TITLE: The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga and Anime
YEAR: July 2016
COMPANY: Stonebridge Press
By Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions
Translation by Frederik L. Schodt
I have interviewed numerous manga creators and anime professionals in my lifetime and I always purchase or read a lot of books and interviews (most of often in Japanese) as a resource.
While there are books out there released in the US that are academic (a deep introspective of their oeuvre) to books collecting interviews of those working in the manga/anime industry, there are very few that really go into detail of one’s life.
When it comes to Osamu Tezuka, when I read in a Japanese article that there was a book detailing his life in manga format, suffice to say, I couldn’t wait to read it.
And having read the book, I absolutely adore it.
There are people who are more interested in one’s approach to their famous works when it comes to books. As a cineaste, I purchase a lot of books of auteurs to know more about their mindset when they directed a film and their memories of it.
For “The Osamu Tezuka Story”, this is a book that goes into his life beginning as a child, how and why he appreciates anime and manga, space, storytelling and his relationship with his family, his friends.
And you get to see how he evolved from a child, to a teenager, to an adult and later in his life.
From his childhood of entertaining children with his drawings and stories, his creativity and imagination that not only entertained his friends but his fellow teachers. To his unruly hair that would become an inspiration for “Tetsuwan Atom”. But I also loved the historical aspect and references to manga, songs, movies from his time and seeing those small tidbits of Japanese pop culture being featured.
You go through many happy moments but also sad moments in Osamu Tezuka’s life, but it’s that slice of life, Osama Tezuka growing up and seeing the various influences in his life. It really goes into many details of his personal and professional life that I found refreshing and so enjoyable.
There are those who gave negative reviews finding it a bore, to each their own. If you want to read a story about manga creation, drama and the challenges of becoming a manga artist and being on top, then I suggest reading a manga series like “Bakuman”.
If you want something more in-depth and a book focused on Osama Tezuka’s life from when he was a young boy up to the final year before he died of stomach cancer at the age of 60 and his story told in manga format, what better way than to tell his life story in manga, considering that is how he told stories about life through his manga as a child.
It’s a fitting book that I’m absolute grateful that Toshio Band and Tezuka Productions released and that Frederik L. Schodt, put his time into translating for an American audience.
I’ve read about this book when it was featured in Japanese news and would never think it would be released in the US because it’s a large book (the book has over 900+ pages) similar in size to major omnibus out there. Fortunately, it’s in paperback, not oversized or heavy, so you can easily lay down and read this manga.
Artwork was well-done and the book utilizes so many sources that each of those sources are listed in the back of the book. And once again, major props to Frederik for translating that as well.
Overall, “The Osamu Tezuka Story: A life in Manga and Anime” is a wonderful, entertaining book for those interested in the life of Osamu Tezuka. A book that celebrates his life, his work but most importantly, the man responsible for “Astro Boy”, “Black Jack”, “Kimba the White Lion”, “Unico” and more.