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Growing Up Manga Style: Mythological Reception in Yoshikazu Yasuhiko's Arion Manga

Peer, Ayelet

Editor(s)
Marciniak, Katarzyna

Is Olympus our paradise or our cage which we must ruin? In children’s and young adults’ literature, growing up narratives or coming-of-age stories occupy a considerable part of the genre. The young hero must face difficult challenges, some life-threatening, which he must overcome in order to save others and be saved himself. In order to become truly an adult, he must also find his way alone, or with the help of friends. The crystallization of our hero’s character is constantly refined (and redefined) through his relations with his surroundings: his measuring up to his rivals as well as his interaction with his friends. This literary trope is very common in Japanese medium of manga, especially the one aimed at young boys (shōnen manga). The prepubescent hero often finds himself alone (orphaned or as a cast aside in a dysfunctional family) and he must prove his worth by gaining strength and along the way, growing up. In this paper, I shall review how Arion, an adolescent boy, the alleged son of Poseidon, is fighting his inner and outer demons on his own, in his quest to save his mother in Yoshikazu Yasuhiko 1980’s manga, Arion. In the story, Olympus is a symbol of power, corruption, a broken promise. Our hero must break free from Olympus in order to form his own identity.

Book chapter in the volume: Katarzyna Marciniak, ed., Our Mythical Hope: The Ancient Myths as Medicine for Hardships of Life in Children's and Young Adults' Culture, in the series "Our Mythical Childhood", Warsaw: University of Warsaw Press, 2021, 836 pp. Open Access https://www.wuw.pl/product-eng-16830-Our-Mythical-Hope-The-Ancient-Myths-as-Medicine-for-the-Hardships-of-Life-in-Childrens-and-Young-Adults-Culture-PDF.html This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No 681202 (2016–2022), Our Mythical Childhood... The Reception of Classical Antiquity in Children's and Young Adults' Culture in Response to Regional and Global Challenges, ERC Consolidator Grant led by Katarzyna Marciniak. Project's Website: www.omc.obta.al.uw.edu.pl. The publication is licensed under (CC BY 3.0 PL) (full license available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/pl/legalcode).
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