Manga / Suicide Island
If you wish to die, you will find yourself on this island

Suicide Island (自殺島 , Jisatsutou) is a seinen manga by Mori Kouji that ran in Young Animal magazine from November 2008 to August 2016, with 17 volumes published. Although somewhat obscure in the West, it's circulation in Japan was 1.5 million copies in October 2012.

Lately, Japan has been suffering from an influx of suicide attempts. Taking care of suicidal patients costs a lot of money, money that the government is not quite willing to spend on them anymore. So when a suicidal patient comes into the hospital bleeding, gagged or high on drugs, they ask a question: Do you really wish to die? If the patient answers yes, a waiver will be signed and everything will go peacefully black...

Only for the patient to awaken in an unknown place! A sign nearby explains their confusion.Since the patient does not wish to continue living, they have been legally declared dead to the government and have been sent to this Island, with everyone having washed their hands of them. Instead of the assisted suicide they were expecting, they have been flung away like garbage, into a corner that nobody cares about.

Of course, the government tells them that anything is allowed on this Island and there are no rules... except one: Do not even think of escaping. Escape is the only prohibition. Everything else is free to go, including ending your life or... assisting others in getting rid of their life.

The story itself starts off when Sei, a young teenager, ends up sent to the Island after another attempted suicide through drug-overdose along with other suicidees. They try to figure out what is going on, how this island is shaped and even begin to simply plan their lives here...

Needs Wiki Magic Love. See Holyland for the author's other manga.

This work contains examples of:

  • Archer Archetype: The protagonist was in the archery club of his school and uses his knowledge to hunt deer on the island. He has shot at least one person with it, driving him into moral self-doubt.
  • Attempted Rape: On the first night Sei is too afraid to speak up during an attempted gang-rape of a fellow islander until it is stopped by Ryou. This later drives him to save Liv from a similar fate.
  • Bewarethe Nice Ones: Quite a few characters are quite meek, even the main character. When push come to shove, however, they won't hesitate to harm and even kill people. Sei even burned down Sawada's village houses to rescue Tomo
  • Break Them by Talking: This is Kai's favorite method of getting people killed is approaching them when they're most fragile and talking them into suicide.
  • Broken Ace: Ryou's natural strength and charisma help the other survivors cling to life, and when threats arise, his presence is usually enough to scare them off. Everyone thinks Ryou so unshakable that they sometimes forget: there's only one way anyone gets to Suicide Island.
  • Broken Bird: The originally-unnamed girl Maria, later renamed Liv, whose background has broken her into what she sees herself: a "doll" that has no meaning in life and sees no reason to continue living.
  • Bungled Suicide: All characters have survived suicide attempts and are now trapped on the island.
  • Cycle of Revenge: This is what Sei's campmates wish to avoid, because they can't sustain any continued fighting.
  • The Cynic: Kai is extremely cynical. He believes that Humans Are Bastards and that the world would be much better off without them. He is in many conflicts with Sei.
  • Defiled Forever: Implied as the reason why Tomo doesn't want to go back even after being rescued by Sei and co. Liv also felt like she was this. she grow out of it, eventually
  • Deserted Island: The island seems to be uninhabited when our heroes arrive. We later learn that there are people here and it was once used as a prison island.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Almost all characters have crossed it at some time, although some of them regain trust.
  • Driven to Suicide: This trope is used in all possible ways:
    • Because of the over-boarding suicides in Japan, the government wanted to wash its hands of them and save money. So they just brought those who survived their suicide attempts to the island and leaving is not allowed.
    • Once on the island, many newcomers choose death again, very often just immediately after arriving here. Those who survive the first days still fantasize about this a lot.
    • Many other participants decide they prefer to restart their lives; others take the plunge and descend into hedonism, despair, and death. Sometimes with assistance. Kai on the other hand wants to convince the survivors to choose death again.
    • It seems to be a Deconstructed Trope with Sei. He tried to kill himself several times but finds a new outlook on life, and thinks that just living itself and being one with the nature is good enough for him.
  • Embodiment of Vice: Sawada is the leader of another camp on the island. He's very arrogant, unscrupulous and even leads his camp into a war with Sei's camp.
  • Entitled to Have You: Sei feels this way about Liv after rescuing her from her would be rapists. He quickly snaps out of it though.
    Sei: I'm the one who protected her. This woman is mine.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Kai, having induced people to commit suicide all along and even murdered someone, doesn't understand why the rest of the main cast want to live so badly. He eventually snaps and tries to kill them all.
  • Evolving Credits: A rare print medium example. At the beginning of many volumes we see a short paragraph on every character which changes after recent plot developments. This is somehow missing in later volumes.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Many characters think this way about the island. Most characters who commit suicide after arriving do so on the first night because of this trope. Sei is one of the few who finds a new outlook and purpose.
  • Flashback: Almost every character gets one. We learn very much about their backstories and why they were Driven to Suicide, but the most we see is still the island.
  • Foil: Kai to Sei, especially after The Reveal that Kai killed one survivor. Both ponders that Humans Are Bastards, but while Kai try to solve the problem by killing, thus removing humans, Sei actively tries to search what roles can the survivor take in the Nature. His answer is to be the top of the food chain to balance the ecosystem.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: The old man in the mountain averts this. He actively avoids human contact, yet is possibly the mentally healthiest person on the island.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Sei is really afraid to become like Sawada and Kai after pondering over his resolve to bring back Tomo from Sawada's camp.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Ryou, after trying to strike out on a raft and discovering that the government will not permit escape.
  • Hikkikomori: Sei was one, locking himself in his room and barely even talking to his parents.
  • Hope Is Scary: Liv. She wants to continue with her life but is very psychologically unstable and has a lot of fear.
  • Human Shield: The defensive tactics employed by Sawada and Kei.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A major theme of the manga is the adherence to first-world morality in the absence of a justice system: is it noble, or naive? What is the true nature of human beings? Sei's own admiration and respect for the forest fauna leads him to compare the worth of their lives with that of his fellow survivors, who often quarrel and cheat each other.
  • Hunter Trapper: Sei's new life. He crafts a bow and goes hunting for deer to feed himself and the group. Ikiru is his always helping dog.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Rumor holds that, at least, the leader of one camp on the other side of the island has fallen to eating human flesh, which leads to Monstrous Cannibalism.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Happens many times, most notably with Liv who is interrupted by Sei and chooses to go on living, although she's psychologically unstable.
  • Island Of Misfit Everything: It's an island with people who rather chose death than to live in the outside world (Japan).
  • Island With A Dark Secret: The entire Island is unknown, except to the people on it and the higher-ups in the government. Outside of that, it first seems like a simple island that the suicidees are being dropped in, but according to the old man in the mountains, this island was originally a place to bring serial killers and murderers to.
  • It's All About Me / The Sociopath: Sawada again. He shows no mercy or remorse when he goes to war with Sei and treats his camp very badly.
  • The Leader: In Sei's commune, Ryou is the chief of the village. When he got cold feet because of Sawada, some schmuck try to replace him and leads an attack to Sawada's camp, but it fails. Sei can also be seen like this, as he's one of few people the commune listens to.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Kai tries to convince anybody to be The Cynic and a Straw Nihilist. He's an adept of Break Them by Talking and quite a good one at that.
  • Meaningful Name: "Sei" means life, "Ikiru" (= his dog) means to live and Liv is self-explanatory. They all form a team by the second half of the story and are the characters who most embody life.
  • Meaningful Rename: There's a girl whose name hadn't been revealed for some time. When she eventually admits her past to him, revealing her name to be Maria and how she hates the name, Sei gives her the name Liv.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: Implied and used by said leader to control his camp. And quite effectively too.
    Sawada: (After killing someone with Molotov Cocktail) Tonight I'll eat meat for the first time in a long time.
  • Nature Hero: Sei, eventually. He begins to love the forest and moves all across the island.
  • The Needs of the Many: The survivors has developed into this since they decide to be alive, adopting the rule that those who don't work don't get to eat. There are those who just simply take food rather than earn it, but they are losing ground against the rest.
  • Premiseville: It's called "suicide island" and is about suicide.
  • Rape as Backstory: For at least one character, if not more.
  • Red Pill, Blue Pill: The darkest possible version of this trope and inverted: Suicide attempters are asked if they want to live - if they say yes they'll return to their former life, if they say no they are brought to suicide island.
  • Redemption Equals Death: For Yoshimura.
  • Robinsonade: They are all stranded on the island and have to make some kind of living, at least those who don't just choose death right away.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: The island was once inhabited but now there are just ruins of all the buildings (for example a school) left over.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Downplayed. Sei and Liv leave the commune after having arguments about Tomo to avoid infighting while still in the midst of threat from Sawada's group. It caused quite a stir, though.
  • Sex Slave: The fate of the women who ended up on Sawada's side of the island.
  • Shown Their Work: The author puts plenty of text explaining things, ranging from the "proper" way to cut your wrists if you want to die, how to make a bow and hunt deer with it, what goat meat tastes like, etc.
  • Small, Secluded World: The island is not big but you'd quite some time get around. They try to leave but can't, because the Japanese government patrols the sea and shoots everybody on sight.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Liv or Lif?
  • Stay in the Kitchen: The view most male characters hold in regard to the female population on the island.
    • When Tomo comes out as transgender, a characters first response is saying sorry for having forced her to help protect the group with the other men. Kai takes this up to eleven before being told to shut it by Ryou.
    • When war breaks out between Sawada's faction and the good guys the women are taught archery by Sei.
      • Of course, it can be because the guys knows what WILL happen to the girls if they're captured....
    • Averted with Liv, who also went to rescue Tomo with Sei.
  • Straw Nihilist: Kai. He believes firmly that humans have no place in the world, saying that since the world is so beautiful, why is mankind even on Earth to begin with? He doesn't think that mankind has anything to contribute to the world. He even tries to kill the entire group just because he felt like it.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Sei knows a lot about hunting and preparing meat for being a self taught beginner. Doubles with informed disability.
  • Suicide Dare: Kai does this with multiple characters. When he fails he wants to kill them all.
  • Suicide Is Painless: Kai believes this firmly and is not shy to tell other people. He seems to be longing for death a lot.
  • Team Pet: Ikiru is Sei's hunting dog, but the other characters like him too.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Subverted, as it looks like only people under around 20 are on the island, but it later turns out that one older guy is still living here, who is still left over from the time when prisoners were sent to the island.
  • That Woman Is Dead: One of the survivors tries to fully dissociate from her past, to the extent that she refuses to be named. Sei later helps her to a Meaningful Rename as she decides to live anew.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Sei when he thinks he accidentally caused someone to fall, didn't help him and ended up dying. Happens again when Sei simply injures someone with an arrow, albeit the type of injury being practicaly a death sentence on the island.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: Sei tried to kill himself several times but on the island he finds a new outlook on life as hunter of deer and does not want to die anymore.
  • Transgender: Tomo's deepest secret, and reason for being on the island.
  • Unperson: As far as the government is concerned, everyone who ends up on that island does not exist anymore.
  • We Usedto Be Friends: Kai and Sei were friends, until Kai started to drive others to suicide and betray the village
  • You Can't Go Home Again: What's basically posted by Japanese Government at the docks for newcomers to read.