The Umpteen Millionaire Club: Discussion Questions for Nijigahara Holograph

Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano

[The Umpteen Millionaire Club is our series which puts forth book club discussion questions for Fantagraphics titles. The Comics Journal interns Keith Barbalato, Lucy Kiester, and Daniel Johnson put together this set of questions. Note that this is intended for those who have read the book and may contain spoilers. – Ed.]

Inio Asano's Nijigahara Holograph cuts back and forth between two timelines, filling in details bit by bit: events ripple throughout a town and take their toll for years to come, resulting in violence and sexual guilt. A foreboding force circulates among a community following a woman's suicide. A group of students put a classmate, Arié, into a coma. As troubled new student Amahiko attempts to make friends at school, his life intertwines with the cycle of assault and death.

1. What role does duality play in this book?

2. Who or what are the butterflies?

3. What happens when characters enter the tunnel? What does the tunnel represent?

4. Who or what is the "monster" in the tunnel?

5. Characters reflect on how they seem to have a predetermined role, or destiny. Do the characters have control over what they do?

6. What does Amahiko's portrait of himself in 10 years mean?

7. Read the story of the Kudan again. We have two sets of twins in this story. Who is the Kudan? Is there more than one?

8.Discuss the significance of "niji" in "nijigahara." How does the dual meanings affect how you view the place?

9. Why does Amahiko drop his half of the necklace down the storm drain?

10. What is the significance of the two halves of the necklace coming together?

11. What happens when Amahiko opens the box?

12. What is the significance of the word "holograph" in the title?

13. In what genre or genres would you place this book?

14. How would you describe the narrative structure?

15. What comics/art techniques does Asano use to tell the story?