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Manga / Gaku

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Cool, awesome, astonishing story about climbers and rescuers! Climb easy and find your own adventure!

Gaku is a seinen manga by Ishizuka Shinichi, which was serialized in Big Comic Original from 2003 to 2012.

The story is about Shimazaki Sampo, a cheery fellow who traveled the world climbing mountains, then came home to Japan to be a volunteer mountaineering rescuer. Sampo is basically a mountain geek with infectious enthusiasm for mountaineering, despite having run into a number of tragedies while climbing. He also has a knack for running into people on the mountain just at the moment when they need his help the most, whether he's on duty or just climbing for pleasure.

Despite being extremely popular in Japan, Gaku is barely known in the English-speaking manga fandom. In May, a live-action adaptation will make its theater debut.


Gaku provides examples of:

  • Busman's Holiday : Sampo essentially does nothing else than climb mountains, whether for his work as a volunteer rescuer or for pleasure. A not-insignificant number of his rescues are done while he's off-duty or not on call.
  • Catchphrase : "Yoku ganbatta na!" or "You did your best!" is what Sampo says to his rescuees.
  • Engrish : Some of what Sampo's English-speaking buddies say is grammatically and idiomatically correct... some of it isn't.
    • Narm : What might have been a touching chapter is ruined when Sampo says, in Engrish, while carrying a man on his back who has just died of grievous injuries... "Soooooo saaaaad."
  • Just in Time : Sampo lives and breathes this trope, to the point where he shows up Just in Time... to catch a photographer's falling tripod and tell him to pose for the timer.
  • Must Have Caffeine : Sampo isn't the belligerent type at all, but he clearly runs on coffee.
  • Scenery Porn : There's plenty of it.