Jul 29, 2022
I waited a long time before being able to read this manga, and I must say that the reward was up to my expectations.
I already know Shinichi Ishizuka through Blue Giant, a fantastic manga around music. But Gaku intrigued me. For one thing because it's a very little known manga but also the fact that it's a manga about mountaineering.
In manga, mountaineering is a rather deep theme, where the authors try to express the importance of mountains, what they can bring to a person's life, their benefits and also their danger.
I was waiting to see if Gaku would take a path similar to Kokou no
Hito or The Summit of the Gods.
Well ... my surprise was great when I saw that none of these paths had been taken, quite the contrary.
In my opinion, the strong point of this manga is its human dimension.
Indeed, it is more a work related to rescue rather than men seeking to achieve a goal by reaching the top of a mountain. Throughout the volumes via chapters rather episodic, the author gives us messages about life in general. The characters rescued by the MC always have an anecdote and a lesson to pass on.
Family, existential or work-related problems, the author uses everyday worries to put balm in our hearts when the situation suggests it.
Coming back to the main character, he is really suited for this kind of story. He is of a rare kindness and passion, probably in the image of his author. This character is a mountain obsessed, who has chosen his life and we understand him perfectly the further we go in the story.
The manga is also full of symbolic moments, which are very insignificant at the beginning of the reading but which take all their importance at the end. The use of simple things, such as a motto or elements of daily life that become striking, complete once again this omnipresent feeling of humanity.
Another interesting point to emphasize is the author's acceptance of death. To remain realistic, the author did not hesitate to show many deaths throughout the work. This is normal when you want to show the dangers when you decide to climb a mountain.
However, this welcome is always done in a benevolent way, as if the spirits of the deceased were one with the mountain once it is climbed to the sky, and this is very interesting. This gives an extra dimension to the interest of reading this manga. Finally, to talk about the drawing, it is certainly less impressive than its pairs at the contemplative level, but it is still fairly realistic enough to make us aware of the greatness of the mountains. As a result, you will find a good number of boards very pleasant to look at.
In conclusion, I think that mountaineering manga is a very personal experience. You may or may not learn from them and I have learned a lot from Gaku. I won't forget this work any time soon.
What did you think of this review?