[Wrote this a year ago on MAL so why not post it here now that we can review manga. Not in the mood to re-write it.] This is not a typical sports manga. There is no friendship, no team spirit, no working towards the same goal. It's more psychological than sports. The goal of climbing is not to beat the opponent, it is to reach the top of a mountain. That is usually done in a team of two or more people, so you would expect some team dynamics at least, but that is not the case with Kokou no Hito. The protagonist Mori Buntarou climbs alone and over the span of the story you learn about his past and why he pushes everyone away and isolates himself. It starts like any normal sports manga would. We have the amateur climber Mori who has great potential, we have the rival, we have the love interest, we even have a school climbing club. That all changes after a certain event that will show the real tone of the manga. Everything that can go wrong goes wrong. It tries to have so many harsh realities about life that it comes off as unrealistic sometimes, because they come out of nowhere and there is no explanation or foreshadowing for them. It tries to shock you and to make that effect stronger the author uses a lot of time skips. And I mean A LOT. Sometimes it is just a few days, but it can go up to years that just get skipped. It works a few times, but when you use time skips that often the characters suffer under it. It can seem annoying and can ruin the enjoyment of scenes, but there is a reason behind it. The time skips are the main reason the manga keeps you invested in it. When the story reaches a point where it seems boring or slow, the time skips hit hard and keep you on the tip of your toes wanting to read as fast as possible to know just what the hell happened in the time that was skipped. But time skips are not the only device used by the author. He uses a lot of transitions, metaphors, allusions and literal passages from poems and books. He tries to express extreme feelings of joy and euphoria in very weird and memorable ways and uses a lot of obscure art to back that up. The one that I liked the best was when the sun was rising over a mountain that was climbed by a character. To show just what he was feeling in that moment the author drew an orchestra that followed the sunrise with its performance. It was a new experience for me and really improved the manga. http://imgur.com/a/qJ2js But back to the characters. Because of the time skips characters change and characters that were introduced in previous chapters just disappear. The author tends to make his characters change completely in the blink of an eye. That is one of my biggest gripes with the story. It is unreasonable how the characters develop, because you are not there when they do. It is supposed to shock you, but you just cannot make a connection with the characters and thus do not care about their changes. The character that was developed the best is Mori, but even he suffers from that problem. Well in conclusion I have to say Kokou no Hito is no ordinary manga. Its use of stilystic devices remind of a poem and really made the manga for me. If not for them I would have given it a 6-7/10, because of the sudden time skips and changes in characters, but as it is it deserves a 8/10. I highly recommend it if you are tired of usual sports manga and want something with more focus on the mind of the protagonist and with a bit more realism and mature themes (edge).
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