, Giacomo also learns about some of Japan's traditions such as going out to look at the cherry blossoms or observing the birds, it has a very strong Taniguchi-esque feeling, being both realistic and contemplative. It offers a great outlook on nature and on arts in general which are also a big component in the life of Giacomo Foscari.

The only thing keeping me from being fully satisfied is that it has been left on-hold since 2012 after the release of the first volume (apparently to wrap up Thermae Romae which was running at the same time) and there has been no news of an eventual continuation since then. The chances of it getting the conclusion it deserves after all these years is low and it definitely did have a lot more things to tell than what is shown in this first volume.


Giacomo Foscali
Giacomo Foscali
Autor Yamazaki, Mari