This paper discusses Hiromi Goto’s Half World, a highly regarded work of young-adult fiction, seeking to analyze the kinds of alternative identity that are presented in the work. I examine the representation of the novel’s setting, the unearthly “Half World,” and consider the meaning conferred on the weird monsters that rule there. I also focus on the animals that use all of their power to protect the protagonist.
Half World, with its interweaving diverse cultures and religions, can be seen as an adventure story that revolutionizes the traditional narrative patterns of youth literature, much like Water of Possibility. However, this novel greatly differs from Goto’s previous books, in that Goto obfuscates awareness of transcending race and culture as well as the dualities of good / evil and life / death, depicting these in terms of questions about the very norms created by humans that transcend space-time. Goto achieves this through a representation of the weird world called the“ Half World,” with its representations of crows and rats, creatures that tend to invoke disgust while also being familiar to the reader. Goto also presents young readers with the despair of the human spirit, and the need to find one’s own ideals and to consider one’s life goals. Goto presents this to young people who will soon have to live independently and who must stand on their own two feet, by featuring strange non-human beings as the rulers of an alternative dimension known as the “Half World,” which symbolize evil, filth, and greed. Therefore, Half World is a story of self-discovery that can be seen as a means for Goto to convey the importance of understanding oneself in the context of reality and relationships with others, and the importance of acquiring one’s own identity.