Oneshot : Succeed
The state of progress is one where one must look to the past in order to protect the future...but what must be done for the present? From legendary WSJ mangaka Osamu Akimoto comes a one-shot where memories are the key to understanding all: past, present and future...
“Succeed” by Osamu Akimoto (with Atelier Be-dama)
Star: The Greatest Heresy in Manga History as Challenged by Akimoto Osamu!! Special One-Shot Center Color 31 pages!!
Bottom Left: The Super-Wonderful Big-Shot One-Shot Series of Autumn!! Top of the Super Legends #5
Bottom Right: Simultaneous Appearance with the whole body of Akimoto Osamu!! “Kochira Katsusha-Ku Kameari Kouen-mae Hashutsujo” is from pg. 319!!
Narrator: The place where I was born is a small town of 150 villagers surrounded by undeveloped woodlands.
(TN: “Undeveloped woodlands” is actually in Japanese “satoyama”, which has two meanings: one is “undeveloped woodland near a populated area, the other is “a settlement pattern of living in upland valleys and cultivating lower slopes”. I went with the former due to the “ruins” in the first two-page spread)
Girl: I’m going.
Mother: Sato-chan, have a good time.
Old Woman: Sato! Here! A water-wheel is spinning.
Narrator: Naturally we were blessed and everyone lived in happiness.
Sato: Water paddy.
(TN: “Water patty” refers to “suiden”, a water-filled paddy field)
Old Woman: Yes, a water paddy.
Narrator: A once-a-year religious festival at the shrine that enshrined “Ryuujinseki”, the town’s guardian deity, was being held in town and everyone was celebrating it.
(TN: “Ryuujinseki” = “Dragon-God Stone”)
Sato: Heave-ho heave-ho.
Old Woman: Sato, are you alright?
Sato: I’m fine.
Old Woman: Here we are, Sato.
Sato: IT’S A FESTIVAL!
Old Woman: Here, Sato.
Old Woman: First we will pray to Ishigami-sama.
(TN: Ishigami or literally “stone god” is a stone that is worshipped usually due to the image of a god within it)
Sato: Please protect us.
Voice 1: Magnfiicent water-paddies.
Voice 2: Yes.
Voice 1: There are rivers and lakes too; this is a town abundant in resources.
Voice 2: Everything seems like it’s self-sufficient.
Voice 1: It’s a terrain with many ravines and the arch dam will be easy to construct, Cabinet Minister.
Voice 2: Yes.
Man 1: If we have an arch-style dam, then our lower budget due to having to support it with weak construction will…
Man 2: N?
Man 2: That’s the once-a-year town festival. Those of the town have gathered.
Man 2: Descend the helicopter!
Man 1: What exactly is that?
Man 2: A helicopter exclusively used by the government!
Kumanoi: Everyone of Ryuujin town. I am Kumanoi, Cabinet Minister of construction.
Kumanoi: I’m certain you have an unhandy livelihood within the mountains like these. I’ve come with a nice story for you.
Kumanoi: A dam!
Sato: A dam?
Sign: Place of the Ryuujin Dam Explanation Meeting (Entrance)
Kumanoi: An arch-style damn that will be made utilizing the valley.
Kumanoi: We’ve planned it in a place 6km separated from the village. The construction period will be about 10 years.
Top: Proposed Site of Dam
Middle: Ryuujin Shrine
Kumanoi: Since we will expand the accompanying road to the construction work, we will also be completing a directly-connecting road to the town without having to cross over the mountain.
Kumanoi: This will be beneficial for the town. I guarantee it.
Old Man 1: If the town is buried and we can’t move
Old Man 2: Village head, this isn’t good.
Old Man 3: Hmm.
Sato: Hey, father.
Sato’s Father: What’s wrong, Sato?
Sato: What will happen to the fish and birds?
Sato’s Mother: Ah.
Sato’s Father: Right, we’ve forgotten an important thing.
Sato’s Grandmother: That’s right!
Old Man 1: Wouldn’t this destroy nature?
Old Man 2: If we come to not be able to pick our vegetables.
Kumanoi: It’s fine; this won’t affect your crops.
Old Man 3: Really?
Kumanoi: Since this is major construction work, there will be a little noise, but it won’t have an effect on this valley settlement.
Narrator: And so…
Narrator: The dam construction began.
Man: The dam construction has begun, Sato!
Narrator: Due to shaking the hard bedrock, the sound of blasting resonated in the valley settlement.
Narrator: We grew along with construction and
Sign: Middle School Entrance Ceremony
Narrator: As was thought
Narrator: Was this dam truly necessary to the town…
Narrator: AND SO, IN THE SUMMER OF MY 3RD YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL, THE DAM WAS COMPLETED
Narrator: My worry was on the changes to the ecosystem of the river and forest afterwards and
Narrator: The effect to the mountain by the explosion construction work.
Narrator: When summer ended…
Narrator: My town was engulfed in an unprecedented heavy rain.
Voice: EVEN WITH THE FULL OPENING OF THE EMERGENCY SPILLWAY!! IT ISN’T REALLY DEALING WITH IT!!
Official: ITS A DOWNPOUR THREE-TIMES AS SUPPOSED, I CAN’T BELIEVE THIS!! AND FURTHER!
Official: THE RAIN THAT IS FALLING IN THE MOUNTAIN DUE TO THE GORGE IS ALL CONCENTRATING IN THE DAM. IT’S ALREADY BARELY AT ITS LIMIT.
Official: THERE IS A TOWN……WITHIN THE BASIN.
Voice: PRIME MINISTER KUMANOI
Minister: Now it is unreasonably going into Ryuujin Town. Prime Minister!
Kumanoi: That town I gave birth to was poor…
Kumanoi: But…thanks to the dam, it’s become rich.
Kumanoi: That town seems to be different!
Man: PRIME MINISTER! THE HELICOPTER IS DANGEROUS IN THE STORM!
Kumanoi: THE TOWNSPEOPLE ARE IN MUCH MORE DANGER!!
Kumanoi: HURRY!! COMPETE WITH THIS INSTANTLY!!
Kumanoi: Somehow I’m in time…
Man 1: Has something seem to happen at the dam?
Man 2: What is it during this rain?
Sato: Town leader, perhaps…
Town Leader: Sato!
Voice 1: It’s large!
Voice 2: An earthquake!
Official 1: The bedrock is cracking.
Official 2: What!
Kumanoi: EVERYONE! TAKE REFUGE IN THE HELICOPTERS! RIDE THEM 20 EACH!
Old Woman: The earthquake is
Sato: Ah! Prime Minister Kumanoi!
Official: The dam is BREAKING DOWN
Town Leader: CHILDREN AND ELDERLY FIRST! HURRY!
Men: The dam broke! A muddy stream is coming this way!
Men: A muddy stream is coming! Hurry and run!
Sato’s Grandmother: Ah.
Sato’s Grandmother: It’s too late, Sato! Please run ahead.
Sato: GOD…PLEASE…SAVE EVERYONE…
Men: IT’S COMING!
Voices: THE MUDDY STREAM; KYAA; HII. IT’S TOO LATE
Old Man: The flow changed…
Old Woman: Ishigami-sama has…
Kumanoi: It’s…a miracle.
Voice: Memory data preservation complete. 110-year old Nishino Sato-san!
Man: It’s already over.
Man 2: N…
Sato: Was my memory taken?
Technician: We’ve taken an image of it.
Sato: Was long ago in black-and-white?
Man: No, it was color.
Sato: I don’t remember long ago anymore. Haha
Man: What was shown of your memory reflection was your student era.
Man: You were pretty.
Sato: Well! That was of that era.
Sato: That was nostalgic.
Man: Later we’ll give you the image.
Technician: We understand the new truth of the Ryuujin Dam destruction.
Technician: At any rate, it’s because an image seen by she herself has come to be reproduced feasibly.
Technician: Due to Japanese engineers, we can successfully reproduce images and sounds from the memories of brains. This is the “proof” of living in that era for all people.
Technician: Even among those, the memories of the elderly are valuable asset. We won’t be left with that history in future generations.
Man: The “Memory Succeed” is advancing to a global level.
Technician: That’s the “project”.
Technician: It was an era of various things, 100 years ago.
Sign: Year 2120, November 7th; Temperature 23 degrees
Technician: After that, Ryuujin Town became an ideal village where humans and nature coexist.
Man: Even now, Japan’s medical technology is greatest in the world and even our space engineering has become greatest in the world.
Man: IT IS PRETTY.
Man: THIS BEAUTIFUL EARTH MUST BE SUCCEEDED TO THE FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.
Technician: YES! DOCTOR!
Caption: AN ACCUMULATION OF INDIVIDUAL HISTORIES—THIS MOLDS THE “NOW” OF MANKIND!!
TN: First of all, I would like to make an apology regarding how long it took for me to get to this. I know that most of the other manga were done rather instantly with the big Jump project of the one-shots of its biggest mangaka and I did essentially end up claiming this one because of my work on KochiKame. (which I will get back to hopefully once some other stuff is cleared up) But unfortunately with the way life has been the last couple of months and everything that has been going on, let alone how little I really get the chance to translate manga at times, that sort of explains why I didn’t get to it until now. I should have maybe at least looked at the one-shot sooner, but I just needed time to clear up which it didn’t until…well, now with the end of the year and my next major project not starting up until the new year.
With that said, this one-shot is a quintessential one that emphasizes one of what I have noticed is Akimoto’s major themes in many of his works: the intersection of the past, present and future and the interaction of technology and nature. While I haven’t really reached that point in KochiKame as of yet (it’s still essentially a ‘police comedy’ where I’m at in ’76-’77), much of what I’ve seen of it does emphasize and show his own desire to both express the protection and respect humanity should give to the world around it as is, yet never abandon its curiosity and desire to move forwards into the future. It’s really tough to see it with most of the tale considering it’s about the destructiveness of a dam and how it nearly destroyed Sato’s town, but in a way it was the faults and problems that it caused that allowed for Kumanoi to realize his own mistakes and to protect what he nearly destroyed with his own selfish desire for progress. Kumanoi is a man who for the most part stood for the “progress” aspect in the story (well until the ending) and mostly thought that his dam would be enough to help the countryside, the people and even those of the town. But unfortunately his own desire of blind progress without understanding impact nearly destroyed everything without a better understanding of the life and the structure the world of the village had. It’s sort of tougher, though, to point out where Sato stood in all of this being an eyewitness. You could for the most part imagine her being part of the “anti-technology” aspect of the story with her connection and feelings to the village and her desire to protect her locality, but somehow that doesn’t really feel right to say as such. The tale was not anti-technology, but about protecting and allowing for technology to exist while at the same time allowing for our planet to live and grow and succeed on its own with minimal human impact or impacts that will help it survive as opposed to help destroy it. This balance of technology and nature is very fragile and this tale sort of allowed for it to be displayed in a strange way but one that befits Akimoto, who in his own manga both respects and appreciates the naturalism of Japan and it’s past ways while trying to cope with progress and change, as well as embraces technology and the future and all the excitement it brings and the possibilities of learning from the past and gaining information to befit the future…while living in the now and for the world which we live in. And that probably is the best lesson one can learn from this.
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