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: With every set of chapters I read I become more and more convinced that Okazaki really does no where he’s going with all this time travel backdrop interlacing he’s doing while providing a compelling story featuring only a handful of characters while managing to keep them fresh, relatable and easy to root for. Last time I said I was worried by what Okazaki may be planning for Imaise, fear that she might be regressing into a tsundere type character when she very much doesn’t seem to be that type.
Well, it’s not a perfect storm let me tell you that. While her intentions for being angry are misaligned like so many instances in manga such as this, I do feel like the situation was to an extent handled with care. However, Imaise’s weakness as a character is continued to be exemplified here as once again she goes off on her own splitting the group apart yet again in the search for her. It’s this lack of responsibility towards those who’ve come so far to keep her safe that leads to most of the conflict for this set of chapters. It also just makes Imaise the weakest character so far in terms of growth. Granted she’s also had the least amount of contact with all these characters since the story began, but still.
Her feelings are addressed in chapter 40, the last chapter in this set, where we spend an entire chapter with Imaise describing her feelings through the series thus far. And how all of her misaligned anger stems from her frustration of having to rely solely on Yamada this entire time. Watching him disappear before her eyes only to be reunited with him immediately, yet he’s gone through all these adventures with Nori, someone she knows like Yamada but is ashamed to admit that she too has come to like him.
It’s an effective chapter that finally allows to understand why Imaise does what she does, and though it doesn’t 100% forgive everything she has done up until this point it at least gives us an inside view, a pinpoint origin to why this person is acting out in frustration. Unfortunately her acting out has caused so much trouble for the other characters that one does have to wonder: at one point does she not become worth saving anymore?
I identify with Yamada a lot so that answer to that for me would be never, however he constant running of and splitting people up has gotten annoying now and I would like for that to get corrected as soon as Yamada and Nori can meet back up with her.
The rest of the chapters brings us a lot of goodies for the story and the characters. Okazaki continues treating his cast as intelligent human beings who talk things through rather than blatantly ignoring one another – with the exception of Imaise – as Yamada, Shibata, Nori and Miki, and all-around everyone gets some heartfelt conversating in that dig even deeper into the psychology of the characters. I love how layered these guys are for being stranded on an island.
Nori gives a sincere and believable reason as to why she still pines after Yamada though knowing he will probably end up in Imaise’s arms, Miki steps up and calls Shibata out on his “I can barely walk” bullshit that he’s been playing all series and gets him to get up and move without much fight. Yamada takes Imaise’s anger for him on the chin and maturely keeps his eye on the prize: to get everyone off the island safely.
And while Imaise is out on her own she runs into the masked man again who reveals himself to be Yamada of the future, a Yamada who got off the island at one point but had to come back because Imaise’s history shows that she was helped along by a future version of Yamada when she was younger and that’s this Yamada’s present. It’s fascinating how many different layers of time travel are being dispensed into this manga version of LOST – and doing it a lot better – without it ever feeling hokey or unbelievable. Sure the mysteries concerning the island the fog continue to build but I have no doubts currently that I Okazaki doesn’t know where he’s going. I’m sure does and I’m patient enough to wait until we get there.
Finally, and speaking of the fog, it returns yet again as the island is split in two further separating the different factions of the series. Miki and Shibata are given the choice to choose between returning to the Ferry of their origins or continue to stay on the island to keep Imaise safe. Well after all the events that have transpired Miki decides its best she leave Imaise to Yamada and puts her little sister into the care of him and Nori. This leads to a very emotional scene as Miki and Shibata step into the fog and thus gone from the story for good – at least for now. I have no idea if they’ll actually return. I kind of hope they don’t because it would add to Imaise’s character I think and right now we definitely need more growth on her part.
Final Score: 4 Changes in the Island’s Moody Weather 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