A secret U.S. chemical weapon called "MW" accidentally leaks and wipes out the population of a southern Japanese island. Though Michio Yuki survives, he emerges from the ordeal without a trace of conscience. MW is manga-god Osamu Tezuka's controversial testament to the Machiavellian character and features his most direct engagement of themes such as transvestism and homoeroticism.
MW is a chilling picaresque of evil. Steering clear of the supernatural as well as the cuddly designs and slapstick humor that enliven many of Tezuka's better-known works, MW explores a stark modern reality where neither drive nor secular justice seems to prevail. This willfully "anti-Tezuka" achievement from the master's own pen nevertheless pulsates with his unique genius.
"Verdict - 9.6 A diabolically epic story. + An anti-hero you can't take your eyes off of. + Osamu Tezuka. (Need we say more?) - Possibly Tezuka's bleakest work yet." - Anime media network.
"Created during the period of 1976-1978 MW is a shocker, especially for it's time, both in terms of the potential for terrorism and the phsychological effects on the reader, who, in some cultures, might not easily adapt to this nature of storytelling (for example, what would Hollywood do with this plot?)" - www.anime.com
"MW is a story that will make you think, and will probably make you unhappy about a segment of mankind, and will thrill you in ways that feel uncomfortable. It's a major graphic novel by a major creator, grappling with the nature of evil in a way that superhero comics only wish they could. And it's presented in a form nearly transparent to Western readers. From what I've seen, Tezuka's dark works of the ‘60s and ‘70s are easily his best, and MW is right up there." - ComicMix "The author shrewdly reveals through these characters the vulnerability of human beings and the concept of latent "original sin" that lurks inside us." - Brian Cirulnick
Osamu Tezuka ( 1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium. His man early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. a Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. Other works available from Vertical include Apollo's Song, Ode to Kirihito and the eight-volume epic Buddha, winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 7.95" Width: 6.06" Height: 1.81" Weight: 1.94 lbs.
Release Date Oct 30, 2007
ISBN 1932234837 ISBN13 9781932234831
Availability 0 units.
More About Osamu Tezuka
Osamu Tezuka was born on November 3, 1928, in Osaka. He grew up in an open-minded family exposed to comics and Walt Disney. As a boy he also had a love for insects, which he would later as a grown-up incorporate into pen name. Having developed an intense understanding of the preciousness of life from his wartime experience, Osamu Tezuka aimed to become a physician and later earned his degree in medicine, but ultimately chose the profession he loved best: manga artist and animated film writer. Tezuka's manga and animated films had a tremendous impact on the shaping of the psychology of Japan's postwar youth. His work changed the concept of Japanese comics, transforming it into an art form and incorporating a variety of new styles in creating the "story cartoon." Osamu Tezuka lived out his entire life tirelessly pursuing his efforts, passing away at the age of 60 on February 8, 1989. In all, Tezuka produced more than 150,000 pages of graphic storytelling before his death. Posthumously Tezuka's work have won a number of awards in the U.S., including the 2009 Eisner Award given to his series Dororo.
Slow going, Interesting plot about a very sordid character Jul 21, 2008
I feel conflicted about Osamu Tezuka's MW. On one hand I enjoyed the intriguing plot and the way he was able to use the comic medium to display such horrific crimes. These acts would have been very difficult to display in any other medium. The story is also an interesting statement on the conventional expectation that in the end crime does not go unpunished. I think a lot of my negative reaction to the work was an agitation that the main character would get away with his many crimes which included rape and child murder. The story also acts as a critique of the US military presence in Japan and anxiety about chemical, nuclear weapons.
These qualities made the story very slow going to read. The main active agent in the story is so repugnant that following his evil exploits becomes tiring rather quickly. Tezuka walks a fine line in the story between turning off a reader and keeping them interested in the plot. Ode to Kirihito had a more conventional plot and could be said to have a tied up in a more expected way but I enjoyed the story and although it had violence it wasn't near the level of MW. So I feel torn with the vote because I admire Tezuka for making such a strong statement with the piece but my enjoyment of it was not on the level of some of his other works. I would give it a 5 for the artwork and a 3 for plot so 4 is the average.
Another wondrous oddity from Japan's dark Disney Jul 14, 2008
MW is the third single-volume "adult" Tezuka manga to be published in the US by Vertical Inc. Fans of those previous volumes-- Ode to Kirohito and Apollo's Song-- will definitely enjoy MW. It's a lurid thriller with serious undertones, sex and violence in Tezuka's cartoony style and the same astounding command of the comics medium that Tezuka makes seem effortless.
The harder question is whether general readers-- readers of novels who enjoy the intelligent graphic novel here and there (like Persepolis, Watchmen, MAUS, etc)-- should check out MW. I remember reading Tezuka's Adolf back in the early 90s when it was released by Viz and was seriously taken aback by Tezuka's odd combination of a cartoony style and casual sex and violence, his weird blend of serious subject matter and slap-dash storytelling. It's something you just have to accept with Tezuka, but once you get used to it, you can appreciate the many wonders in Tezuka's serious works: their originality, their commitment to entertainment, even titillation, and, as mentioned already, his superhuman command of the comic book form.
Just like an old Disney film, there's a suspension of disbelief, an acceptance of the rules he plays by, but once you get past those, each of Tezuka's serious works is as jam-packed with originality, action, characters, and ideas as the greatest Disney classic.
Tezuka is awesome, MW is very poor and distracts from his better work. Dec 28, 2007
I have greatly enjoyed the work of Osamu Tezuka in English translation, having read the Adolf series and most of the Buddha series, along with single volumes of Astro Boy and Phoenix. When I spotted this fresh, newly bound edition of MW, I was quite taken with its binding and its promise of what appeared to be a more adult subject matter. After all, Tezuka's willingness to take manga beyond the level of a kid's comic book is what I so admire in him. For all of these reasons I was very disappointed in this work. The work did not appear to be true to human nature, to consistency in plotting, or to the spirit of Tezuka at his best.
Yes it does deal with a homoerotic relationship between a boy and a priest, but it does not appear to do so in anything but the most superficial way. On the one hand, the priest is portrayed as having some sense of morality and spirituality, despite his lapses of enjoying sex with the young man (their relationship while he was a boy is only revealed in flashbacks.) Yet he is utterly spineless, not to mention illogical and inconsistent in how he deals with the revelations that the young man is a serial murderer and rapist, a kidnapper and extortionist, who ultimately hopes to destroy the world using the secret MW compound that has made his own life so miserable.
An excuse is given for the young man that his exposure to the secret MW compound as a boy is what turned him into a psychopath, yet it forgives far too much, like a very bad insanity plea. After all, the priest who is exposed to the same MW compound has not lost his inner moral sense, even when he violates it again and again, allowing himself to overlook the young man's vile behavior for the sake of sex with him and/or to avoid being outed for his own moral lapses. The closer that the young man gets to his goal, the more that the character of the priest as well as many of the minor characters appear to be blatantly manipulated in order to produce the final outcome of the story, leading to the obscuring of the humanity of all the principal characters. What can be learned from characters who are so untrue to their humanity?
Other reviewers have rated this work with five stars, yet even as they do so their reviews reveal that the product is not the best that Tezuka has written, begging the question of what five stars means. Currently I am trying to find a reasonably priced copy of ADOLF: A TALE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY and am unable to. That the publisher has released this much inferior work while the first volume of the Adolf series remains unavailable is quite frustrating.
I found this work to be very unsatisfying, even after turning it over in my mind quite a bit and looking for possible symbolic value as a criticism of modern weapons and warfare, the post WWII relationship between the US and Japan, the abuse of political power or even as a study of psychopaths. All of these possible themes are undercut by the plot contrivances that obscure any enlightenment about the humanity of the characters. Perhaps with a good introduction explaining the origin of the work in the mind of Tezuka - was he dealing with personal issues over homosexuality, a mid-life crisis, what? - as opposed to simply its publication history would better justify the marketing of this work. Perhaps a critical essay would serve as well, something along the lines of how the habitual use of plot devices in his children's fantasy work bled over into an adult work, purportedly not a fantasy, only to reveal their uselessness and great distraction in dealing with a more mature subject matter. Lacking such an introduction, the work seems to be a land mine that will turn readers away from Tezuka if this is the first of his works they encounter.
Facinating Criminal/Poltical Reading Dec 10, 2007
First off, the previous two reviews do an excellent job of retelling the events of the story and apply the appropriate warnings (this is an adult manga). In addition to those reviews, it is important to note that while this work does have political underpinnings it isn't to the point that it dominates the work. Yes, the history of the Catholic priest is obviously a hippy-esque/radical life style - the character art proves it. Yes, the work refers back to the Vietnam war and the overriding plot is to uncover a military cover-up.
That said the whole of the work is really focused on Yuki's madness. I've read many, many books on psychopathic killers both in fiction and non-fiction, but Yuki truely strikes a cord. He kills without remorse and then feigns remorse. He is completely self-centered and makes no issue with that. He uses people in such a masterful way that a real Yuki is chilling. His homosexual relationship (by the way no male nudity just naked upper torsos together or blanked out male forms) with the Catholic priest is extremely interesting in terms of dynamics.
Lastly, secondary characters like the prosecutor (actually detective/investigator) are highly entertaining. To use an extremely American reference, this character plays Hannibal's Clarice.
It has been said that this is the only Tezuka work without anything "real" to say such as Buddha. It couldn't be more wrong. However, unlike Tezuka's other works the point isn't as obvious. To find it examine Yuki not the political aspects.
Overall, this is a wonderful criminal read with political underpinnings. If politics make you cringe don't worry - this is still a good read. The art is older but refreshing considering the similar looking characters in more modern mangas. The backgrounds are rendered in amazing detail showing extremely deft work with a pen. Manga lovers of horror, suspense, crime, or an excellent thoughtful read pick this up!
Epic, dark and bleak - and those words only describe the first handful of pages Dec 3, 2007
Tezuka is too often referenced as Walt Disney's Japanese counterpart. For those who've read the last few re-releases ("Apollo's Song" and this), they know that this title isn't really appropriate; Tezuka created many things -- childhood humor, science fiction, crude drama. I guess "MW" would fall into that last category (though categorizing Tezuka on premise is probably faulted) being an epic war/crime drama.
Michio Yuki is probably Tezuka's most vile character. One that is left scarred by his past (something out of his control); this is a theme that Tezuka comes back to again and again and he knows it well. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Father Garai, Catholic priest and, fifteen years before the books' current events, Yuki's childhood companion. These two are "bound by fate," Yuki says, and it's all because of a deadly, secretive gas labeled "MW".
I won't bother giving away any plot points or points of interest - they're all there for you to enjoy. Though it is worth saying that this is an adult novel (it has infantile death, genital mutilation, and multiple rape scenes) - it even probably deserves more than its (16+) rating. (Some of this stuff is sadistic enough to remind one of Junji Ito (or maybe Mizuno, since there's a "cute" factor here)).
Props have to be given to Vertical for putting out such a fine work. In a hardcover, this is almost too perfect. My only fault with "Apollo's Song" was its flimsy attitude when being held - at over 500 pages you just NEED hardcover, and with "MW", the end product feels much more satisfying. (But who designed this dust jacket? The actual cover and spine are much more aesthetically pleasing!)
This is manga at its best, and shows Tezuka at one of the high points of his career. Truly frightening and deeply psychological work from one of the masters of the genre.