It’s time to get ♠Political♥♥
Yes, after my MHA post blew up, it is now time to repulse all my potential new readers by talking positively about communism!(though I wouldn’t call myself a communist technically). It’s finally time to dive into the ugly yet rewarding world of politics and see how it’s involved in our favorite Chinese cartoons (or in this case comics).
I’ve learned alot from suicide island and following the journey of it’s main character, sei. It has, for a long time now, been one of if not my FAVORITE manga of all time. Reading it we learn so much about nature and valuing the life the good earth provides for us, learn to appreciate the sacrifices of other living things so that we can live, confronting and dealing with loss, exploring sexuality, learning how to survive in the wild, and as is always oh so important to me, we get a good amount of action along the way too. This series just has it all, even a righteous promotion of the soviet cause…
Ok, to be fair it’s more closely related to Primitive communism than anything involving socialist vanguards but goddamnit let me have my joke!
Perhaps I should explain. You see Primitive communism is a concept originating from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who argued that hunter-gatherer societies were traditionally based on egalitarian social relations and common ownership(Thanks wikipedia!). If this doesn’t sei’s side of the island, nothing does. No money, no bartering (except for 1 one character who dips into the worlds oldest profession), and despite having a man they look to for leadership, they are all equals. Under these conditions, many find the will to live once again including sei, who as the groups hunter gains a respect and admiration for nature over time, and comes to view humanities place in it as stabilizing one (that is to say our job should be to keep the ecosystem in balance by being at the top of the food chain and being conscience of that fact unlike any other animal can be). This is in contrasted to the main villain’s, Sawada, side which is the exact opposite. Sex slaves, a monetary system, beatings, cannibalism, it’s a complete dictatorship of the worst kind that all the sycophants flock towards to treat others like shit and indulge in the worst of humanity. And the leader Sawada does it all for fun.
We are reminded once again of Virtue Ethics I Mentioned in my Last Post with how Sawada lacks reverence in comparison to sei (who through being on this island has gained reverence for nature, an important plot element and character arc). While it is tempting to say that Sawada is just crazy for the sake of the plot, considering the author, Kouji Mori, is good friends with the author of “Beserk” I think it’s safe to say he puts a bit more thought in his stories than typical (if you didn’t already get that from reading his work). So why IS he crazy? Well, simply put his environment made him that way, specifically, the post-modern capitalistic society of japan made him that way. See without giving away to many spoilers, Sawada didn’t try to kill himself out of sadness, depression, or any of the reasons the others did. He was constantly seeking stimulus and when modern society couldn’t provide that for him in a way he saw fit anymore he decided to off himself (and unfortunately didn’t succeed). In comparison it wasn’t life itself they were going tired of on sei side but there ways of life, which allowed for development when put in this new environment.
But more important than how the islanders are shaped by the society they built and came from, Suicide island also comments on how those societies affect other societies.
The link I just posted is a video summary of David Graeber’s “parable of the divided island”. I’d HIGHLY recommend watching the video to gain a complete understanding of the argument her but if you really don’t have the time the long and short of it is this; Assuming all other things being equal, a voluntarist or coexistent relationship between a capitalist and communist society cannot exist due to the capitalist systems need for endless growth. To put in simple terms, Commies and Suits will never get along.
Now why is this interesting? Because I think the author Kouji Mori intentional made this story to be an exploration of Graeber’s idea. Now I couldn’t find any interview of the man so if anyone wants to leave a link feel free. However I don’t think it needs to be out right stated to see it. I already mentioned how the manga has pretty blatant Pcom undertones and that’s not even factoring in the author’s other work I completed; Destroy and Revolution. Now D&R is, IMO, a much worst story than suicide island. But, it is D&R that outright and openly questions western values, society, and actions, especially that imperialistic U.S. While reading it I could help but gather that the author may hold some communistic beliefs or at the very least views their critiques as valid (again, I found no interviews to confirm).
All this makes me curious about how the series will end. While MAL states all the chapters are out, they’re not translated yet, likely due to the series low popularity. If this post made you curious I highly suggested you check it out! Maybe then we can see what conclusions Mori draws from this paradox.
Praise be to ToGODshi’s name