Impression: Survival Manga

  • Mr A
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  • Posted On November 1st 2017

Imagine Bear Grylls in retiring and decided to detail his experience but wanted it to be approachable and entertaining. Well, this is what you'll get.

I like to read and watch stuff about people getting trap and overcoming the odds. Films like Dante’s Peak, Volcano and that Sylvester Stalone film Daylight. It actually made me remember that film as I though of writing this.

I’ve been meaning to write this. Its a Manga writen by Saito Takao, whom is famously known for Golgo 13. I’ve never read or watch the anime so I can’t comment on that. What I am interested is his survival manga aptly called Survival. Its an old series written around the late 70s so it does takes some adjustments in terms of artwork and context. But what it is basically is a about a boy who has to survive being alone after a massive earthquake hit Japan. From then on, it his journey toward meeting people and eventually reuniting with his family in the city.

Luckily, the series is being remade to fit the current audience. Currently under the name Survival – Shounen S no Kiroku. This post will cover both series and do a comparison and which of the two would be best to watch it from.

To start, the series based on a boy surviving in the middle of nowhere and has no means of communication to the outside world. We are thrust into his character and his slow transformation from a city boy to be that Bear Grylls of the shounen world. The author uses the boy as a means of narrating the harshness of the wilderness and teaches the reader how to survive and explains as well the though process being presented to them. The series isn’t a push over. It shows survival in its basic form. The flow of the story focuses on the boy getting himself in one situation from the other. Starting initial transformation in the mountain where it started it all and then pans toward is journey to the ruins of a city and communities he encounter. Each phase tells a different story and sort of gives us a picture of how different people coupe toward notion that lives they face now are the lives that they will face from then on. In the later parts, our protagonist stops being the central theme but a mere observer and us presenting a scenario to showcase them. In short, this manga runs like an edutainment that teaches its reader how to survive.

While I am not an outdorsman myself. I do watch some survival shows like Bear Grylls or Dual Survival. I can say that the author did his research on the survival aspect. It just one of things that amuses me, learning new things that you probably would not need but could be handy when you happen to be in that situation.

I don’t want to spoil the story. The old manga was just finished translation wise and I could say I am not fond on the ending. But I did enjoy everything about the series. This is the part I will draw comparisons between the old and the new one. While the new one is currently on-going. I think I can clearly speak for what it is currently presenting. The obvious one is that new artwork. More on the modern post 2010 look. That includes the body the fashion and the technology. The main character is more Shota than the old one. But that’s just my preferred taste really. The tune for the series is also different. It does keep that same flow from both series. But the old was played like a survival book. The new one still do, but it focuses more on the characters rather than telling you what is happening.

Then there is glaring thing that if you read the old and the new one that I really want to emphasize and that’s the way women are treated in the series. In the old one, women are portrayed as “useless baggage” perceived as burden to the men. To be specific later in the beginning, the main character encounters his first human, which is a girl who was drifted ashore from another island. In that story, the MC is doing all the burden of having to fend for himself while the woman only sits idly and eats. In the new one, the female lead is more active and help the main character with the survival work. The new one made it better since later on it will make the value of that character worthwhile, where as in the old one it was portrayed as some minor inconvenience. This isn’t the first time I encountered this. It seems female characters in the old manga I’ve read are treated such. I’m curious as to why in those time the Japanese aren’t very respectful toward women in fiction or perhaps in real life.

All in all, it is a series that people should give a time to check out. If you want to just get on with the story and complete it. The old one would be the right choice. Just be mindful on the way they treated their women. You can then check out the new one. The general story is the same, but despite that each have their own quirks that makes them still worth reading regardless. It may not be the author’s best work. But it does scratch the itch I have when it come to survival mangas. Too bad, this won’t seem to be getting any anime adaptation anytime soon.



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