Ayako

Overview

Long considered as one of Osamu Tezuka’s most political narratives, Ayako is also considered to be one of his most challenging as it defies the conventions of his manga by utilizing a completely original cast and relying solely on historical drama to drive the plot.  Ayako, pulls no punches, and does not allow for gimmicks as science-fiction or fantasy may.  Instead Tezuka weaves together a tale which its core simply focuses on a single family, a family that could be ...

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Overview

Long considered as one of Osamu Tezuka’s most political narratives, Ayako is also considered to be one of his most challenging as it defies the conventions of his manga by utilizing a completely original cast and relying solely on historical drama to drive the plot.  Ayako, pulls no punches, and does not allow for gimmicks as science-fiction or fantasy may.  Instead Tezuka weaves together a tale which its core simply focuses on a single family, a family that could be considered a metaphor for a rapidly developing superpower.

Overflowing with imagery of the cold war seen through Japan’s eyes, Ayako is firmly set in realism taking inspiration from a number of historical events that occurred over the American occupation and the cultural-revolution which soon followed. Believed to be Tezuka’s answer to the gekiga (dramatic comics) movement of the 60’s, Ayako should be considered one of the better early examples of a seinen (young adult) narrative to be published.

Initially set in the aftermath of World War II, Ayako focuses its attention on the Tenge clan, a once powerful family of landowners living in a rural community in northern Japan.  From the moment readers are introduced to the extended family, it is apparent that the war and American occupation have begun to erode the fabric that binds them all together.  The increasing influence of political, economic and social change begins to tear into the many Tenge siblings, while a strange marriage agreement creates resentment between the eldest son and his sire.  And when the family seems to have completely fallen apart, they decide to turn their collective rage on what they believe to be the source of their troubles—the newest member of the Tenge family, the youngest sister Ayako.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A 2011 Eisner Award Nominee
A 2010 About.com Best Manga of the Year Selection

“Best New Seinen/Josei Manga of 2010—Drama
Ayako depicts horrifying events, but it is beautifully presented. Connoisseurs of comics craft will find much to admire in Tezuka’s cinematic approach to paneling, pacing, and illustration. Peter Mendelsund’s striking design gives this 1970’s story a modern mood to attract mature readers.”—About.com

“Panel after panel flows effortlessly, composed in such a way that it draws you in, despite the cartoonish characters that Tezuka is so well known for. His scenery and backgrounds show a vibrant land slowly weighed down by filth and corruption… While I have been dismissive of Tezuka’s work in the past, I am fully convinced by Ayako… This book is one of Vertical’s finer achievements and a must-have for any Tezuka or intelligent comics fan. 9.5/10” —Comics Village

“It is a portrait of humanity’s dark side on par with Dante’s Inferno… With so many interlocking storylines, all meticulously charted up to the final page, this drama plays out on a stage so grand that only Tezuka could have conceived it. Even the artwork reaches heights that are yet to be surpassed today… For pure story and visual impact, one of the best ever. A-” —Anime News Network

“Like some of Vertical’s previous long-form Tezuka releases—MW and Ode to Kirihito in particular—Ayako isn’t afraid to get dark and dreary. In fact, Ayako may be one of the bleakest yet. That is, of course, said as a term of endearment; this nearly 700-page work sucks you into its twisted narrative from the very first chapter, and its grip only gets icier as the pages turn… From Peter Mendelsund’s elegant cover design to Mari Morimoto’s dialect-infused translation, this is another must for fans of Osamu Tezuka and comics in general.” —Otaku USA

Publishers Weekly
A major Japanese talent in detective and thriller fiction appears in English with this excellent, compact WWII tale. Hitler decides to build a Japanese Zero fighter, and Japanese navy officials, with mixed feelings about the alliance with Germany, have to find some way of getting two Zeros from Japan to Germany. This involves picking two maverick pilots, Lt. Keichi Ando and NCO Kyohei Inui, and arranging for airfields in British territory (India) and British-patrolled territory (Iran and Iraq). Both pilots are well-drawn characters, Ando especially, and competent sketches of people like Gaj Singh, an anti-British maharajah; Ando's sister Michiko; and American pilot of fortune Jim Purvis lend depth to the book. So do the flying scenes (including a raid on British Victoria bombers in Iraq, into which the Japanese pilots are blackmailed by Iraqi Colonel Hussein). Sasaki also draws on the wartime history of Japan to deal with themes not well-known to Western readers, including the rivalry between the Japanese army and navy and the "culture war" between Japanese patriotically sticking to traditional ways and those maintaining modern tastes. The writing is sometimes awkward but never incomprehensible, the pacing breakneck, the cast a trifle large for the length, but the total effect a compact Japanese version of a W.E.B. Griffin novel. Agent, Anne Ishii. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935654780
  • Publisher: Vertical, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Pages: 704
  • Sales rank: 601,215
  • Age range: 16 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author

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 then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, when he authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.

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