cover image The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime

Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions, trans. from the Japanese by Frederik L. Schodt. Stone Bridge, $29.95 (914p) ISBN 978-1-61172-025-9

Osamu Tezuka (1928–1989), the “god of manga” and creator of such characters as Astro Boy, looms like a colossus over Japanese comics and animation. His manga biography is fittingly massive, dramatizing the artist’s life over some 900 pages of cheery cartoon action. As a boy in the city of Takarazuka, Tezuka draws comics, devours science fiction, and becomes a lifelong fan of his town’s famous all-female theater. He enrolls in medical school, but a cartooning career beckons. From there, much of the narrative consists of Tezuka drawing feverishly while editors prowl outside his studio waiting on deadlines. But even at its most repetitive, the book captures its subject’s tireless genius through WWII, the lean postwar years, and the emergence of Japan as a superpower. The artist, Tezuka’s longtime assistant Ban, draws in an accurate recreation of Tezuka’s style, although not quite able to match the easy fluidity of the master. Legendary manga scholar Schodt provides a first-rate translation. (Aug.)