This biographical manga is a giant. It clocks in around 900 pages, more so when you consider all the info in the back and the foreword from the translator. I will be upfront and tell you that at the time of writing this review, I have only completed the first two chapters which is over half way through the book. The reason I’m not going to finish it before writing my review is simple. It’s a biography. The twists and turns in Tezuka’s life are to be enjoyed and appreciated by the reader and not something for me to judge. I read enough to talk competently about the material and rather than hold my review, I’d rather get this out there so others can learn and possibly appreciate the content as well.
Here’s my big secret too… I’ve never read or watched anything from Osamu Tezuka aka the God of Manga. But I really want to now. In fact, I want to read as much of his work as I can find because this biography has given me a new appreciation and understanding of his work. Previously I was just put off by his art style. That’s no longer the case since this entire biography is done in his art style. The narrator is even one of Tezuka’s characters, Shunsaku Ban.
I’m not going to recap what I have read. The title of the book tells you everything about the content. This story follows Tezuka throughout his entire life and with that comes some good and some bad aspects of the book. The good is that if you’re interested in biographies or Tezuka, then you’re going to get a lot of information. At times, the bad is that there are some dull points because no one’s life is thrilling or entertaining 24/7.
However, the pacing for The Osamu Tezuka Story keeps this biography from hitting too many of those low points. That and Tezuka’s life is pretty damn impressive. Another thing that benefits the story and the reader is that each page is kept to minimum text. There’s no exposition dumps or giant factoids. Rather the story and art work together. Speaking of the art, it embraces Tezuka’s storytelling. This is definitely one of the most interesting biographies I’ve read in that it still feels like a manga. The art and story still work together, and the art does it’s job while the narration does its own.
What it boils down to, though, is your interest. If you’re not interested in manga or comics or biographies, then you’re not going to sit down and enjoy all 900 pages of this. If you already have a pre-existing knowledge of Tezuka’s work and life, then you’re sure to love and enjoy reading his journey. Then there are people like me. I’ve always heard praise for Tezuka. I even know several of his properties, more than I realized. Now I do. Now I know and at least somewhat understand how this man captivated the world.
I have every intention of finishing this book, but now that I’ve finished the review I can sit back and just enjoy the read. Which is something I hope you will do too.
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The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime Creators: Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions Translator: Frederik. L. Schodt Publisher: Stone Bridge Press Price: $29.99 Format: TPB; Print