The opening book of this series saw young Mitsu starting out in his job as a window washer, the same job his dad was doing five years earlier when he died. In Mitsu's world, the Earth has been abandoned by humans in order to turn it into a nature preserve; everyone lives in orbiting housing in space. It is a crowded place to live, particularly on the lower levels where Mitsu and other less wealthy people must stay.
Mitsu is the new kid at work, and he feels he can never begin to live up to the image of his father. But he does the best he can, and his impulsive kindness begins to win him the respect and friendship of his co-workers - most of them, anyway. In this second volume, we learn more about the future world where Mitsu lives, and we gain insight into the social situation of the Saturn Apartments. An element of mystery is introduced, thanks to some cryptic comments a character makes about the true nature of the situation on Earth.
This is a quiet, contemplative series that spends a lot of time focusing on the characters and their relationships with each other. There is a sense of something larger that is building as the the books progress, but the smaller stories that are told along the way are thoughtful and compelling. I particularly enjoy the subtle interactions among the characters that reveal very interesting things about them. The artwork is in many ways typical of manga, but there is great attention placed on illustrating the unusual setting, particularly the architecture, that really brings the story to life. I continue to enjoy this series, and I look forward to reading volume 3.
Saturn Apartments, Volume 2 by Hisae Iwaoka (Viz Media, 2006)