Monday, June 22, 2009

Apollo's Song - Review

Apparently it's Manga week at TBC... After I read Osamu Tezuka's 8 Volume Buddha (borrowed it from the library, although I hope to own the whole thing some day) I bought Apollo's Song. I have had it for quite some time, and have been keeping it near my computer for a month or two with the intention of reading it. After reading A Drifting Life, I decided it was a perfect time to tackle the other giant book 541 pages of Tezuka goodness.

This is a strange book. I found it to be brilliant, but still kind of strange. There is a lot of moralizing in it, and it comes across in a way as a sort of... environmentalist / anti-technology, I am the Lorax I speak for the trees sort of statement. That isn't the main focus of the book, but the theme of the evil men do to the planet and each other and nature, resonates in each of the sort of dream sequence stories that make up a good portion of the book.

Our young 'protagonist' Shogo has all the makings of a sociopath. He cruelly kills animals, he attacks couples, etc. His primary reason for killing the animals he does is that they are showing attraction for each other or tenderness toward each other (yes, he kills animal couples, or animal babies, etc.)

He is hospitalized, and during a course of electro-shock therapy, he sees a giant statue of a goddess that condemns him to fall in love with one woman and then be separated by death from them over and over again. We see this happen in sub-stories that happen when he is rendered unconscious. The stories vary from his being a german soldier and falling in love with a condemned Jewish girl, to his being a human in love with a synthetic being in a future where synthetic beings rule the world. In addition to these 'dreams' , his story continues to play out in the 'present' It's really well done. Tezuka really did some comics ways that I just don't see being done very often. The medium is used perfectly, it's funny and silly and profound and preachy. It's a crazy story premise, but works. It didn't even scare me off with it's half representational and half realistic lesson on where babies come from (that it opens and closes with.

It isn't a flawless piece, but I enjoyed it and it made me think about what was being said (regardless of my agreeing with it or not). This is a good book and I recommend it if you like this sort of thing.

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