In the realm of manga that transcends genres and captures the essence of human adventure, "The Summit of the Gods" stands tall. Authored by the legendary Jiro Taniguchi, this five-volume masterpiece takes readers on an exhilarating journey into the world of mountaineering, mystery, and self-discovery.
A Historical Odyssey
"The Summit of the Gods," or "Kamigami no Itadaki" in Japanese, is a historical manga series that originally unfolded between the pages of Business Jump, a magazine published by Shueisha. The serialized run commenced in May 2000 and reached its summit in the July 2003 issue. The narrative revolves around Fukamachi, a photographer who stumbles upon a camera believed to belong to George Mallory, an enigmatic mountaineer who vanished on Mount Everest. Fukamachi, accompanied by his friend Habu Joji, embarks on a perilous mountain-climbing adventure that not only explores the physical challenges of Everest but also delves into the mysteries surrounding Mallory's disappearance.
The manga was later compiled into five tankōbon volumes, initially published from December 2000 to March 2003. A bunkoban edition followed between October 2006 and January 2007. The global audience had the chance to immerse themselves in this gripping tale when the English version was licensed by Fanfare/Ponent Mon in 2007, with the first volume released on July 23, 2009, and the final volume hitting shelves on July 31, 2015. This international success also saw translations into French, German, and Spanish, widening its reach and captivating readers around the world.
Critical Acclaim and Recognition
"The Summit of the Gods" has earned its place among the manga elite, garnering praise for its powerful illustrations and immersive storytelling. In 2001, it received the Agency for Cultural Affairs' award for excellence at the Japan Media Arts Festival, with special commendation for transporting readers into the heart of the mountains through its visuals.
The English adaptation of the series didn't go unnoticed either, earning a nomination for the Ignatz Award for Outstanding Graphic Novel and Outstanding Series in 2010. The fourth English volume also received a nomination at the 2014 Eisner Award in the category of "Best U.S. Edition of International Material—Asia."
The Cinematic Ascent: Live-Action and Animated Adaptations
"The Summit of the Gods" made its mark beyond the pages of manga with a live-action film adaptation titled "Everest: Kamigami no Itadaki." Directed by Hideyuki Hirayama and featuring Junichi Okada, Hiroshi Abe, and Machiko Ono, the film was released on March 12, 2016, grossing an impressive ¥1.26 billion.
Expanding its horizons even further, the manga inspired an international co-production for an animated film. Initially announced in January 2015, the film took shape under the direction of Éric Valli and Jean-Christophe Roger. However, by June 2020, Patrick Imbert stepped in as the director, leading a team with a vision to bring this captivating story to life. In a significant move, Netflix confirmed its role in distributing the animated film to select U.S. theaters on November 24, 2021, followed by a streaming debut on November 30.
"The Summit of the Gods" continues to captivate audiences, transcending the boundaries of manga and making its mark on the global stage through gripping narratives and stunning visuals. Whether you're a manga enthusiast or a film buff, this series promises an unforgettable journey into the heights of human resilience and the mysteries that shroud the world's highest peaks.