Saturday, October 28, 2006



(A quick pause in our Europe series of posts!) Fantastic week for manga fans, as Vertical's GINORMOUS edition of Osamu Tezuka's Ode To Kirihito came out! I picked up my copy Tuesday on my lunch break, and am just diving into it this weekend. I first heard about it from Anne at Vertical during Book Expo America, and am really, really pleased to see the finished product in my hands.

The book is THICK and stylishly-designed (yes, an astounding 822 pages of previously unavailable Tezuka), and features a really rad Chip Kidd cover that smartly uses the Japanese-style obi (see the animated GIF above!). Just how big is the book?? Check this out for scale:

Things tipped in the past, hmmm 3 years?, and I feel so fucking lucky. Tezuka is being treated so well and fine by publishers like Viz (with people like editor Ian Robertson's good work) , and especially Vertical. They do his books proud, and getting to read this particular story is a cool change. I hope that it does well and cements the fact that THERE IS STILL SO MUCH in Tezuka's oeuvre that English-speaking audiences have YET TO SEE!

I'm not into plot summary, but it's a mix of existential anxiety, medical thriller, christ allegory(!) and folktale horror. TIME's comics critic said this in his blurb:

“Tezuka turns his comic book mastery to evil in this terrifying examination of moral decay. Fans of Japanese horror both new and old should not miss this shocking single volume that will completely change Tezuka's American reputation as the Japanese Walt Disney. Brutal, depraved and savage, Kirihito will leave you panting like a beaten dog-man!”

I'll post again once I've finished the entire thing (taking my time to enjoy it, so probably at the end of next week!). Has anyone else read it? What did you think??

Edit : Almost unnecessary, but are you shocked to hear that it was incredible?? I finished it Sunday night in about 3 sittings, and the story did not disappoint. The 'Christ' allegory notions that people keep talking up didn't really materialize, and it was much more like The Fugutive (that's right, with Harrison Ford and drug company scandals!) meets BlackJack, but with body horror and existential crises! A VERY good read, with some of the most avant-garde layout and panel work I've seen from Tezuka to date (Yes, even stranger than Phoenix's more experimental moments!)

Edit 2: A good review from The Comics Review, with a 4-page preview at the bottom!


Anonymous said...

"There's nothing more dangerous than an off-kilter doctor"

Too true, too true.

P.S. Can we have the Maruo update now pleeeaaassseeee.


Anonymous said...

Christ almighty, I can't wait to get my hands on this. I'm a big Tezuka fan anyway and would buy anything of his that's released in English, but the art in the preview images that you linked to looks stunning (particularly the bottom panel of page 376 which is unlike anything I've seen from Tezuka before).

Ryan said...

Adam: Working on it dude! Will be shorter than the previous installments, but hopefully up tonight or tomorrow :)

Anonymous: Yes! that sequence 376-378 is REALLY jarring and beautiful. There are actually a number of sequences just like that-- especially centered around that character and his mental breakdown. It's really the case that English-speaking audiences are just starting to get a taste for the scope and scale of his life's work!