12-09-09, 5:48 AM
Hiroki Endo's Tanpenshu - Platform (of love that can never be)
Beautiful but depressing -- Endo's art, in a nutshell.
Last night/this morning, I couldn't get to sleep. I just lay there because images of the manga I'd read earlier kept jumping to the front of my mind. The manga in question is called 'Hiroki Endo's Tanpenshu' - the short stories of Mr. Endo.
Was it an image of a girl getting her head blown off as she tried to protect someone? No. Was it an image from the story of a school girl's descent into insanity? No. Instead, the images in question were from the final (two chapter) story, called 'Platform' - a story of a love that was doomed from the start.
Imagine this scenario: as a child, you see a girl at your local train station holding the hand of her mother. You fall in love at first sight, not knowing the mother of the girl is the woman of your father - a yakuza boss. As a child, you hangout with and get to know this girl because of her mother's relationship with your father.
...But the girl's mother dies, leaving the care of her daughter to your father. Your father pays for her keep and, as she gets older, uses her for sex... meaning the daughter basically ended up replacing the mother.
As a result of this, your relationship with the girl sours. She, who once told you she didn't want to be like her mother and wanted to be equal to men, changes, and you're full of jealousy and anger yourself, which makes your relationship full of nothing but pain. You hate yourself for being too weak to do anything.
How would you deal with such a situation? Really, I can't imagine a much worse situation for someone young and in love - to have to deal with his father screwing the girl he loves on a regular basis. In the story, the lead doesn't know what to do, and he ends up watching as his father has sex with the girl, putting a (fake gun) to his father's head and asking, "Can you keep going with a gun at your head? You're yakuza, aren't you - a real man?" Then, when taken home by his brother, he can only cry.
Having been spoiled by the huge amount of childish manga/anime, where a hero usually saves the day and good wins over evil, I'm not used to seeing stories involving love leaving me feel so depressed. For a romantic, there wasn't a happy moment in the story. Even the sex scene with the lead and his love seemed wrong; her asking him to "fuck her hard" rather than make love to her - trying to turn him more like his father... which she did, because after that he attempted to set up the murder of his father.
And the last scene, at the train station - where the lead first fell in love - did nothing to change my mood. There was no happy ever after. Instead, the lead decided to let her go live her life, away from him and his father. He recalled the time as a child she'd asked him to release the insect he'd captured in order to let it be free as he let her go, and then pondered if she would've stayed had he asked her to.
Endo is amazing. After reading his collection of shorts, I have to say that. It's very rare for anything to leave me feeling like this, and I have to tip my hat to him for pulling it off. However, you should never, EVER read anything done by him when you're in a good mood because, by the end, you'll feel like throwing yourself off a cliff.