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Manga: Jin

Jin (仁) is a manga by Murakami Motoka.

Minakata Jin is a brilliant brain surgeon in contemporary Tokyo. One day, after operating a patient with a freak brain tumor, he starts hearing strange voices, and all of a sudden he finds himself transported 140 years into the past. One minute he was in the hospital he works at, the next he's in a grove, while men are having a swordfight mere meters away. He soon figures out he is stranded at the end of the Tokugawa era, a few years before the beginning of the Meiji era.

Before long he casts aside philosophical questions about changing the course of history and whatnot; with a cholera epidemic in full swing, he applies his medical knowledge and fast-forwards the development of germ theory by several decades. As he becomes increasingly famous, he attracts the attention of various political factions and eventually takes sides.

A Live Action TV show called JIN has been made of it in 2009.


Contains examples of:

  • Alternate History: For better or worse, Jin's involvement in the past has invariably altered the course of Japan's history. And he knows it, whether he directly causes the changes or not.
    • And one of those results turns out to have large consequences. The Tokugawa Shogunate survives, with the Meiji Restoration as we know it all but aborted.
  • Blade on a Stick: Saki's mother uses a naginata for self-defense. And is apparently totally ready to put it into an intruder on a moment's notice.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Averted with the justification that hair and clothing styles are really limited in Edo. Aside from that, characters in crowd scenes are consistently given unique facial expressions and posture - no two characters ever actually look the same, and are clearly having different reactions to unfolding events.
  • Cat Smile: Seen on one occasion, a rare use of a contemporary graphic convention in a series that uses a classic/realist style.
  • Dream Sequence: Jin dreams that he gets to show 21st century Tokyo to Saki. He appears to regularly dream about his old life as well.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: In order to evade hired assassins, Jin and Saki hide in a grove used as a make-out place, and in order to blend in, lock in embrace.
    • Amusingly, Jin and Saki are the only couple that are merely embracing — and said assassins leave with their tails between their legs when they're mocked by the couples whose more-than-making out was interrupted, in a Crowning Moment of Funny.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Pre-Meiji Japanese society takes some getting used to. (Manga!Jin appears to have worked things out while rushing to operate on Kyoutaro; Live-Action!Jin is still struggling with it through the cholera epidemic.)
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: The unspoken attraction between Jin and Saki gets ramped up a notch when Jin nurses a wounded Saki and gets to see her topless. Then it gets ramped up another notch when Jin comes down with cholera and has to be nursed by Saki, who sees of him much more than was proper for a girl of her upbringing.
    • Actually happens a few times throughout the series, to varying degrees of 'romance'. Nokaze seems to have gotten it by proxy for Jin, Ki'ichi fever-dreams that Jin's his dad, Kokitsu and O-Koma actively crush on him for a while... As time passes, it seems that the fastest way to raise an army would be to tell the population of Edo, "Doctor Minakata is in danger and needs your help."
  • Furo Scene: Played entirely for non-comedic effect in Volume 9... until Jin has to ask everyone to cover themselves up.
  • Giving Radio to the Romans:
    • Jin starts off sharing modern surgical techniques, instrument design, sanitation, and low-tech treatments (that is, the absolute best they can do given the technical limitations of the era, not 'phoning it in') for cholera and malnutrition. When he runs up against syphilis, however, Jin's knowledge butts up against the limits of his era's technological toolkit. Even though he eventually manages to create a version of penicillin, it's weak compared to modern antibiotics and can only be produced in limited quantities and with great effort.
      • However, he later remembers a proposed method, which not only works but it is capable of being produced in large quantities even in the technologically restricted pre-Meiji era, of concentrating the penicillin to the point where it is just shy of being as effective as most antibacterial lotions today.
    • While for the first four volumes Jin intermittently shares his knowledge, depending mainly on what's required to solve the problem of the week, Ogata-sensei begs on his deathbed for Jin to push forward the world's knowledge of medicine as far as possible before Jin's own death... and that Jin never return to the future if the chance comes up. Jin agrees wholeheartedly to both requests.
  • High-Class Call Girl: Nokaze, and it permeates her every move and interaction.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Jin interacts with Sakamoto Ryoma and other famous figures of the period.
  • Honor Before Reason: Constantly, and the primary source of red tape Jin runs into. On a few occasions, Jin (or someone close by) has to put their life on the line just so he can operate - the agreement being that if the patient dies, so does he. It tapers off as time passes, after picks up a reputation as someone who can reliably drag people back from the brink of death.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Saki. And, as it turns out, Nokaze and Ei as well. Nokaze 'sells herself', as she puts it, to a French merchant to get the money needed to keep Jin safe while he's in prison. They appear to be Happily Married and into charity work.
  • Intimate Healing: See above.
  • Jidai Geki
  • Live-Action Adaptation: See here. Changes just about everything about the story - most prominently ramping up the level of antagonism Jin has to overcome, as well as the characters and the order of some events - to the extent that it and the manga aren't in the same genre.
  • Medieval Morons: Largely averted. Jin's medical skills are frequently not trusted as much as they really ought to be, but that's because he's doing things so far and above the pre-Meiji period that the only way they can believe it is to see it. Doctors get a fair amount of respect, Jin is eventually able to get Cattle Punk versions of 2000-era medical tools made, etc.
  • Obsolete Mentor: Pretty much everyone in the pre-Meiji Era medical profession feels this way when they learn what Jin can do. Some eagerly learn from Jin. Others try to kill him to as to not lose everything they've ever worked for. At least one person does both.
  • Platonic Prostitution: His friend hires a prostitute on Jin's behalf, but the latter is too passed out from drink to even wake up when she enters his bed. The next morning, she returns the money.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: Kyotaro in the TV show. (His mother and sister will be tossed onto the streets if he dies. In comparison, Manga!Kyoutaro doesn't remain conscious long enough to say so much.)
  • Red Light District: Jin makes repeated visits, mostly but not solely for business, to Yoshiwara.
    • The manga itself apparently started when Murakami researched the inhabitants of such districts, then felt so terrible for them that he created the story to give them a better ending.
  • Rule of Funny: Murakami will give characters comical expressions if there's a joke to be had (usually Ryouma, who gets a few funny moments - Live-Action!Ryouma even gets whole scenes like this).
  • Running Gag: Every time Jin has to surgically open someone's stomach or neck up, someone nearby (possibly the patient) will act as though he's cutting that area with a sword.
  • Samurai: Their age is ending... or is it?
  • Temporal Mutability: Jin doesn't long agonize about the consequences of changing the past. He sets to apply his expertise in modern medicine to improve people's lives, and alters Japanese history in the process.
  • Trapped in the Past: Although he's not terribly broken up about it, except when it comes to him lacking the tools necessary to help sick people.
  • What Year Is This?:
    Jin: "By the way, what year is this?
    Saki: "Why, this year is year two of Bunkyuu Era."
  • X Meets Y: Black Jack meets A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Jin develops a relationship with Saki, the traditionally-educated daughter of a samurai family... though she gradually averts the trope by becoming his assistant.
    • In an amusing scene involving him facing down a Naginata, it turns out that her mother Ei is also this.

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alternative title(s): Jin
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