Young Magazine (2007-Present)
Written and Illustrated by Takeshi Okazaki
Summary: Yamada wakes up on an uninhabited island after falling off the cruise ship his class was on in the middle of the ocean during a thick fog. Alone, he begins building a raft and finding ways to survive until he discovers a female classmate has washed ashore as well. The two learn to survive together until one of their teachers washes ashore and generates animosity between the three of them. After nearly two weeks of living on this island Yamada is swept up by a fog only to regain consciousness while being rescued in the middle of the ocean 15 minutes after he had originally fallen overboard. What is this new reality Yamada finds himself in? No one believes him about the island he stayed upon with his classmate Imaise Chika and their teacher Shibata. But when Shibata shows up unscathed and with no memories of what happened it’s now up to Yamada to discover the truth for himself and find the missing Imaise.
Review: It’s refreshing to read a series that not only takes its story seriously, but also its characters. Instead of relying on plot conveniences or contrived drama between characters to drive the story Okazaki allows his characters to explore, converse and understand one another like human beings. While also not only are they reacting to events happening around them in the story, but in the cases of both Yamada and the new girl introduced in these chapters, Nori, their actions drive the narrative just as well and it’s something that I very much didn’t expect going into this.
There’s also a level of basic human understanding in the way time travel is presented in this series as well. Incorporating time slips and time paradoxes through the usage of fog that transports on to an island and in somehow inexplicably linked to the passing boats that Yamada used to get here twice in the story. Now I say basic human understanding because as a species who haven’t achieved time travel we can’t begin to fully understand what would actually happen if we were to experience it.
We can only make educated guesses and thus Yamada, when faced with questions about the situation, can only make his best educated guess as to what is really going on. And though he’s probably right because he’s the main character it’s nice to see even our main heroes not know fully what’s going on with them. However if I have one big criticism regarding these chapters its in chapter 20 when Yamada attempts to explain the fog.
If he is right then that is one really dense fog and I don’t mean its thickness. The explanation takes a lot of time to sit down and think and even then I don’t feel Okazaki does a good job at explaining what’s going on so what I hope to see happen in the future is to get a concrete explanation as to how the fog is bridging this island between timelines sort of scenario to the two boats that Yamada and friends took to get here. If we can just get that later down the line I’ll be happy.
Speaking of Yamada’s friends. These chapters see Yamada, after jumping off Chika’s mourning boat wash ashore with two girls in tow: Nori a fellow classmate who has an incredibly strong crush on Yamada and can’t get over the fact that due to this time slip there are currently two Yamada’s on the island (they fell back in time again when they went to the island) and Miki, Chika’s big sister who is out to save her.
Both girls are strong willed and surprisingly understanding of their situation. And when Nori presses her advances onto Yamada while knowing he likes Chika whenever Miki finds them Yamada simply explains the situation and she understands; like a normal person! It’s so refreshing. In a lesser manga as a the older sister she would have gotten angry and excused Yamada of cheating on her sister even though the two aren’t together. But that doesn’t happen here and better yet the two later have a heartfelt talk about Yamada’s feelings toward Chika and it’s a great scene.
Nori also gets a lot of character growth in these chapters and instead of being the jealous, will ruin everything, annoying character who hates that Yamada likes someone else the two also have a heartfelt talk about their feelings in a very straightforward manner. And though Nori doesn’t want to see Chika and Yamada together she doesn’t press the issue because there’s nothing she can do to change Yamada’s feelings. It’s sad yes but so adult compared to many other manga I have read in the past.
Let’s Lagoon 20 chapters in continues to be an underdog manga that has completely subverted my expectation of what I originally expected from it. And I’m very happy about that. I can only hope this attitude in writing from Okzaki continues as I press forward with this story because I want this whole experience to be worth it and right now it totally is.
Final Score: 4.5 Love Triangles out of 5
Derrick is a born and raised otaku with a love for comics, anime, manga and movies. The full list is pretty long, but that’s just the basics. Stories set in space are his bread and butter.
You can find more of his writing at IndieComix.net