Billy Chengary, & Kento Matsunami
Three high school outcasts stick up for each other through good times and bad: one clashes with his Japanese father, one is being bullied because he is gay, and one is either delusional . . . or haunted.
Another Yesterday interweaves the plotlines of three troubled teenagers. Akira has been uprooted and transplanted to a new high school. He is frustrated by the move, and his frustration has widened a rift between him and his father Takashi. Once the two were close: they loved playing hanetsuki outdoors, and Akira was an apt pupil of Takashi’s Japanese culture. But lately, Akira has been drawing and painting — which Takashi rejects. Takashi wants the best for his son, and does not view becoming an “artist” as a career option. As their battle festers, Akira pushes away his father’s culture. His mother Hiroko has the rare gift of making people feel valued, and her favorite saying is, “Kindness is the answer. Always.” She alone can negotiate a truce between Akira and Takashi, but a sudden, unanticipated event will soon upend the fragile peace.
The second plotline concerns Akira’s new friend Scott, who is bullied at school because he is gay. However, Scott’s religious parents don’t know, and Scott has reached the point where he can no longer live a lie. He confers with Akira and studies internet sites in which users share how they came out to their families. Step by step, Scott rallies courage for his moment of reckoning. Meanwhile, his problem with the bullies is not going away.
Akira’s other new friend Elizabeth commands the third plotline. Elizabeth is attractive, intelligent, and appealing, but she is also a social pariah: other students consider her “weird” and she eats alone in the cafeteria. Akira is drawn to her instantly (like him, she has a flair for art) and he is baffled by all the dissonance. Scott fills in the blanks: Elizabeth too often talks out loud to herself and is prone to panic attacks. As Akira grows closer to her, he learns she thinks a spirit somehow wants something from her. Is there substance behind her strange claim?
None of the three protagonists can solve his/her problems alone. But with the help of the others, each begins to turn a tough corner.
Lucía Rodriguez-Nelson & Kento Matsunami