Red Colored Elegy

Red Colored Elegy

First English edition of Red Colored Elegy as published by Drawn and Quarterly
(Sekishoku Erejii)
Genre Romance
Written by Seiichi Hayashi
Published by Shogakukan
English publisher
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Garo
Published 1970–1971
Volumes 1
Original video animation
Directed by Seiichi Hayashi
Studio Toei Animation
Released June 21, 2007

Red Colored Elegy (Japanese: 赤色エレジー Hepburn: Sekishoku Erejii) is a one volume Japanese manga written and illustrated by Seiichi Hayashi. The manga was serialized in manga magazine, Garo from 1970-1971. It is licensed in North America by Drawn and Quarterly, which released the manga on July 8, 2008. It was adapted into an original video animation by Toei Animation on June 21, 2007.



Red Colored Elegy is written and illustrated by Seiichi Hayashi. The manga was serialized in manga magazine, Garo from 1970 to 1971.[1] Shogakukan published the manga in 1970/1971.[2][3] It was republished on July 15, 2000.[4] The manga is licensed in North America by Drawn and Quarterly,[3] which released the manga on July 8, 2008.[5]


An eponymous single, performed by Morio Agata, was released on April 25, 1972 and peak ranked 7th in Oricon singles charts with more than 290,000 copies sold.[6]


An original video animation was created for Red Colored Elegy by Toei Animation on June 21, 2007.[7] The OVA was directed by Seiichi Hayashi and its music was directed by Morio Agata.[7] Music was composed by Keiichi Suzuki and Agata's single for the OVA was played by Matiko Hamada.[7]


In a 2008 poll, Red Colored Elegy was voted Best "Artsy/Quirky",[8] and 7th best new classic or reissued manga.[9] Publishers Weekly named Red Colored Elegy as the third best manga of 2008.[10] In 2009, the manga was nominated for the Harvey Award in the Best American Edition of Foreign Material category.[11] Red Colored Elegy was selected as part of Paul Gravett's list of "PG Rated Manga".[12]

The Comics Reporter's David Welsh commends the manga artist's approach to the story, saying "Hayashi's approach is very restrained and conscientious, particularly in its ability to convey the unspoken. Since communication is the crux of Ichiro and Sachiko's problems, the ability to convey the inability to express is essential."[13] Another The Comics Reporter review comments on how "very simple cartooning can be taken in bold new directions through something other than a prodigious display of old-school craft."[14] The Japan Times's David Cozy commends Hayashi's art, commenting "Hayashi shows us Ichiro struggling, but it is the spatters that bring the struggle home."[15] The comics artist and cartoonist Eddie Campbell described it as a good read, "a long strip cartoon about the stuff of life" and back to 1971 context would have been an inspirational work. He also replied to a reviewer complaining not able to make sense of it by linking the Red Colored Elegy and the '60s French New Wave cinema movement and describing today's reader as accustomed to linear read, concluding by if readers are occasionally confused then "welcome to 1970".[16] Chris Lanier expressed a similar view in the January 2009 issue of The Believer describing Hayashi's work as an attempt to import "the disjunctive innovations of French new-wave cinema to the comics page" resulting "a condensed visual poetry that still feels avant-garde nearly forty years later".[17] Red Colored Elegy was reviewed in issue #292 of The Comics Journal by Bill Randall,[18] who provided additional notes on his blog and expressed his disappointment on the online reviews of what he considers as "one of the most important of all manga translated in English".[19] Another contributor of the Comics Journal, Adam Stephanides in an earlier review of the Japanese edition described the storytelling as apparently simple at first but actually quite complex and elliptical, with a great deal left unsaid making a rapprochement with comics artist Jaime Hernandez's works, and compared Red Colored Elegy with the '70s American underground comix artists outputs, stating that no underground artist was doing anything nearly as ambitious as this at the time.[20] However he criticized Drawn and Quarterly's edition for "rearranging the panels on each page so that the page (and the book) reads left-to-right, but not flipping the original panels."[21] Tom Devlin, creative director at Drawn & Quarterly, answered that it was done so to reach the widest audience as possible, making a parallel with putting subtitles on a foreign film, clearly altering the work and yet the only way for many to access it.[21] Jason Thompson's appendix to Manga: The Complete Guide compares Red Colored Elegy with Craig Thompson's Blankets through the shared theme of "a tale of young love and despair".[22] He also commends "Hayashi’s almost shapeless human figures convey emotion and vulnerability in every line".[22]

Red Colored Elegy OVA was recommended by the jury at the 2007 Japan Media Arts Festival in the animation division.[23]


  1. Randall, Bill (July 5, 2008). "Preview: Red Colored Elegy". Bill Randall. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  2. 赤色エレジー / 1 (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  3. 1 2 "Red Colored Elegy". Drawn and Quarterly. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  4. 赤色エレジー (in Japanese). Shogakukan. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  5. "Red Colored Elegy (Hardcover)". Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  6. エレジー(哀歌)とバラードの違いとは? (in Japanese). Oricon. February 9, 2007. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
  7. 1 2 3 (画ニメ)林静一+あがた森魚: 赤色エレジー (in Japanese). Toei Animation. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  8. Aoki, Deb. "2008 Best New Manga". Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  9. Aoki, Deb. "2008 Readers Poll: Best New Classic or Reissued Manga". Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  10. Ming Cha, Kai (March 1, 2009). "Top 10 Manga for 2008". Publishers Weekly. Archived from the original on March 27, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  11. "Red Colored Elegy, Solanin, Witchblade Get Harvey Nods". Anime News Network. June 30, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  12. Gravett, Paul (October 26, 2008). "Discovering Manga: PG Rated Manga". Paul Gravett. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  13. Welsh, David (September 8, 2008). "Flipped!: David Welsh on Red Colored Elegy". The Comics Reporter. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  14. "Red Colored Elegy". The Comics Reporter. May 29, 2008. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  15. Cozy, David (November 30, 2008). "Drawing new life out of an old story". The Japan Times. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  16. Campbell, Eddie (August 27, 2008). "The Fate of the Artist". Eddie Campbell. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  17. Lanier, Chris (January 2009). "The Believer - Seiichi Hayashi's Red Colored Elegy". The Believer. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  18. "The Comics Journal #292". Fantagraphics Books. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  19. Randall, Bill (January 15, 2009). "Red-Colored Elegy notes". Bill Randall. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  20. Stephanides, Adam (May 18, 2004). "Tha manga corner: Seiichi Hayashi". Adam Stephanides. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  21. 1 2 Stephanides, Adam (July 12, 2008). "A Note On Drawn & Quarterly's Edition Of Red Colored Elegy". Adam Stephanides. Retrieved September 12, 2009.
  22. 1 2 Thompson, Jason (November 17, 2009). "365 Days of Manga, Day 63: Red Colored Elegy". Suduvu. Retrieved 2009-11-18.
  23. "2007 Japan Media Arts Festival Jury Recommends Works". Anime News Network. December 25, 2007. Retrieved September 11, 2009.
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