Apollo's Song / Osamu Tezuka : 5 of 5
I'm absolutely stunned by the number of masterpieces I have yet to discover written by Osamu Tezuka, the greatest mangaka of all time! Many of these books are huge, such as the 540 page Apollo's Song, which I recently read and completely enjoyed. I have no idea how Tezuka produced so much art in his lifetime, especially when I think about the massive Phoenix saga, the Buddha series, and many others, yet he was still able to create deep and fascinating stand-alone stories like this one. Apollo's Song is about a boy named Shogo who has developed a hatred for love (due to his terrible childhood as the unwanted son of a prostitute) and suddenly meets a goddess who condemns him to an endless cycle in which he will fall in love, only to lose it again and again. Each chapter puts Shogo in different situations (often dreams or visions) ranging from Nazi Germany (where he is a soldier who falls in love with a Jewish girl) to an extreme future (where artificial beings have oppressed the human race, yet Shogo and the artificial queen fall into forbidden love). In the longest story (which is part of reality, rather than a dream) he falls in love with Hiromi, a doctor who attempts to treat his mental condition by training him to be a marathon runner, but of course this plot ends tragically as well. This manga has less humor than Tezuka's other works, but while the stories are overflowing with philosophical concepts and intense situations, they are never heavy-handed. The artwork contains many full-page spreads that are breathtaking with incredible details and beauty, and of course the characters are expressive in a way that only Tezuka can accomplish. I'm so excited that Tezuka's genius is recognized so these more obscure works are getting translated and published, and I only hope that I can experience them all someday (since there are so many more out there)!