Is Gojikanme no Sensou Worth Reading?

Ayappi here (๑╹ω╹๑ )

When aliens invade the world, what’s the first thing you plan to do? In this manga’s Japan, the plan is to deploy teenagers to fight the alien invaders. It’s every man for Japan in this manga, in an attempt to repel the unknown threat, which only (spoiler) gets revealed at the end who they exactly are. In this review I’ll go over my thoughts I had with Gojikanme no Sensou.

Girls and Guns, and Alien Invaders

The story is set in a world where the Japanese mainland is invaded by an unknown force of aliens. In an attempt to get as much forces needed to repel the threat, the Japanese government issues an order where select high school students will get deployed in the mainland to assist the SDF in fighting. This in my opinion, while some could argue that this is just an attempt at including girls with guns, this would actually make sense given the issues Japan is facing right now such as the rapidly aging population. While old people could fight, there’s only so much an aging body could do. Therefore the decision to use young people to fight may have been the only option at the time.

One common theme in this story, is loss. As the manga progresses, we get to witness ourselves the deaths of the class. These losses however, are not limited to physical losses or deaths of the characters and Japan but extend over to strained relationships and misunderstandings between the characters.  Despite these losses and deaths (towards the end the classroom was near empty), sufficient pages were given to developing the characters and their backstories, so it wasn’t at the cost of character development. One such example of this is the entire chapter dedicated to Miyoshi, the painter boy. If anything, should the characters end up being relatable to the reader, it only boosts the drama and the immersion factor of the manga for the reader. With this whole loss thing however, there’s one thing that boggles my mind: “Why and how did Saku suddenly disappear in the end, without a trace?”

UPDATE: Saku ran off to the mainland to meet with his current girlfriend, which isn’t Miyako. However, it’s safe to assume Saku died as this is the last we’ll ever see from him.

However towards the end, we get to see Miyako bearing 2 children, a boy and a girl, in a new world without the aliens. We get to see life blooming both from her, as well as the formerly resource scarce, now crop filled island. It should be noted that prior to the last chapter, Miyako had to buy food from a merchant boat that brought supplies from the mainland. That, and vegetables were handled by a small farm near the school grounds tended by Saku. The last chapter in particular (which is really long), gave many emphasis on nature, as well as the children of Miyako. The aliens are gone, and a new life starts for Miyako, her children and Japan. This is a nice contrast in my opinion to the first theme which is loss. As old life is lost, new lives begin to grow. It reflects the natural cycle of life and death, and is a smart and beautiful way of conveying that message in my opinion. At least that’s how I interpreted it.

What’s interesting to note of is the names of the two main characters. It’s foreshadowed from the beginning by the act of declaring Miyako and Saku to be unfit for combat, that one or both of them will be the only ones to survive. Now the kanji for Miyako’s name, 都, means “metropolis” or “city.” Being a mother of two children in a newly deserted island in Japan, it’s obvious that her children will be responsible for repopulating the entire island. In other words, make lots and lots of babies, people. Saku’s name, means north or first day of the month. However if we change the characters to a verb, 咲く which means to “bloom (as in life),” then we could possibly see a connection between their “plot armor” foreshadowed survival and the cycle of life and death I just discussed. Although Saku disappears in the end, you could say Saku and Miyako’s fruits “bloomed” in the form of their children.

This cycle of life and death also extends over to the strained interpersonal relationships of the characters. In particular, this one scene with Miyako and Saku towards the end of the manga. The two have sex in order to have babies, possibly because they think they’re the only humans left, but really prior to this scene Saku just answered Miyako’s confession. Now, sex is one of those things that may possibly reflect the closeness of two individuals. This could have indicated a revival of their past relationship as in the story their relationship has been kind of rocky, mostly due to the unrequited love. Again, it reflects the theme of life and death possessed by the manga.

The art for this manga, is really nothing special. However it does set the moods really well in certain scenes. Probably one of the best instances of the art setting the mood is with the drawing of the stuffed rabbit. It is heavily implied that the talking rabbit is the alien threat, and spoiler, it is. However, we don’t know its true nature just yet, but I personally leaned towards the “messenger/traitor from the enemy out to help the main characters.” It was only until the depiction of a rabbit in an eerie devil costume (drawn well enough to give anyone nightmares) was the true loyalties of the “rabbit” foreshadowed.

The pacing of the story is okay. Scenes didn’t feel rushed at all, and I personally think skipping some months to kill off some side characters helped a lot in the pacing. Besides, the majority of the manga are scenes set in the island, so adding more chapters just for the sake of showing how the rest died probably wouldn’t have helped at all. It just would hurt the pacing and would look out of place in my opinion.

Overall I’m pretty happy I read this manga. I only have a few gripes with the story, but regardless I enjoyed the ride. Now, would I recommend, the, that you read this manga? Are you a fan of alien invasions, high school students going to war, and apocalyptic stories? If you cannot read Japanese and are alright with waiting for the translations, then I might be able to recommend this manga to you, because that’s the one thing keeping it out of reach for English only readers. But if you’re a brave soul, I would strongly suggest that you have a dictionary nearby if you choose to read the Japanese because majority of the dialogue is in a dialect. However it is by no means a poorly written story and I think it deserves a chance to be read.

Have you read Gojikanme no Sensou? Please do let me know down below! Thank you for reading, and have a great day ❤

Also, I would like to give a little heads up regarding my current situation. I will be starting my third year at university tomorrow, and I wouldn’t have time to post as much as before. Given that, I will only be posting at minimum, one post per week. Maybe even more if I have the time for it, but certainly there will be one post per week unless something like a blackout happens.

Also, thank you for taking the time to subscribe and read my articles! It really means a lot to me!

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My Honest Opinion on Dubbed Anime

Greetings anime community! This time I would like to talk about a somewhat sensitive topic regarding this community. From the title itself, you guessed it, I’m here to give my opinions on the never ending debate that is dubbed or subbed anime.

But first, a quick backstory! (3 paragraphs long if you want to skip it teehee)

I was scrolling through my feed on Facebook when a post from Netflix (or some Facebook page, I forgot) advertised its exclusive ONA with Sanrio, Aggretsuko (アグレッシブ烈子). After being hooked because Retsuko is just, really cute, plus I like the whole death metal thing going on, I finally had a reason to subscribe to Netflix. Luckily my aunt let me use her Netflix account and I have since been watching Aggretsuko and other anime (Tip: You can actually watch more anime if you use a VPN to Japan).

Now for all of you who are subscribed to Netflix, I think you know that you could change the subtitles and audio tracks in their TV shows and movies. For those that aren’t, there’s an option to change the audio tracks and subtitles through a little menu on the upper right if you’re using iOS. I’m not sure how it works for Android and PC, but anyway. By default, the show was set to English with no subtitles as far as I can remember. Being the person I am, I set the audio to Japanese and the subtitles to Japanese.

However, while it’s convenient that the show is just on Netflix and I could access it whenever I wanted to hear “SHITTY BOSS,” I get lazy and choose to just look it up on YouTube. Truth be told, I was kind of disappointed that the Japanese versions of the “SHITTY BOSS” songs are nowhere to be found, and only the English ones have been uploaded for my listening. However, what surprised me was that the English dub of Aggretsuko was actually really good. It was so good that I actually wanted to rewatch it in the English voices, while still retaining the Japanese subtitles because reasons.

STORY TIME OVER,

Dubs vs. Subs, it’s been a long running debate in the anime community. Many of the common arguments I hear about this issue is that, watching dubbed anime is tantamount to ruining the anime, watching dubbed anime does not give the same experience as that of the original, etc. In short, dubs ruin anime.

To an extent, I kind of agree with these arguments. In a way, a dubbed series kind of ruins the experience that the original aims to deliver to its audience. After all, there are some words and expressions that simply sound weird when translated into another language. The director or writer may have specifically chosen words, in the original language, as well as certain ways or accents of saying these words, that could simply not be captured as well if it was translated and adopted into a different language. You could say, some words get lost in the translation, and it really depends on how the translator interpreted these words, which could possibly cause lost meanings.

Let me give a little scenario on how I think this could happen:

Original Japanese: 「参ります」

Natural Translation: Going

While yes, the translation is correct, by translating to somewhat natural English the word has already lost its politeness level the original Japanese possesses. 参ります is the super polite form of the word 行く. Going could mean anything in terms of politeness in English. Furthermore, if we consider the fact that 参ります is also the super polite form of another verb 来る (come), we’re in trouble should the interpreter interpret it as such when it should be the other verb.

If you want evidence of this in Western animation being dubbed to Japanese, I suggest you listen to Japanese Spongebob. It simply, doesn’t work in my opinion. Patrick’s dopey English voice suited him better than the pathetic voice he has in the Japanese dub. Spongebob’s voice is kind of acceptable, for me at least.

However, I also kind of disagree with this statement simply because of the fact that there are some dubs that do a good job at it, an example being (if you read story time) Aggretsuko. Another example of dubs being good is the Dragon Ball dub. These are in my opinion, examples of dubs that actually match, if not make better the experience being set by the original. If we consider the fact many people simply watch anime to enjoy the experience of anime, and if a dub could deliver a similarly good if not better experience, then why not. In my opinion, anime’s purpose, other than being art waiting to be appreciated (and critically torn apart by critics), is to be enjoyed by the people who love it after all.

In the Japanese dub of Western animation side of things, if you ever get a chance to watch Japanese Gumball (TAWOG), I think that show’s Japanese dub is good. Gumball’s voice actually matches his character, and same goes for the rest of the characters, mostly.

With those out of the way, my take on the matter is that in the end, it’s really up to you, the watcher, to decide. Anime is subjective and we’re all into different things. Some of us could care less about a little loss in translation and prefer dubs. Some of us are simply purists and would rather appreciate the art in its purest form. (To be fair though, by reading subtitles there’s still some loss in translation from the smallest nuance to a complete butcher).

Me, I personally would rather watch my anime in its original Japanese audio, simply because I can practice my listening skills, and because of the argument I just said earlier about how there are terms that simply could not be captured well if translated into another language. However, I’d still watch a dub if I wanted to. Other than to aid my Japanese studies, I mainly use anime to relax and unwind so if a dub could serve that purpose, why not. Just make sure it’s like Aggretsuko level good and not that HORRIBLE niconiconii in that Tagalog Love Live dub I stumbled across.

How about you? What’s your take on the matter? Do you agree or disagree?

I think that’s all I have to say on the matter, for now at least. Bye and have a beautiful day!