Sickness Unto Death (manga)
|Sickness Unto Death|
Cover of the first volume of Sickness Unto Death
(Shi ni Itaru Yamai)
|Written by||Hikaru Asada|
|Illustrated by||Takahiro Seguchi|
|Published||February 26, 2010|
Sickness Unto Death (Japanese: 死に至る病 Hepburn: Shi ni Itaru Yamai?) is a Japanese manga series written by Hikaru Asada and illustrated by Takahiro Seguchi. A two-volume compilation by Hakusensha was published on February 26, 2010. Vertical published the manga in the United States, releasing volume 1 on September 24 and volume 2 on November 19, 2013. The manga's title is taken from Søren Kierkegaard's book The Sickness Unto Death, which the character of Kazuma utilizes at various points throughout the manga.
The manga's story is told partially through the flashbacks of Kazuma, a psychologist. He is at the ruins of a stately mansion, where he begins to tell one of his students about his very first patient: Emiru. The two had met by chance while Kazuma was still in school, as Emiru had passed out on the sidewalk. He is surprised when he later discovers that she is the owner of the mansion he will be boarding at. Kazuma finds that Emiru is wasting away from an unknown mental illness that caused her hair to turn white and for her to go from a formerly peppy high school girl into a shell of her former self. He vows to help cure her and initially begins to do so with the help of his college professor, who is aware of Emiru's case. As he helps treat Emiru, the two fall in love and begin a romantic and sexual relationship. This initially worries Kazuma, but he comes to terms with the idea of sleeping with someone he was originally seeing as a patient and instead plans to support Emiru as a lover rather than a doctor.
As the series progresses, Kazuma finds that Emiru's parents both died when she was about four years old. Kazuma also discovers that the reason for her mental illness is that Emiru witnessed her father commit suicide in despair over his wife's passing. Unaware of what suicide actually meant, Emiru tried to hang herself with a jump rope in an attempt to see her parents, but failed. This caused the young child to fall into a depression and eventually create a split personality because she could not deal with the idea that she was still alive and that her parents were not. Realizing this, Kazuma is stricken because he knows that curing Emiru would result in bringing back the "original" Emiru, who is shown to have the mentality of her four-year-old self. There is a strong chance that the "Emiru" he knew would no longer exist or would end up integrated into the personality of the original Emiru. As her original personality begins to emerge more, Kazuma tries to make the original personality dormant again by trying to replicate the suicide attempt made by the original Emiru. This fails and Kazuma is forced to come to the realization that he will not be able to save the "Emiru" he has come to love.
Kazuma eventually manages to reconcile the problems of his "Emiru" by showing that he acknowledges her identity as separate from the original Emiru. As she grew older, the false personality began to realize that she was not the true Emiru and that since this concept had gone undetected for years, caused her a significant amount of pain as she realized that everyone liked a person that did not really exist. "Emiru" then passes out of the psyche of the original Emiru, leaving her with her original childlike personality. After that point Emiru was transferred into the care of Kazuma's professor and began to flourish. He still comes into occasional contact with Emiru, as she is shown to have run into Kazuma and his student in the ruins of her former home. She isn't able to immediately recognize Kazuma, but is capable of caring for herself to the point where she can go out on her own.
Critical reception has been mixed. Brad Rice of Japanator gave it a 9.0, commenting that while the manga would be unlikely to have "true lasting value", it will be "absolutely captivating [in the time you read it]". In contrast, Anime News Network and Otaku USA both gave more mixed reviews, with the reviewer for Otaku USA stating that "While the fast pace is welcome, the story itself isn't quite as gripping as it should be, and Takahiro Seguchi's more-than-competent artwork is pretty, but lacks a spark of its own."
- "Vertical Adds Satoshi Kon's Kaikisen Manga, Sickness Unto Death". Anime News Network. 2013-02-16. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- Brad Rice (2013-11-21). "Review: Sickness Unto Death". Japanator. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- 死に至る病 1 (in Japanese). S-book.net. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- 死に至る病 2 (in Japanese). S-book.net. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- "North American Anime, Manga Releases, September 22-28". Anime News Network. 2013-09-24. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- "North American Anime, Manga Releases, November 17-23". Anime News Network. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- Carlo Santos (2013-10-08). "RIGHT TURN ONLY!! Get Down With the Sickness". Anime News Network. Retrieved 2013-12-13.
- Luster, Joseph. "Sickness Unto Death vol. 1 (REVIEW)". Otaku USA. Retrieved 14 December 2013.