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Apollo's Song


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Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as "Astro Boy." With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, when he authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.


"More than telling a multifaceted story, Apollo's Song inspires. When the dust settles and the back cover is closed, Tezuka's intent is laid bare to the reader and it's a noble one. Shogo doesn't merely learn a lesson about love and life -- he transcends the agony of both." - "MangaLife"

"Tezuka's work is about as essential and far-reaching as manga gets, and "Apollo's Song" only adds that much more weight to an already massive reputation. Start here, and if you're intrigued, "Ode to Kirihito" and "Buddha "also await you. There's never been anything like Tezuka's body of work, and there probably never will be again." - "Serdar Yegulalp Anime Advanced Media Network "

Five pages into Apollo's Song, after witnessing an army of sperm-men race to impregnate an egg-woman, readers will suss out that this isn't just some manga or a comic book-it's the type of allegorical art that transcends entertainment to make us consider who we are and why we exist. And like a great piece of art, Apollo's Song doesn't exactly make it clear what questions it's trying to answer. This story from the late Tezuka, an anime and manga giant who's been described as the Walt Disney of Japan, follows Shogo, a homicidal teenager with a brain full of mommy issues and intimacy phobias. Thrust into an asylum, Shogo is subjected to hypnosis and shock therapy, both of which trigger dreams that send him on journeys of self-discovery, including one as a Nazi soldier who dies marrying a Jewish prisoner and another where he plays Blue Lagoon on an island with sentient animals. Taken literally, they're odd stories about an odd young man. Yet each of these episodes illustrates (sometimes literally) the dynamics of the Oedipus complex and the societal gender roles in 1970 Japan. While any undergrad can trace these concepts through the Song, the story's beauty is that the characters are so compelling that you care more about where they're going than what they're trying to tell you. Verdict A master class for comics, Apollo's Song should be required reading for all the nerds who think the world ends with Watchmen or The Dark Knight.-Robert Morast, Fargo, ND (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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