Spider-Man: The Manga #17

 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. Part two of our three-story arc.

Story Details

  Spider-Man: The Manga #17
Summary: Accused of Assault
Arc: Part 2 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

The beating of Araki is stopped by one of the teachers who attended Yu's confession. Mikawa explains that he was making an example of Araki for being a slacker. The teacher seems to think that this is OK. He then introduces the Kendo squad to a student who wishes to join... Yu, of course. It is clear from Yu's stance that he has no experience in Kendo. He isn't even dressed in pads for protection. "I don't need it", he says, "I just want to fight Mikawa to find out which of us is stronger." One of the other members of the team challenges him instead and Yu makes mincemeat of him. Then two other team members attack and Yu takes out the both of them. Which finally prompts Mikawa to step up and take on our hero.

The two of them fight without masks, without padding. Yu gets knocked around quite a bit but finally succeeds in knocking Mikawa's "shinai" (bamboo sword) out of his hands. Yu retrieves the shinai, offers it to Mikawa, bows, and says, "I'm Yu Komori. I would like to join the team."

A week later, the Principal and the teacher who seems to be the Kendo coach discuss Yu's performances. Though never previously athletic, he now shows "near super human ability". He defeats all the other team members, including Mikawa, over and over, with ease.

And, at the Kendo practice, Yu defeats Mikawa again, then turns to leave, saying, "I can't stand your pathetic behavior any longer. It's not a pleasant sight watching the captain get beaten again and again by a beginner like me in front of all the team members." Enraged, Mikawa tries to strike the newcomer in the back but Yu dodges quickly without even turning around. He uses Mikawa's treachery to shame him some more.

Out in the hall, Araki approaches his friend to find out how he got such abilities, but Yu brushes him off. He plans to keep "riling" the Kendo team, "so they act out in violence again". In this way, he hopes to reveal their true faces to the world.

Lost in thought, Yu walks the street until a car pulls up and three strangers take him for a ride. Amongst the threesome is the brother of the woman he admitted to attacking. And back at the Kendo practice, Mikawa suggests that the best way to take care of Yu is to kill him.

General Comments

Again, the unthinking acceptance of violence is nearly impossible for me to comfortably absorb. The head of a sports team hands out a beating to one of the students "to teach him a lesson", and the teachers and supervisors consider this perfectly acceptable. Well, maybe that's how Japan works - but in most western cultures you'd have an angry parent, a lawyer, and the government calling for a commission of inquiry.

Overall Rating

I'm struggling to come to grips with this, on an instinctive level. Three webs.

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