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Tezuka Osamu Story- I am Son Goku is a special for some Japanese channel “24-hour Television” program and an  animated semi autobiography of Tezuka himself. It was one of the last or even maybe the last film Tezuka worked on .The dvd details from Amazon said that Tezuka planned the whole thing but died halfway . As for other staffs for this special/film , the director is Rintaro ,  the (in)famous mind behind polarising films such as Metropolis , Harmagedon and Dagger of Kamui. He is also one of the  many renowned animator that had worked on the first 1963 Astro Boy . His most recent work is a full 3D CG children film , Yona Yona Penguin . By the way , another director is Masami Hata  but I don’t really know who she/he is so I didn’t talk much about him/her. Here’s her/his ann page if you are interested.

I am Son Goku starts with the childhood of Osamu Tezuka  and how he got his nickname Osamushi which kanji is actually 治虫 and that’s actually only adding a shi behind osamu(治) and mushi meant bug so it is very funny . In other words , it’s a joke that only clever guys like me understand. The name Osamushi will then become Tezuka pen name . Tezuka favourite hobbies consist of collecting incest which is how his nickname originated from and  watching cartoon films . He was amazed by a film adaptation of Journey to the West by the famous Chinese director Wan Laiming( 万籁鸣) and was motivated to create a manga film next time . If you are really interested , the film in question is Iron Fan (1941) by Wan Laiming .

Now , after some research , this part of the series was true it is a fact that Tezuka know Wan Laiming in real life and did collaborate to draw one picture of Astro boy and Son Goku together during one of their meetings. This picture is now stored in some Beijing Film Memorial Museum (direct translation from 北京电影纪念馆).

Astro Boy and Son Goku shaking hand by Tezuka Osamu and Wan Laiming

The meeting of Tezuka and Wan Laiming

Tezuka's gift to Wan Laiming

After his childhood day , the film focus on Tezuka’s army days . He met a woman named  Okamoto Kyouko(岡本京子)whose name has a unccany resemblence to Tezuka’s real wife  Etsuko Okada (岡田悦子) so this might be hinting something deeper. Then a bombing happened and Tezuka couldn’t find Kyouko in a ruin . This story might hold some truth but from my previous post .The bombing really did happened but there are nothing about Tezuka meeting a lady named Kyouko who want to become a opera singer. I guess the film wants to substitute the corpses by river  to something much more milder . The idea is a event to change Tezuka’s mind and motivates him in drawing manga so I guess it does the work.

Then the film time skipped to 1959 and it was said that Tezuka haven’t met Kyouko since then and she might had died during the bombing . Ironically , that year was the year where Tezuka got married and the film did touch on that when there’s a lady voice calling Tezuka “Anata/Anta” which sort of what wife called their husband in Japanese even though it literally meant “you”. After that , there’s an exposition of Tezuka’s manga career but it didn’t touch any tocuhe issue like Gekiga or such . Then it was a time skip to when Tezuka meets Wan Laiming .

After their brief meeting , Tezuka talks about his new film that is related to Son Goku which is said to be the film that influenced him during his young age with Wan Laiming. Then it transited to the Son Goku film which is the story of Journey to The West with sci-fi elements . That means that it is a film inside a film if you don’t get what I meant .  The story consist of the common themes of Tezuka which is anti war , environmental , perseverance , hope and cherish life . After the Son Goku film ends , Tezuka gave a monologue of how his dream for world peace might never come true . The imaginary Son Goku who followed and encouraged him throughout the whole film gave him a lecture of how he must believe in the him who believe in himself and such . Then the whole film ends with a awesome environmental song call 地球の歌(Earth’s Song) .

Now I summarised almost the whole plot for you because you can never watch it due to availability issue. I am lucky to find it on some chinese torrent site so HAHA! , in your face.

All in all , I felt that this film gave a full cycle for Tezuka’s career where it starts with Son Goku and ends with Son Goku , pretty amazing if you think of it . I think this was intentional and Tezuka knew that his cancer is fatal . Now to end it off , I will end with Tezuka rumoured last word ” Give me my pencil , I still want to draw”!

Further reading on Wan Laiming and Tezuka , if you know Chinese that is :

http://ent.163.com/09/1022/15/5M88C4TF00033RBG.html <- Chinese site

http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/f/2008-10-23/09412217786.shtml <- Chinese site

http://www.filmsatthegate.org/2010/08/04/wan-laiming-founding-father-of-film-animation-in-china/ <- English site.

Update:

This show is too obscure for its own good but guess what , Youtube has it . Just search for Tezuka Osamu I am Son Goku or I will help you do that and embed it here. No subtitle though but it should be understandable because the Japanese is easy for this film.

Or better still , show that you are a hardcore anime fan by buying the dvd here

http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E6%89%8B%E5%A1%9A%E6%B2%BB%E8%99%AB%E7%89%A9%E8%AA%9E-%E3%81%BC%E3%81%8F%E3%81%AF%E5%AD%AB%E6%82%9F%E7%A9%BA-DVD-%E3%82%8A%E3%82%93%E3%81%9F%E3%82%8D%E3%81%86/dp/B00006HBGN/ref=sr_1_29?s=dvd&ie=UTF8&qid=1284293698&sr=1-29

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Important points for those who don’t know Chinese or Japanese for that matter:

Part 1:

Tezuka ignored his health problem after he had a surgery for his cancer and went to Osaka for his presentation . In the presentation , Tezuka talked about the following points and stories:

– Tezuka was made fun of during his childhood due to his weak physical and fuzzy hair cut. However , his manga was appreciated by his friends and that is a source to console and encourage himself .

– There are two important events that moulded Tezuka’s story in manga .

The first event happens during world war 2 when enemy attacks Japan and Tezuka was one of the guard. He escape the bombing but when he reached a river , he saw lots of corpses lying there. This shocked him and make him wonder and appreciate life.

-After the war , Tezuka decided to become a doctor . One day , he found out that one of his patient is going to die soon . After the patient died , the patient’s torment were relieved and he died with a serene expression. This again make him think about life more.

-This two events made Tezuka realise that life isn’t constraint within 100 years or 50 years , it should be infinite like the galaxy . Tezuka wanted to share this message to the children and hence always try to include such theme inside his work .

-He left three messages for the children.

1: Be curious and no matter what , pursue your dream and don’t give up .

2: Remember the things that impact you the most and learn from it .

3:Appreciate life.

Part 2:

-During the 20th Showa year , people are hunting and burning down manga because they are thought to be bad influence to the children .  Parents are offended by manga due to the bad impression they have after hearing articles related to manga from radio and rumours. Their complains mostly surround the fact that manga are lies and delusion  because it contains robot and people flying in the sky. Parents made such assumption without understanding what manga really is . This affected Tezuka . However , after the airing of Astro Boy , it was widely enjoyed by children and the hunting down of manga had subsided . This encouraged and strengthen  Tezuka’s belief in manga . He was also happy that he targeted his manga towards children because it seems to be the right move.

-Tezuka got married when he was 30 and he has 3 children. Tezuka believes that he understand what children wants the best but he was so engrossed with his work , he often neglect his own children .

– Showa 40 , riots happened between students and Japan is surrounded by violence . At the same time, Gekiga , a new style of manga started to emerge. Gekiga manga have bleak views of life and consist of lots of violence . Such themes are totally opposite of Tezuka’s manga style of hope and joy. However , Gekiga style was very popular among children and this causes Tezuka’s popularity to enter a downward spiral . This affect Tezuka a lot and he was in his lowest point for manga at that time . He criticised Gekiga because he believe that it is unsuitable for children however , due to the pressure Tezuka faced , he was forced to move with the flow and started to add in violence in his manga . It was implied that he was upset with his Gekiga works when he look back at it and state that he drew all this during his lowest point.

Part 3

During this lowest point in life , Tezuka was asked by an editor to publish a new work . It was a new work but it wasn’t advertised on the front page of the magazine like how other newest work should be . This is to tell the viewers not to anticipate too much . There are also three rules pertained to this work .

1: All the chapter must be self contained.

2:The style must be realistic like the Gekiga style

3:The manga will get cancel if it isn’t popular after four chapters.

With all these in mind , Tezuka remembered his life when he was a doctor . He went down to bookshops and flipped his old medical notes to research on the matter. During that time , there are lots of debates about the advancement of medical and the way people continue their life using machines . Tezuka uses all these theme and ideas and started serializing the manga . The manga is of course one of the most popular series by Tezuka , Black Jack . This manga went on for a decade when it was originally decided to end within four chapters by the publisher , this shows how this manga really affect people and how it was loved by many. The theme and message of said manga is  what Tezuka always believe in , appreciating life.

-During his last presentation for primary school students during 31 October 1988 , he spoke about this theme of life . He talked about how he is upset that children often come to him and tell him how they want to die because the future is bleak . After hearing such thoughts , he want to show the message of appreciating your life with his manga , he wanted to educate children that life is big and wonderful .

Conclusion

Tezuka’s passion and perseverance warmed me . His  story always stem from his strong belief and his intention of educating children . His message are so strong , it’s easy to get influence by his passion. Tezuka gave his life for manga and anime , he moulded the basic of manga and anime . He is really a wonderful man we should be thankful of and finally , let’s not forget the message he instil in is work : Appreciate Life.

By the way , the italic sentences are my interpretation , which is only one line actually.

Also , interview of founder of Gekiga ,Yoshiro Tatsumi here.

People always wonder to themselves why the fuck are they going back to Adachi’s work every time a new one come out even though all of them look and feel the same . It’s a joke that even Adachi himself knows , his character designs have remain the same for almost 30 years and the setting is almost always the same old  slice of life . Though unlike everyone else , I always believe that all of his works have different focus but I do agree on two things – the ambience and the interesting interaction between characters of his works remain the same throughout .It’s just like what others had said ,”  You don’t fix something that isn’t broken and if it works well , why not keep using it ?”

Though it’s not easy as it sounds , people will get bored when stuff  became repetitive. However ,  if that the case,  then how the hell can Adachi’ work be so refreshing every time I read it? I have seen almost 80 +volumes of his work and I still can’t enough of it . Why? The reason is clear after I finished Rough just recently , the root of this addiction is in the ending .

Newcomers may be upset by Adachi’s ending because all of them have this conclusive yet inconclusive conclusion . Yes , you know who’s going out with who and  the characters’ life goes on happily but you really wanted to know what’s next .Unfortunately , you can’t because all of them end with such a high yet subtle note , it makes you yearn for more . So what can you do to cope the urge? Since the thing you wanted more is the same ambience , feelings and interesting character interactions , you can only find it from his other works , and after another conclusively inconclusive ending , you can only read his other work , then another work , then another work and the cycle just goes on and on and on .

It also helps when all his character design looks the same so it’s easy to get into with his another work due to familiarity . To give you a final blow , his works are full of sceneries panels and every dialogues are so interesting , you will  burn through 70+ volumes just like that . “Whew” and you finished everything before you notice it. Perfect , awesome and you will be finding yourself searching for his other works . It’s a vicious cycle , a cocaine powder created specially by  Adachi Mitsuru himself .

In the end , I can’t help but wonder , did all this happen because we are shallow humans who wanted to feel the same great emotion every time or is it because of Adachi’s sheer brilliance in writing? I will always believe that it is the latter .

Try it now and start with any of his longer work like “Touch”. I am interested to see whether you will be caught into the same situation like many of the Adachi fans out there .

In recent years , we have seen lots of talents in the anime/manga world passing away . Just these 2 years , in the manga/light novel  industry , we lost Kaoru Kurimoto(Guin Saga) ,   Takahiro Yamato (Kaze no Stigma)  , Yoshito Usui(Crayon Shin Chan) and Tadashi Kawashima(Alive) . I have seen some of these authors’ work and can consider myself as a casual fan for them , but even though their death is sad ,  frankly , it doesn’t affect me as much as Satoshi Kon’s death . It’s not difficult to see why . When you talk about animated film, just how many prominent directors are there? On top of my head ,  I can only think of Mamoru Hosada , Mamoru Oshii , Satoshi Kon , Makoto Shinkai , Hayao Miyazaki , Isao Takahata and Katsuhiro Otomo. Man , you can even count the numbers with your fingers! And that’s the whole reason to be sad , we just lost one out of the handful directors who can create such wonderful anime films. It’s like taking away food during poverty or the death of an inventor who has the ability to do much more . It’s devastating .

Now , I don’t consider myself a hardcore Satoshi Kon fan because I have only watched his Tokyo Godfathers but even so , his death had spoilt my day . It’s hard to imagine how his  hardcore fan felt . To be frank , I am planning to watch his other works this coming holiday but now after his death , I actually felt bad  for pirating his work . With that , I decided to delete his works on my computer and went out to search for the original dvds just to show my respect for him . I managed to buy Paprika after much hard work but unfortunately , I couldn’t find Millennium Actress and Perfect Blue , which I doubt  had been licensed here in Singapore . That’s sad and I am conflicted now whether to watch the pirated version or wait till I could import it. This is not about piracy or supporting the industry  , but rather , it’s the only  way I can think of to  show my respect to him  , a way to keep the fond memory of his works.

Now I really wonder what will happen to  The Dream Machine , I really hope that it can be completed since Satoshi seems to know about his pancreatic cancer in May in which I guess it is his wish that it will be finished as well …

Now that I have finished the legendary 3 Adachi’s Baseball series , let’s do a retrospective . First thing first ,for those that think  that Adachi can only churn out carbon copies of slice of life baseball series with the same character design , then you must have not really watch any of them at all.  Without  further ado ,let’s start our retrospective by going into details onto each series . Of course , there are full of spoilers but don’t you worry , I watched and read all 3 of them while knowing their spoilers but it doesn’t spoil any of my enjoyment . They aren’t series that focus on the result but rather , the process so no amount of spoilers will hinder the enjoyment for any of them. I also take it that you have watched and read all of them as I won’t provide any plot synopsis.

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My first Seo Kouji’s manga is Suzuka . I have forgotten why I take so much interest in Suzuka at that time but I never regret using the whole of my pocket money to buy  it . The first page that greeted me is a drug of Ecstasy . A drug that is so addicting , I couldn’t stop flipping through the pages . I remembered I used about 2 to 3 days to complete the whole of 18 volume and what I got in the end is sensation of satisfactions  filling up my brim . It is not a epic romance tale but it is definitely a great tale of an adolescence love life . The story does not have anything unique but it still stay interesting from start to end .
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IWICSYI

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