The Doctor Is (J)IN!
or, Love in the Time of Korori and Syphilis (and Penicillin, too!)
by Ender’s Girl
Osawa Takao, Ayase Haruka, Nakatani Miki, Uchino Masaaki, Takeda Tetsuya, Koide Keisuke, Aso Yumi, Kiritani Kenta, Kohinata Fumiyo
In a Nutshell:
A run-in with a mysterious patient leads to a freak accident that zaps Tokyo neurosurgeon Minakata Jin back through time and into 19th-century Edo, where he finds himself in the turbulent last days of the Tokugawa shogunate. Bent on finding a way to return to the present, Jin must meanwhile learn to survive in this strange world of samurai and courtesans, assassins and revolutionaries, cholera outbreaks and syphilis, and periodic city fires. But as the Edoites come to rely more and more on his “futuristic” medical expertise, Jin sees a new moral dilemma arising: should he continue saving lives with technology from his time, knowing full well his actions may alter the course of History forever?
(SpoilLert: Very spoilery!)
“Marvin, you gotta play. See that’s where they [Marty’s parents] kiss for the first time on the dance floor. And if there’s no music, they can’t dance. If they can’t dance, they can’t kiss. If they can’t kiss they can’t fall in love, and I’m history.”
– Marty McFly in Back to the Future (1985)
Ohohoho, time travel (or more accurately, space-time travel) — so we meet again! It’s the Ultimate!Cosmic!Conundrum! that every astrophysicist has grappled with but failed to fully explain (let alone prove). This concept — whether or not even possible in our universe — remains popular in fiction either as the central theme of a story, or just as a plot device. In my Proposal Daisakusen review I touched on the paradoxical loopholes and inherent inadequacies of time pretzels — although one will find a whole suite of theories to justify these loopholes, such as the many-worlds interpretation, or the Novikov self-consistency principle, to name a few. And although the attainability of time travel remains in dispute, its entertainment value cannot be gainsaid — especially when this motif is handled responsibly: i.e. when there is a real effort to explore its manifold repercussions, as well as open up new ethical predicaments for the protagonist/s to contend with.