Bōken Shōnen (冒険少年?) is a manga series of short stories by Mitsuru Adachi which appeared about once a year in Shogakukan's Big Comic Original between 1998 and 2006. The title translates to "Adventure Boys." All seven stories deal with grown men, each dealing with some aspect of his past. Some of the stories have slight fantasy elements to them, while others use flashbacks. The only common feature is a grown-up protagonist somehow coming face-to-face with his childhood past, in a testament to the loss of youth, the disillusionment of growing old, and nostalgia for better times. In the Adachi pantheon, this is a rare diametric view of his eternal theme of "youth," in this case youth as seen through the lens of the past.
1. Beyond the Door
Masahiko, a small business owner who returns to his hometown after several years' absence, Masahiko begins to look back on the days of his childhood and Doraemon, who helped him navigate his childhood. Masahiko then goes back to remembering helping a man who had stopped a mugger from stealing his briefcase, and how he introduces the man to a mother and young daughter who own a small pharmacy he had just met. Back in the present, Masahiko looks down sadly at the floor and asks Doraemon to "take me to three days ago". It is then we learn that the man he had introduced is actually a con man who he unknowingly helped by recommending him to the mother and daughter. Now they will lose their shop tomorrow and the daughter, who he secretly loves, will never look at him again.
Just when he believes all is lost he realizes that Doraemon had actually granted his wish and, now three days in the past, he is able to warn the daughter just in time; in doing so, he is able to save his relationship and their future date. As he looks out at sky he sees Doraemon for a second and then a second later it turns into a helicopter.
The story starts three friends (Ichi, Shiro, and Nishi) on a vacation drive in order to meet up with Daigo, another old friend. The group is hopelessly lost, which is further aggravated by the fact that they have not really talked in a while. After driving a while they accidentally pass by the abandoned house of another old friend, Mitsuo. Then abruptly they crash into the rock bed of an old river that they recognize as their old childhood hideout, Snake River. One of them tries to say "that's where they found Mitsuo" before he is angrily interrupted by another. Then some of the rocks collapse under them and the car crashes to the bank. We hear about their old friend Mitsuo, who after playing a prank on Daigo ran on the rail of the bridge but accidentally fell off.
After that the group says nothing to anybody about Mitsuo and they believe that is why they being haunted. It is then that they see a ghostly apparition that looks like Mitsuo, who leads them to the bridge of the accident. Then the true story is then revealed: Mitsuo, after the fight, tried to settle their dispute by showing Daigo a trick on the bridge but the moss on the bridge made him slip and fall. Because they didn't say anything, there was an awkward space between them that made the rest of their life with each other uncomfortable. Mitsuo, as his final wish, shows them how pointless that awkwardness was. The story closes with Daigo waiting for his friends, looking at his latest piece of art: a wood sculpture of all five of them.
Kamisato is an average mild mannered worker who lives his life without much conflict. while at work one day, he goes to the bathroom when his boss, Mr. Honjo, comments on his build and asks him if he played any sports. One of his coworkers, Kodama, answers for him, saying the only thing he does is make model trains. When his boss gives him permission to hit him if he is angry he refuses, calmly saying that it is actually his hobby, and allows his coworker to more than playfully punch him in the stomach.
He enters a coffee shop and meets Ms. Takasaka (a coworkers) and when she can't find her wallet he pays for her coffee as a birthday present. She then tells Takamaru that when it his birthday she will pay for his coffee or lunch. The next day, he goes to work and sees Ms. Takasaka againa nd Mr. Honjo who firmly states that he is now courting Ms. Takasaka and if anyone would like to compete he must only say so. Kodama then answers that no one would compete with him, seeing how smart and attractive he is. Many of them agree and congratulate Ms. Takasaka on her success. Kamisota remembers the times when he never lost a match with anyone in wrestling, but when he was challenged by one his victims to fight his meaner older brother, he chickened out and just assumed Takamaru, his sidekick, did as well.
He then shuffles through his mail and sees an invitation to a pro-wrestling match by none other than his old friend Takamaru. He remembers that as a child he would idolize those wrestlers as invincible men. Takamaru it turns on that day fought on his own and lost terribly, and while he had never lost a fight, he had grown into a coward while Takamaru grew into a famous professional wrestler. He then enters the stadium and Takamaru, who had become famous for roughing up the fans, sees Kamisato; instead of greeting him, he punches him in the face. When asked if he is alright, Kamisato smiles and says " He always knew I would come here and get beat up sometime". The next day, Kamisato sees Mr. Honjo and Ms. Takasaka go into a car; instead of politely moving out of the way, he says that today is his birthday and he would like to have lunch with her, to which she happily agrees. Kodama then pops up and asks him what he thinks he is doing trying to talk to Ms. Takasaka. Mr. Honjo offers him the same deal as before but, Kamisato replies he can take responsibility for himself and punches Kodama in the face.
4. Sky Blue Arch
This story is about
6. The Stairs of Time
- ISBN 4091807658, August 2006, 207 pages