Manga-ka: Yuki Fujisawa
Publisher: Dr. Master
Rating: Older Teen (16+)
Released: February 2008
Synopsis: “Mishima is your average pushover, working as a repairman for the Exopolis Tower, Tokyo’s largest high-rise business & entertainment building. He promises to come home to celebrate his son’s birthday, but he lets his boss saddle him with overtime. On train heading home, a massive earthquake strikes and collapses both Expolis and its underground train lines. Now Mishima is trapped deep underground with the other passengers of the train…”
Mishima lives a life that he’s less than proud of, constantly walked over by his boss like a soggy doormat and never able to emotionally provide for his family with his presence. After being kept late at work one night, despite a promise to be home for his son’s birthday, Mishima finds himself on the early morning subway train when a massive earthquake rocks the city of Tokyo. Now trapped almost 100 metres below the surface with those who survived from his subway car, it’s a matter of survival as they desperately try to find a way out.
I was inspired to purchase this book after I read a review for it by Manga Jouhou’s Kiara. Couldn’t be more satisfied that I did! Metro Survive is a gripping and dramatic story of an unlikely group of disaster survivors trying to find a way home. With a feeling similar to series such as Battle Royale, Metro Survive is also a brutal peek at the human psyche and what some people do, and how they will react, when faced with such trials. Needless to say, it’s not a pretty sight and I’m sure volume one has only scratched the surface of what these characters will face, both at the hands of Mother Nature and themselves.
The story is told mostly from the perspective of Mishima. The inner-struggle with his flaws acts as a good catalyst to the strength he needs to muster to take control of the situation and use his know-how to help. Other characters include a husband and his wife and child, an elderly couple, two complaining jerks that you just hope get theirs first, a train conductor and young woman who seems the most accepting of the bunch. Things don’t get much better when their small rag-tag team meets up with another group of survivors, and suddenly everyone needs to watch out for each other as much as they do debris and aftershock.
This was my first time reading a book published by Dr. Master and I wasn’t disappointed by their work on it. It has a nice big cut-size, similar to DMP’s releases, and also creatively allows the illusion of a cover slip without the hassle they sometimes cause by being there. The translation was smooth and the rewrite had care taken to keep an individuals manner of speaking intact. Couple that with some easy to read font choices and a nicely binded book and you have yourself a simple but complaint-free-from-me release job.
So if you like a good modern-day disaster drama, or are just looking for a good mature manga title that doesn’t baby on the details, then I highly recommend picking up Metro Survive. It’s well written, decently illustrated in a way that really suits the material and is ultimately a great, and intentionally unnerving, read. My greatest regret is not having volume two sitting here next to me.
Review written September 1, 2008 by Lissa Pattillo.
Book purchased from vendor at Fan Expo 2008.