Although I'm still technically hiatus-ing from the blog (applying for jobs, trying to finish the dissertation), not a day goes by I don't find some manga-related release, event, industry meltdown, etc., that I really want to share with you all. Manga minutes will be my way of sharing little tidbits and keeping manga part of the conversation here on the blog.
Today, I note that North America is in for a brand new, rather epic-looking, Osamu Tezuka release by Vertical Publishing, titled Ayako.
According to the Vertical website, Ayako opens "a few years after the end of World War II and covering almost a quarter-century, here is comics master Osamu Tezuka’s most direct and sustained critique of Japan’s fate in the aftermath of total defeat. Unusually devoid of cartoon premises yet shot through with dark voyeuristic humor, Ayako looms as a pinnacle of Naturalist literature in Japan with few peers even in prose, the striking heroine a potent emblem of things left unseen following the war.
The year is 1949. Crushed by the Allied Powers, occupied by General MacArthur’s armies, Japan has been experiencing massive change. Agricultural reform is dissolving large estates and redistributing plots to tenant farmers—terrible news, if you’re landowners like the archconservative Tenge family. For patriarch Sakuemon, the chagrin of one of his sons coming home alive from a P.O.W. camp instead of having died for the Emperor is topped only by the revelation that another of his is consorting with “the reds.” What solace does he have but his youngest Ayako, apple of his eye, at once daughter and granddaughter?
Delving into some of the period’s true mysteries, which remain murky to this day, Tezuka’s Zolaesque tapestry delivers thrill and satisfaction in spades. Another page-turning classic from an irreplaceable artist who was as astute an admirer of the Russian masters and Nordic playwrights as of Walt Disney, Ayako is a must-read for comics connoisseurs and curious literati."
Amazon already has it in stock, but your comic book shop might be getting it this week as well, if you want to inspect the 704 page brick-book yourself. In the meantime, enjoy Deb Aoki's informative review of the work at About.com.