Spider-Man: The Manga #16

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)


Welcome to "Yu Komori: The Manga" as our hero disdains to don his costume for anything other than a restless sleep.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #16
Summary: Accused of Assault
Arc: Part 1 of 'Spider-Man: The Manga Fifth Arc' (1-2-3)
Editor: Glenn Greenberg
Writer/Artist: Ryoichi Ikegami
Retouching and Production: Dan Nakrosis, Rob Kuzmiak
Translation: Mutsumi Masuda

Yu is walking home one dark night when he hears a woman's scream. In a nearby field, he sees four men with handkerchiefs concealing their features assaulting a woman he believes is his friend Rumi. Rumi disappeared recently, leaving a letter to Yu behind. Now, it appears that she is on the verge of being raped.

Yu steps in and, careful not to use his full spider-powers, keeps the four attackers at bay. They all flee but not before one is unmasked. Yu recogizes him.

In the quiet aftermath, Yu realizes that the young woman is NOT Rumi. The woman, meanwhile, is so frightened and traumatized that she believes that Yu was one of the men who attacked her. Snatching a pen from his pocket... a pen which has his name on it... she runs away and gets a ride from a passing car before Yu can protest his innocence.

That night, dressed in his Spidey suit and stretched out in a hammock made of webbing, Yu tries to puzzle it out. The unmasked assailant was Mikawa, a student at Yu's school. "He's respected by all the teachers. His grades are excellent and he's honest and dependable and he's a natural at every sport!" Yu knows no one will believe him if he accuses Mikawa. He knows there is no evidence.

So the next day, Yu walks into the Principal's Office and confesses that he attacked the young woman and attacked her alone. And what does he get for this confession? The attending teacher says, "I didn't know you were that kind of person, I'm ashamed of you." Another teacher says, "Now, now, sir. This kind of thing happens to a lot of students his age." The Principal turns the topic of conversation over to the Kendo team and how he wants them to win the championship again this year. (I'm not real clear on what Kendo is, but it appears to be a Samurai fighting tradition, using bamboo swords in the competitions rather then real ones.) The Principal also mentions that Mikawa is captain of the team. This gets Yu thinking.

As the days go by, the rumors swirl through the school that Yu is a pervert... in spite of the Principal's efforts to conceal the story. Yu knows that Mikawa saw his face as clearly as Yu saw his... yet he says nothing. So, Yu asks to join the Kendo team. And, at the same time, Yu's friend Araki, a member of that team, is getting the absolute snot beaten out of him in a Kendo match with Mikawa.

General Comments

This story features a heck of a lot of violence between well-educated kids from a nice school. It also features that same school perfectly happy to condone and shelter a student who has committed violent assault and attempted rape - while the female victim involved clearly has not gone to the police.

That's a big cultural gap for me to cross. The "no evidence" angle is hard to swallow in these days of DNA testing. Instead, I'm forced to accept that the response shown is the one which Japanese readers will find matches their view on the world. I don't like that one little bit.

Overall Rating

Three cautious webs.

 Posted: 2004
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)