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Manga / Skyhigh

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Sky High is a fairly obscure seinen manga by Tsutomu Takahashi that was serialized in Weekly Young Jump. It went on to inspire a live-action Japanese series and a film.

Izuko is the gatekeeper between Heaven and Earth. She gives the deceased three choices— they can await reincarnation in heaven, defy death and remain Walking the Earth as a ghost forever, or to curse a human and kill them, and burn in agony eternally in hell. They have 12 days to choose their fate, and can learn things about their lives and the people they once loved's current lives.

The manga tells the story of each victim and what path they take.


Tropes used by the manga:

  • Accidental Murder:
    • Goro Izaki accidentally interrupts his boss's suicide by sword and gets slashed in the throat.
    • One of the deceased is a boxer who has been killed in the ring.
  • Always Someone Better: Although Ryouta was less than enthused about how little Kouji contributed to their duo, he could tell that Kouji had incredible musical talent and (in spite of his own efforts) that the only way he'd get anywhere was by pairing up with him.
  • Blessed with Suck: It's not very fun to have ESP in a world full of ghosts desperate for recognition, particularly since they know you can see and hear them.
  • Body Horror: Sawano Mizuki accidentally drowned by drunkenly falling asleep in her bathtub. Obsessed with her beauty and purity, she said dying in water and leaving a beautiful corpse behind had always been her dream. When she requests to see her body...well, drowning victims who've been in the water awhile don't look so great, let's just say.
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  • Child by Rape: Eugene Miyaguchi is the result of his mother's rape and murder at the hands of an African-American soldier, with his mother having lingered in a coma for six months prior to passing and reaching the gates. She made a deal with Izuko to allow him to be born.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: When two young children are separated from their parents by being killed in a drunk-driving accident, two other people who had died on the bus with them consider cursing their parents to death in order to reunite the family at the gate, at least for a little while, and to keep the father from taking revenge on the driver and going to hell.
  • Dream Walker: It seems that people closely associated with those at the gate can travel it in their dreams—Izuko says that this is due both dreams and that realm being a place of longing.
  • Dream Weaver: The gatekeeper can allow dead people to enter the dreams of others.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • Kino-shita, assisted suicide. Normally suicide gets you sent to hell immediately - Izuko says it's murdering yourself - so she researched this technicality and convinced her friend to do it.
    • The killer in "Room 302" immolates himself and his victim's apartment upon looking around the place and realizing she was completely sincere about wanting to be with him.
  • Emotionless Girl: Izuko seems this way at first.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After years of diffident contributions to his and Ryouta's music, Kouji finally got the inspiration he'd been looking for all his life—when he saw Ryouta's spirit leaving his body after a car crash.
  • Fond Memories That Could Have Been: After learning that he'd sired a (now-deceased) daughter from a one-night stand eighteen years ago, Azuma writes his last book—a year by year account of the life he would have given her if he'd known she existed.
  • Ghostly Goals: A major drive in the individual plots
  • Gold Digger: A hideous man kills his girlfriend because he thinks she was after only his money. Turns out she was both with him for the money, and because she was lonely herself.
  • Goodbye, Cruel World!: Kino-shita sends a note to each one of the Alpha Bitch snobs who bully her telling them that one of them is next, because she will come back to kill.
  • Hell Gate: What the third option eventually leads to.
  • Heroic Spirit: Mai.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: The pregnant's woman son does not go down to hell. She puts her son's spirit into the body of her murderer's newborn son, replacing her murderer's child. It's ambiguous where Noriko goes at the end. The last page leaves us with Izuko looking at the sky. That's the ending we get when someone goes to heaven.
  • Interrupted Suicide: In "Ocean of Trees" a young lady goes to Aokigahara to end her life, but having a killer come after her changes her mind real fast.
  • Invisible to Normals: Ghosts, although it seems they can briefly appear before others if they wish.
  • I See Dead People: Some people, such as Kouji from "A Song" can do this. The gatekeeper can allow people to see the souls of the deceased if she chooses.
  • It Can't Be Helped: After the schoolgirl Kino-shita kills herself because she knows she'll be able to kill the Libby at her school, she realizes that her friend she left behind is overjoyed in her death and then wishes she hadn't decided to drown herself. Izuko simply tells her that's it's too late and it can't be helped, so she might as well just go to heaven without going through with the killing.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Sometimes the choice of whether or not to kill someone is taken out of the deceased's hands by the killer's own foolish actions.
  • Loser Protagonist: Murata, who is stabbed and dies saving a woman from an assault is discovered to have been a voyeur with a number of filthy fetish videos after the police investigate his home. He himself says he'd never done anything worthy of praise in his life.
  • Misplaced Retribution: With the proper object of her vengeance having killed himself, the woman from "Room 302" vents her rage upon the people unwittingly making love on the bed her corpse is hidden under.
  • Neat Freak: Sawano Mizuki became obsessed with beauty and purity after being molested as a child, to the point where she wears gloves while typing at her computer.
  • Nightmare Face: The dead woman from "Room 302" has one of these on the final page as she prepares for damnation.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Those who choose the remain ghosts and live in limbo can only ascend to heaven/reincarnate if people make a memorial to them.
  • See You in Hell: The murdered gold digger's body is left under the hotel room's bed, and when a couple have sex on top of the bed she kills them and is damned for killing someone other than her murderer. Izuko tells her that she'll be eternally lonely there, like Izuko is, and the woman grins and tells her, "See you there."
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: The third option.
  • Spirit World: Where the dead meet Izuko.
  • The Sociopath: In Shinsou, a combination of his father's neglect and his mother's others obsessive coddling have turned Yuuta into this; after they die he starts killing.
  • Take a Third Option: Eugene's mother Yuka, killed while pregnant, pleads with Izuko to allow her innocent child to live. Izuko gives her the "the frozen option"—to spend another sixteen years alive on earth, at the cost of the total annihilation of her soul upon death. She agrees.
  • Together in Death: The two dead souls from "Connection", who choose to kill their murderers and descend into Hell together.
  • Unfinished Business: Revenge fuels a lot of the decisions.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Although she puts on a sad face at the funeral, the lady Murata saved from being killed in "Hero" mocks him in private for his voyeurism fetish and dismisses the act. Even her lover is put off somewhat by her callous attitude, and it nearly makes Murata decide to kill her.
  • Walking the Earth: One of the options.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: One half of a musical group (Kouji) had incredible musical talent, but was waiting for the right inspiration to write—which he found when he and the other half (Ryouta) had a car accident and Kouji saw his partner's spirit separating from his body. The song went on to become a smash hit and Kouji's been famous for the two years Ryouta was in a coma before dying. Ryouta is furious that Kouji wrote a song rather than help him in the aftermath of the crash and with Tranquil Fury asks if he's having fun. No, not all. Kouji, smirking ruefully, explains that he's been suffering all this time.
  • Who Dunnit To Me: The pregnant woman was murdered.
  • Who Will Bell the Cat?: When two parents who have inadvertently raised a killer decide to curse him and end his life before he can murder again, Izuko beings up the fact that they only need one person to curse him and thus be sent to hell.
  • Woman Scorned: The pregnant woman.