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Kokou no Hito is a manga adaptation of a Japanese novel by Nitta Jirou that journalize the mountain climbing exploit of a real Japanese hard ass mountain climber in the 30s named Kato Buntarou who have written essays of his solo climbing expedition that were used to adapt to the novel which then again got adapted to the manga by artist Sakamoto Shinichi with help from the adaption of the novel’s story by Nabeta Yoshiro even though Sakamoto Shinichi did the story after volume 4.

Yes, it’s a complicated web of multiple authors but Sakamoto Shinichi is our guy here because it’s ultimately his own story. He deviate a lot from the novel which took place in the 1930s and modernize it. I personally deduced that this complicated web of different authors explained the different in directions and focus the comic book took after the first few volumes.

The first few volumes acted like a shonen sport manga. Our hero Mori Buntarou(before he changed his name to Kato Buntarou), an anti social student with a mysterious past got inspired by a hard ass shonen hero’s rival and took up mountain climbing as a hobby. The story then introduced us with a passionate mentor and a likable innocent love interest that will act as the pivot of the love triangle between our hero and hard ass shonen hero’s rival. Not only that, it also introduced a mysterious bishonen rival that seems to be related to our hero’s dark past. It’s build up as a competitive adventure that will teach us valuable lessons on bonding and friendship through the sport of mountain climbing.

And……….. all of those got thrown away after the first few volumes. Our hard ass shonen hero’s rival became a con man and a worthless adult throughout the comic. The passionate mentor got a rock in his face and died. The love interest became a prostitute that stole our hero’s money because she is a bitch. Mysterious bishonen rival only appeared in 2 chapters and shown to be dead in the K2 mountain by the end. Our hero learned that he really enjoyed the solitude after all his buddies died during a dangerous expedition. Every time he tries to play the friendship game, it will hinder him and the only way he felt at home is by going solo without any friendship and bonding bullshit to bog him down. Most of the time when he meet new characters, they are awful human beings that are selfish little piece of shit that hinder his mountain climbing ambition.

Awesome.

If there’s a deconstruction of shonen manga, Kokou no Hito is the one. It’s an anti thesis of shonen sport manga. What you normally think that will build up as a hot blooded shonen plot, it will then subvert the shit out of it and tell you that this shit will never fly in real life.

In the end, the manga is not really about mountain climbing but a psychological analysis and character study of Mori/Kato Buntarou . It’s all about how an outcast with no other desire than mountain climbing live and feel. All the other side characters(that got thrown away like garbage) and mountain climbing stuff are tools to develop Buntarou as a character . You get lots of interesting metaphorical imagery to describe Buntarou as a human being.

Buntarou is an interesting characters and his story gave you a interesting perspective of a different lifestyle of solitude without condemning or approving that lifestyle . Normally, stories will tell you that bond is good while solitude is bad and even though Kokou no Hito does slightly adhere to that moral near end, it also says that solitude isn’t really that bad and bonding might not be that amazing either. In the end, you need a bit of both, be considerate to people around you while still living your life aloof.

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