English: Seizon -LifE-
Synonyms: Seizon -LifE, Seison Life, Seison LifE
Published: Jul 7, 2000 to Sep 8, 2000
Score: 8.121 (scored by 838 users)
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SynopsisTakeda is diagnosed with cancer and feels that he has nothing to live for. Hopeless, he decides to end his life. But when he is about to hang himself, the phone rings: the police have just found the corpse of his daughter, Sawako, who disappeared more than 14 years ago. Under Japanese law, the statute of limitations for murder only lasts 15 years. Takeda has only six months left: six months to live, six months to find his daughter's killer and deliver him to the authorities. After 14 years of silence and obscurity, the family ties are reborn...
It’s rare for a manga to elicit such strong feelings from me, but Seizon-Life succeeds with its ruminations of filial responsibility, love, and the search for truth and understanding, for redemption.
Redemption even if you've only got six months left to live. Takeda is told this and is wracked with fear and guilt. Guilt because his wife died of the same illness in the past and he realises he wasn’t there for her enough at the time. Now that he feels the same unrelenting fear of impending death, he feels disgusted with himself, with his past behaviour to his family, his deceased wife and his deceased daughter.
His long-lost daughter has not given up on him however, as once her corpse is found buried under a parking area in Nagano prefecture, the police phone Takeda to inform him, just as he's about to hang himself in despair.
In bearing witness to her skeletal remains and facing head on the shame of his previous inability to be a decent husband and father, Takeda takes it upon himself to use up what little time he has left to find his daughter's killer. There is irony and fate at play, with there being six months left till the statute of limitations on the crime being lifted, the limit being 15 years.
Takeda can’t rely on the police who don’t have the motivation to go all out on a case almost 15 years old with no leads. He begins the long and arduous journey himself by starting in the untouched bedroom of a daughter he never really knew as well as he should have, for clues as to where she disappeared to one day 14 years ago.
During the story, a cop in charge of the soon-to-be closed case serves as a foil to Takeda. Not being an irritable barrier but more like a voice of cool logic that only a seasoned and tired detective could have, he plays devil's advocate to Takeda's discoveries, forcing him to wake up to the idea that simply identifying the killer won’t be enough, he will need concrete proof in order to avenge his daughter. Another cop, Murai, joins Takeda’s mission and provides a good partner as they navigate their way through procedural details to dig underneath clues, lies and red herrings.
Seizon is so brilliant because not only is it another example of the manga form’s wide range of variety by exploring an interesting and worthy theme from the viewpoint of an ordinary character with no cynical manga-selling abilities or traits, but because it’s a great race-against-time thriller. With Takeda's condition deteriorating rapidly, time is crucial, being hospitalised is unacceptable, he must catch the killer before the legal deadline and before he becomes unable to function coherently.
So Takeda in a sense becomes the lead investigator for the most part of the story, retracing his daughter’s steps 14 years ago, following small leads, persisting, following the path she took, to see everything she saw and feel everything she felt.
Takeda's mission to find his daughter's killer is more about getting to know his daughter for the first time in a long while, and in that to find redemption for his neglect of his family in the past. When he begins to interview people about his daughter in the beginning, he feels that they're talking about a stranger, but chapter by chapter he reconnects with her.
So it’s only in the prolonged aftermath of her death that he truly understands who she was. It’s too late naturally, but in a sense it’s not, because dealing with deceased people, giving them funerals and discovering the truth behind their deaths is more to benefit the living. The dead are dead. The living have to live with that. Funerals aren’t for dead people; they're for the ones who are still alive.
Takeda's vengeance is not for his daughter's sake, but for his soul, it’s his final duty as a husband and father. The manga isn’t utterly perfect, as there is an air of predictability about it, which is both fine on one hand and unwanted on the other.
On one hand you can understand one outcome of the story, and on the other you might wish the author had written another outcome a different way. Regardless it’s not enough to detract from the story and it’s consistent with the theme of striving to survive and to keep on living no matter what the odds, as demonstrated courageously by Takeda and his daughter.
The art of the manga is reminiscent of Katsuhiro Otomo in the clean and detailed designs of background settings and characters, none of which look overly cute or beautiful but are grounded in more realistic tones. The main protagonist is just a regular middle-aged man and the story is populated by more characters in their thirties, forties; a wide variety of types overall.
It also feels like a Naoki Urasawa effort, although unlike that excellent author's epic thrillers, Seizon isn’t too convoluted to keep up with, at a lean 3 volumes it proceeds at a good pace and wraps up before becoming too over the top with twists and revelations.
The only revelation you need to know about is Seizon the manga itself.
Both manga are short series that are heavy on realism. They're very similar because both are about discovering what happened to 14/5-year-old (iirc) girls. Even the artwork of the two is quite similar; both artists being skilled at drawing adults, which gives the titles mature looks.
In Seizon, the lead is a man with cancer who, with only six months or so left to live, sets out to find the person who murdered his daughter many years before in order to atone for what he views to be his sins as a husband and father. He retraces the steps of his daughter in a desperate attempt to discover what lead her to be killed before his time runs out.
In 'The Quest for the Missing Girl' (the English title of Sousakusha), the daughter of the lead's deceased best friend goes missing and, in order to keep a promise to his friend and atone for what views as his sin, he leaves his mountain refuge in order to find her, investigating by retracing the steps she made before she went missing. He ends up searching for her by delving into the seedy world of child prostitution.
The Quest for the Missing Girl is far more straight-forward, without there being constant twists occurring in order for justice to prevail, where as Seizon has a more likeable lead. I feel The Quest for the Missing Girl could've used more 'down time' in order for increased character development and I think I would've preferred Seizon if the author had just got on with the story rather than dragging it out at times. The titles are pretty much equal in my mind.
Going on the small amount of people who've read it, you might believe that The Quest for the Missing Girl' isn't out in English. That's incorrect. It was released around a year ago, and I got my copy in the post today. I don't believe it’s on the net, though, and that's why so few have read it - because no-one pays money for anime/manga.
(I was going to try my hand at a review, but I feel too lazy, and my back is hurting after struggling to read an awkward to hold (it's big!) book under the light. This will have to do, I'm afraid.)
First of all, the artwork of these two manga series was so similar that I thought they were drawn by the same artist at first glance . The content is quite similar too ; a man is looking for a missing teenage girl who was abducted by a rapist . In Seizon Life it's the protagonist's daughter while in TQFTMG it's the protagonist's friend's daughter . Seizon life was better and more of a thriller .
Seizon-Life feels like another Monster side story. You could put most of it somewhere in Monster and it won't feel like you're reading something else.
Both contain suspenseful mystery-uncovering, realistic characters, and so on.
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