Good morning everyone,
This blog last reviewed Hiroya Oku’s Manga GIGANT in March of this year with a post about Volume 5 which encompassed episodes Thirty-Nine through Forty-Seven. (NOTE: That also has links to reviews for all of the previous GIGANT volumes.) Volume 6 was recently released on August 19th and it took a few days for my copy to arrive at the front door.
Right off the bat, I will note that reading this was not a satisfying experience. Little happens to advance the plot. Papiko (the series protagonist) does not change size and does not fight any monsters. (NOTE: Although, she does have sex with Rei so there was that.) A skyscraper-sized monster dubbed “Satan” first appeared in the previous volume. However, Papiko never confronts Satan during these nine episodes despite the fact that she confronted and defeated several giant monsters in previous volumes. Papiko and her boyfriend Rei were aware that millions of people had been killed in the United States. Yet, they never stop to consider that Papiko could fight Satan.
The following are questions a reader might have after reading the above page: “So, um, Papiko do you think you might, I don’t know, do something about the mass slaughter of innocents? No? Oh, okay. It’s just that millions of people are dying and you are the only person, in the entire world, that has successfully defeated such threats. But hey, you’re on vacation in Ishigaki so why let the disaster overseas interfere with a good time?”
An extreme interpretation could look at this from a nationalistic perspective. Maybe Papiko believes that only Japanese people are worth saving and that Americans and Mexicans are not? Although, Papiko herself is the daughter of a foreigner. Her father came from Sweden. However, he died years ago and she never speaks Swedish or communicates with extended family members residing in her father’s native country. To be clear, I do not agree with this interpretation.
However, it is undeniably odd that Papiko apparently has no awareness that she could help and no sense of responsibility. The Marvel Comics character Spider-Man stands in sharp contrast. After being given superpowers, due to the bite of a radioactive spider, Spider-Man chose not to use his new abilities to stop a thief who later killed his Uncle Ben. After experiencing the resulting guilt, Spider-Man commits to using his superpowers to fight crime. Maybe Papiko will eventually undergo a similar development and realize that she could save lives by combating monsters?
A counter-argument could be that America has such a powerful military that intervention should not be necessary. Although, a news broadcaster states that “The U.S. Forces’ attacks are not fazing him at all!” Therefore, the American military was shown to be ineffective. Nuclear weapons may also be a factor. Papiko could think that nuclear weapons will solve the problem. To be fair, that is not unreasonable. Nuclear weapons are nearly incomprehensible in their destructive power and it is conceivable that they may prove sufficient. Or maybe they won’t, but I won’t share spoilers. Bottom line, Papiko acted oblivious to the obvious conclusion that she might be able to help.
Additionally, the last volume showed Papiko on American (specifically on “ellena,” a clear reference to “Ellen” a.k.a. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”) and Japanese television shows. Therefore, the American Government should have been aware of her existence. Yet, the U.S. does not think to ask for her help, and the Japanese Government does not offer her assistance. That was strange. It could be a statement about the arrogance of the American President. That is to say, maybe GIGANT creator Hiroya Oku believes that President Trump would rather allow millions to die than ask for help from a foreigner?
Furthermore, Papiko could be intended to act as a very passive character. Perhaps Papiko is not a heroine that decides and then conducts specific courses of action. She does not act on her own volition. Instead, she might be willing to intervene if asked. However, she would never consider taking action unless an authority figure specifically directed her to act.
The soldiers from the future are distracted by modern food found in convenience stores and restaurants. Eventually, they encounter some armed men and demonstrate not just the ability to grow and an invulnerability to small arms, but also a force beam which closely resembles one of Ultraman’s attacks.
Surprisingly, the series primary antagonist, the “enjoy the end” (ETE) web site, was not discussed or portrayed. ETE actually creates the monsters and incredible weather, such as the literal “shit storm” from Volume 1. Thus, ETE is the force behind the Satan which rampaged across the United States, Mexico, and later the Pacific. However, it has been awhile since ETE made an appearance. Too long in fact. Readers might forget what ETE is. (NOTE: It would be disappointing if readers never learn more about ETE. Personally, I would like to know who built it, why they built it, and what are ETE’s motives.)
GIGANT Volumes 4 and 5 are not due to be released in the U.S. until January and May of 2021. Seven Seas Entertainment publishes the English editions and information on their release schedule can be found here: https://sevenseasentertainment.com/series/gigant/
Alternatively, you could order the original Japanese language editions. Waiting for the English releases will take awhile with Volume 6 being out in Japan now, but Volume 5 is not coming to America until next spring! Volume 6 is not even listed yet on Seven Seas schedule.
However, I think fans could safely skip Volume 6. All that is required to understand the ongoing story is the knowledge that the soldiers from the future have multiple superpowers (presumably Papiko does as well) and they obsess about noddle soup, Papiko and Rei have to spend some time apart, and Satan is murdering millions of people in the United States and Mexico. That last part, Satan’s attack across two countries, may seem particularly significant, but it was treated as a minor subplot.
I intend to review Volume 7 which will probably not release until early 2021. However, if it is another dud like Volume 6 then I will stop following the GIGANT series.
That’s it for today folks. Thursday’s review will cover a requested video, “Kay Grows to the Ceiling.” Until then, keep growing!
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