Follow, Follow, Follow Me
Kabu no Isaki, volume 4
By Hitoshi Ashinano
The fourth volume of Hitoshi Ashinano’s Kabu no Isaki was published in 2011. There has been no officially sanctioned English edition so far as I know.
When last we saw our characters, Isaki was on his way towards Mt. Fuji, with the package he is delivering for boss Shiro. The package is a mere pretext for the trip. Kajika and Sayori are using the fact that Shiro mistakenly gave Isaki the wrong package as yet another pretext, for following Isaki.
In a world mysteriously ten times larger than in our time, what could go wrong?
Kajika is taken aback at Sayori’s conviction that both of them can squeeze into what turns out to be a 1.5 person tent. She is further disgruntled by Sayori’s inability to wake up early in the morning. Kajika is sure that getting up early is their only chance to catch Isaki before he leaves. That is, if they are all at the same humongous airport, which is not at all clear.
You’d think Kajika would know that Isaki is also not a morning person.…
Both planes make their way towards the Tate Road, which proves to be narrow and dangerous. Because Isaki is taking his time while Sayori and Kajika are doing their best to catch up with Isaki, the women reach the pass first.
The Tate Road should be, but apparently is not, littered with wrecks of planes flown by pilots whose reactions were a bit slower than Sayori’s.
The two planes make their way through the Tate Road. They encounter each other just before the end.
Fooled you! The encounter is not a plane crash. Though it could well have been one. The corridor is one long series of death traps. The pilots were warned away from it, but only in vague terms that were not at all helpful.
While Isaki remembers enough hand-code to make himself understood most of the time, the gestures he gets wrong, he gets very wrong. Hand gestures prove an inefficient method of communication. The only option is to land and compare notes.
Nobody uses radio once they are in the air, for reasons I expect will never be explained.
Beyond 4000 Meters
Kajika and Sayori nearly die proving that the practical ceiling for flying without supplementary oxygen is unchanged.
The brush with death does at least answer my question about atmosphere scale height. In turn that (and the fact nobody is smushed by the gravity) suggests that the density of the Earth dropped enough that the surface gravity remained unchanged. Of course, that only raises more questions.…
Sayori’s estimation of how far she can go between pee stops proves slightly optimistic. Her two friends don’t pick on the reason for her desperation or the consequence of her error in judgement.
One wonders how small plane pilots handle the issue in real life; not all of them can just carry pee bottles, right?
The trio is amazed to discover Gotenba is run by a person who could be Shiro’s twin. Why this would be is unclear; Shiro and the station manager are in no way related.
Paradoxically, it turns out that approaching Mt. Fuji makes it harder to see the mountain, something that can have no philosophical subtext.
The dialogue lampshades the curious similarity between Isaki and Kajika, who have not thus far been said to be related.
Three Tatami Mat Room
The volume ends the way it began, with a group of people sharing facilities that are just a bit too small for the task. Isaki is quite the (oblivious) gentleman, which does not prevent Sayori from misinterpreting and overreacting to at least one suggestion he makes.
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō had an undercurrent of mortality but it was a fairly abstract mortality. Humans faced gradual extinction and personal old age, but day to day life was fairly safe. Isaki no Kabu is the opposite: the species seems to be fine but there’s a good chance one of the many unmarked hazards of this world will bring Isaki’s story to a very abrupt end.…
Please send corrections to jdnicoll at panix dot com.