"Adult" Tezuka

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GreenDarthVader
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"Adult" Tezuka

Postby GreenDarthVader » 8 years ago

So, just finished reading Dark Horse's Vol. 22 of Astro Boy due to the Black Jack/Astro crossover, and boy did I get more than I bargained for. Specifically, what I'd like to focus on is the story, "Astro II" According to Tezuka's introduction, it was a story written for an adult oriented magazine after he had revived an award the magazine sponsored. He said the editors deemed the original ending too childish, so he changed it, and fans complained about the final ending. At first, I thought it was going to be a funny self parody: it starts out with Dr. Elephun (not magna name, but name I know from the 80s cartoon) missing Astro Boy, and making a new one under demands to make the new Astro more human. As a result, we get a more apathetic Astro who doesn't care about fighting crime and asks for wages... which is kinda funny. What's a little less funny is Astro Boy II getting a harem, and standing by as a person falls to their death right in front of them. At some points (personally), it read like a mean spirited parody a college aged kid would produce.

Which brings me to the point I'd like to discuss with those who have read more Tezuka than I have (only read Astro Vol 1+2, 3, 22, and Black Jack Vol 5): How does Tezuka treat his other books that are meant for adults? I know he has some very serious works out there (MW, Book of Human Insects, and lots of stuff with later day Rock). How well does he handle writing for an adult audience? Does he simply use "edgier" material for the sake of being seen as mature, or does he effectively use it to tell stories that need the horrors of life to get they're point across? And what about when the adult themes intermingle with the "childish" ones? Astro Boy was written for grade school boys, but is probably darker than 85% of kid's TV shows these days. I've read somewhere that Tezuka still enjoyed sight gags in some of his darker works. What do you guys think?

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Postby Prettywitchiusaka » 8 years ago

I don't know about you, but the idea of Astro having a harem made me chuckle.

In all honesty though, the only mature work of Tezuka's I've ever read is Apollo's Song, so I'm not sure if I would be your best judge for this. But, I'll give it my best shot. That story is a bit more graphic in the violence and themes it depicts, but the great thing about Apollo is that like any good mature work, the graphic-ness is not done solely for shock value, a lot of it actually helps makes points about the story and characters it's trying to convey.

For example, take the chapter with Queen Sigma. Her entire goal with Shogo is to make love to him, because she wants to understand how humans love (being a robot and all). All the while, falling in love with Shogo. She even gas her body altered, in order to have female genitalia. Now, we never get a true shot of her fully naked, but it's all done to enhance the story.

Hope that helps a bit.

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GreenDarthVader
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Postby GreenDarthVader » 8 years ago

"Prettywitchiusaka" wrote: but the great thing about Apollo is that like any good mature work, the graphic-ness is not done solely for shock value, a lot of it actually helps makes points about the story and characters it's trying to convey.


But that's the thing: it sounds like tezuka has done some shock value for shock value work. Appearently, Yakeppachi's Maria was a response to japanese censorship laws, and it sounds like a film he directed, Cleopatra had a similar problem to Astro II. (At least, according to the one review on the page, though it is hyper linked to an article about a competing movie)

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Postby Prettywitchiusaka » 8 years ago

I see what you're saying, though I wouldn't know entirely. Like I said before, the only major adult work of Tezuka's I've read so far is Apollo's Song, so I can't give you a definite answer.

All I'm saying is that is not not every mature work does shock value for shock value sake. But at the same time, not every mature story has shock value for story sake either. It just sort of depends on the story you're telling, at least that's my take on it anyway.

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Postby GreenDarthVader » 8 years ago

"Prettywitchiusaka" wrote:I see what you're saying, though I wouldn't know entirely. Like I said before, the only major adult work of Tezuka's I've read so far is Apollo's Song, so I can't give you a definite answer.

All I'm saying is that is not not every mature work does shock value for shock value sake. But at the same time, not every mature story has shock value for story sake either. It just sort of depends on the story you're telling, at least that's my take on it anyway.


Right, and I was just curious how well Tezuka pulls it off after reading one I felt was done poorly. You're Apollo's song was a good example and I may pick it up some day. I'm just curious what other people have to say.

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Postby F-Man » 8 years ago

"GreenDarthVader" wrote:At some points (personally), it read like a mean spirited parody a college aged kid would produce.


That was sort of the point; showing people that Astro shouldn't be edgy in the most extreme way possible.
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Postby Prettywitchiusaka » 8 years ago

"GreenDarthVader" wrote:[QUOTE=Prettywitchiusaka;202386]I see what you're saying, though I wouldn't know entirely. Like I said before, the only major adult work of Tezuka's I've read so far is Apollo's Song, so I can't give you a definite answer.

All I'm saying is that is not not every mature work does shock value for shock value sake. But at the same time, not every mature story has shock value for story sake either. It just sort of depends on the story you're telling, at least that's my take on it anyway.


Right, and I was just curious how well Tezuka pulls it off after reading one I felt was done poorly. You're Apollo's song was a good example and I may pick it up some day. I'm just curious what other people have to say.[/QUOTE]

Definitely pick it up when you get the chance, you won't regret it.

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Postby Dragonrider1227 » 8 years ago

I've read Astro Boy II. I thought that was pretty funny myself XD

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Postby Hikari Tail » 8 years ago

I have read a lot of Tezuka's adult work that got released in English
such as Black Jack, Buddha, Phoenix, Ayako, Barbara, Mw, Applo's Song and Ode To Kihito and his work never seem to bore me. :) I can honestly say you need to to give his more mature work a chance.

I don't think think Tezuka is trying to be edgy when I read Apollo's Song, Barbara and MW for example he writes them as honest deviant characters that have no chance for redemption ( maybe not always). There almost not normal characters they just seem like the pure symbols of greed, lust, ignorance and plain just being terrible to people.

He obvious writes terrible themes to get point across but I personally also feel that he writes them and shoves it in your face so you can't ignore it. Its brute, its honest its reality.

Personally I love Ode to Dr Khirto, MW, Phoenix and Barbara the best. They show the ugly and good sides of both good and evil. Sometimes there are no rewards or punishments for your good and bad actions. However you still better of being a good person. That's what I feel from Tezuka's work.

For example Ode to Khiroto shows the downfall of a character who becomes a sexual deviant and another who wants to save and cure people but is rejected and treated as a monster at every corner of the world.

Barbara has a main character who you think is going to improve but he is not going to improve at all and your not sure if the end justifies the means.

MW the main agonist Yuuki has only one redeeming humane part of him his love for Gurai. But just being able to feel love doesn't mean he can be encouraged to doing anything good.

So to make it short Tezuka's adult work is really interesting because his characters are often so grey, but its daring and wild, dirty, drunk and rude but as stated in Barbara that's HOW art always has been,
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