A Zoo In Winter (original title 冬の動物園) is a semi-autobiographical manga by Jiro Taniguchi, which was published in Big Comic Original from 2005 to 2007.
Kyoto, 1966. Hamaguchi is an 18-year-old whose dreams to become a graphic artist can't find fulfilment in his workaday job as an office drone for a clothing wholesaler. He moves to Tokyo and, thanks to a friend, gets a job as a famous mangaka's assistant. Though the job is demanding and the hours are impossible, especially as deadlines near, he feels he's found his calling.
He starts to work on his own manga with what little free time he has, but lacks the self-confidence to get very far. One day he's introduced to a pretty young girl of fragile health whom he's asked to walk around on those days she can get out of the hospital. With her encouragements and her input, he finds the focus to complete his manga and submit it to a publishing company. However, her deteriorating condition prevents him from acting out on his growing love for her.
Not to be confused with the play/film The Lion in Winter.
A Zoo in Winter contains examples of:
- Ill Girl: She doesn't get better, either. Her ultimate fate remains undisclosed.
- The '60s: The story takes place between 1966 and 1968 and depicts Tokyo's growing counterculture.
- Tokyo Is the Center of the Universe: When you're a mangaka wannabe, it pretty much is.