“Dark Green”, Old Manga of Story within Dreams: Foreseeing the World of Modern Internet in the 1980s
Some new world views that were brought about by the proliferation of the internet include virtual reality as shown in the movie “The Matrix”.
However, before the proliferation of the internet, one manga was actually published in Japan in the 1980’s that foresaw such a world.
The only difference from the world depicted in the manga and that of the internet is that the world in the manga is the dream world that we see while sleeping, not a cyber space.
That is manga “Dark Green” we are introducing this time.
The dream appears as if it was another world, and people start calling it “R-dreams”.
It is truly a dream world; thought becomes reality, unrealistic landscapes appear suddenly, and people in the world can communicate beyond the barriers of language.
But some people can remember R-dreams while others cannot.
And invaders called “Zell” appears in the R-dreams and all mankind would have to fight them within the R-dreams.
When a person dies fighting in the R-dreams, the person falls in persistent vegetative state in the real world, effectively “dead”, too.
When a person becomes unable to wake up from the R-dreams, the consequences are the same and the person falls into a vegetative state.
Initially Hokuto didn’t have memories of what happened in the R-dreams, but an incident triggers his ability to maintain his real-world consciousness of Hokuto Nishiogi in the R-dreams, too.
He tags along with a boy Ryuon, the mightiest warrior in the R-dreams. Later Hokuto becomes acquainted with a golden-skinned girl Myurou, who is an archer, and he starts fighting the Zell.
Both Ryuon and Myurou have forgotten who they are in the real world, and they proceed deeper in the R-dreams in order to find who they are in the real world.
1. Hokuto Nishiogi
In the real world he is a 20 year-old male who has been unable to be accepted to an art college, and is still trying.
He is a poor student, who is continuing to study for the entrance examination with his parents’ financial support.
However, as “Warrior Hokuto” in the R-dreams, he is above average and may be classified as a strong warrior.
When he brings Hokuto Nishiogi’s consciousness from the real world into the R-dreams, he loses memories of previous combats as Warrior Hokuto.
He is silver-haired, and his age appears to be around puberty.
He is unable to return to the real world, and what’s worse, he doesn’t retain memories of the real world.
He likes and trusts Hokuto, and always hangs around with him.
She speaks like a boy and her behaviors are also boyish.
She uses bow and arrows and she is as strong as Hokuto.
She loves Hokuto.
Her drawing style has a feminine delicate touch and it is in the shojo manga (manga for girls) style. However the content is pretty hardcore science fiction, and they include shocking death scenes despite her delicate style of drawing.
The R-dreams that appear in the story are very similar to the internet, which networks throughout the world.
Yet the publication of this work was between 1983 and 1988, and it is before the internet spread in Japan.
One may say the depiction has something in common with the movie “The Matrix”.
And the R-dreams are a well-structured multi-layered world, and its existence itself has a significant meaning in this manga.
The story focuses on the R-dreams from the beginning to the middle.
In the latter half, the real world and the R-dreams start to link and the finely crafted settings will amaze readers.
It is a little old, but the story will very well resonate with readers even today.
Incidentally a sequel to this story exists and was published in a commercial magazine. However a sequel to the sequel was presented in a non-commercial coterie magazine.