MW ???) • Osamu Tezuka • Vertical (2007) • Shogakukan (Big Comic, 1976-1978) • Seinen Action Suspense • 16+ (graphic violence, nudity, sex)
Stoic Catholic priest Iwao Garai has a dark secret: he is the lover and confessor of Michio Yuki, a beautiful, bisexual, Kabuki-trained sadist who commits crimes of shocking depravity–rape, kidnapping, murder–between trysts with Father Garai. The two men are the sole survivors of an accident, covered up by the Japanese government, in which a deadly nerve gas developed by a foreign country (unnamed but obviously the United States) wiped out an entire island village. What happened in the village changed Garai from a juvenile delinquent to a guilt-ridden priest, and Yuki from an innocent boy to a soulless killer, and now Yuki torments Garai like a demon from his past. But there is a method to Yuki’s madness, as he tracks down the people responsible for the accident and the chemical weapon itself, MW. One of Tezuka’s bleakest works, MW consists mainly of a long litany of Yuki’s crimes and evil schemes, which Father Garai watches with maddening passivity. The plot is as convoluted and improbable as any of Tezuka’s attempts at intrigue; even the characters admit that the final denouement is like something out of a cartoon. But it’s arrestingly told and endlessly audacious, and the effeminate, sexually magnetic, unabashedly wicked Yuki is one of Tezuka’s most memorable characters–and an interesting counterpart to the more sympathetically portrayed gay and bisexual bishonen just gaining popularity in shojo manga at around the time MW was serialized. (Review by Shaenon Garrity)
Today’s review is another Tezuka review by my good friend and amazing writer/artist/mangaphile, Shaenon Garrity. As I mentioned yesterday, I gave Shaenon the job of doing all the Tezuka reviews for Manga: The Complete Guide (both the original book and this update), because Tezuka is too classy for me and I would rather spend my time grubbing around in the dirt reading manga like “Enmusu” and “Violence Jack.” -_- *ahem* Anyway!
The good folks at suvudu.com recently tallied up the statistics for the first 50 days of “365 Days of Manga” and answered the question “Just what sort of person fills out forms for free manga online?” Personally, I kind of imagined a mixture of people like Tank Girl in the ’80s and Bruce Campbell in those Old Spice commercials. More realistically, I’ve gathered some data from the forms, and I’ll share it with you now.
First, your ages:
Over 18 – 77%
Under 18 – 23%
I had noticed that most of the winners are over 18, despite the attempts by companies like VIZ and Udon to publish “all ages” and preteen manga. Is the age of manga readers rising? Teenagers and preteens, send us your manga requests! But what about your manga preferences?
Shojo/Josei – 30%
Seinen – 22%
Shonen – 15%
Yaoi – 11%
No Preference – 24%
Shojo/josei is the highest requested category, although so far the winners have been mostly seinen lovers — is this just bad luck for the shojophiles? The preference for seinen over shonen might be linked to the ages of the readers. We have a steady undercurrent of yaoi requests, and a lot of “no preferences,” which I take to mean “prepare to receive the weirdest manga I have.”
So those are my wild guesses about the demographic of web-savvy manga maniacs. There’s something else I’ve been wondering which can’t be answered by the suvudu form results — do “365 Days of Manga” readers read just manga, or do they also sup of a variety of other types of graphic novels and comics? Do they know the joy of “Yokaiden”, “Scott Pilgrim”, “Finder”, “Won Ton Soup,” the work of Dylan Meconis and Jason Shiga and Derek Kim and Jen Wang? Recently I’ve been working on some of my own comics, specifically on a comic adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft story The Strange High House in the Mist. I’m a horror and fantasy fan from way back and it’s a huge pleasure to draw my own stuff when I’m not reading manga. I’m currently on page 11 of a projected 16 pages, so please check it out!
And now, today’s winners! Today’s new manga winner is Mona K. of California (congratulations!), and the repeat winner is Adele S.!
Congrats, Adele! I’ll do my best to send you some really awesome books that you don’t already have for your next 5 manga. Till tomorrow, it’s “365 Days of Manga,” over and out.