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Apollo's Song Paperback – Jun 8 2007


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Review

"More than telling a multifaceted story, Apollo’s Song inspires. When the dust settles and the back cover is closed, Tezuka’s intent is laid bare to the reader and it’s a noble one. Shogo doesn’t merely learn a lesson about love and life — he transcends the agony of both." - MangaLife

"Tezuka’s work is about as essential and far-reaching as manga gets, and Apollo’s Song only adds that much more weight to an already massive reputation. Start here, and if you’re intrigued, Ode to Kirihito and Buddha also await you. There’s never been anything like Tezuka’s body of work, and there probably never will be again." - Serdar Yegulalp Anime Advanced Media Network

About 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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Amazon.com: 13 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Wide Spaces, But Interesting Ideas June 23 2007
By Matthew Kirshenblatt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Various elements and transitions in this story were very overly simplistic. Tezuka's art style, while very captivating and possessing a very unique quality all its own sometimes detracted from key emotional moments. Also, I wonder if it is the quality of the translation that loses a lot of the meaning behind the scenes and actions -- the context.

But, the ideas that he covers -- the philosophical and very mortal issues of love, existence, and death are very poignant. The protagonist Shogo is a very interesting character that both attracts the reader with the struggles of his own trauma, and repulses through some of his actions.

Ultimately, this story, through a succession of different stories within that do not always find the unity or smoothness they seek (though again are very interesting and poignant ideas) deals with the human condition of eros and thanatos -- love and death as the universals of human life and how we find the meaning between them.

It also briefly deals with reincarnation, and makes mention divinity, but the main focus you'll find is on the allegory of Apollo and Daphne as the eternal human experience. But in the end, how you perceive the ending will all depend on your own perspective. For, as Tezuka seems to ask us, are we doomed to repeat our actions, or do we learn from each repetition? You decide, and enjoy.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Epic, cosmic; transcendent July 16 2007
By animate ~ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Osamu Tezuka is called the father of manga and anime, and consequently, nearly all of animation in some form or another.

It's great to see another one of his works make it to American shores, and in such a respectable manner as well. "Apollo's Song" follows Shogo Chikaishi through many eras and time periods, parodying the story of the Greek god Apollo and his love, daughter to the river god, Daphne. It's difficult to give a summary, because -- well, it just shouldn't be done. This is an epic on (nearly) the scale of an ancient Greek history, and is drawn with a distinctive style that has become synonymous with the name Tezuka (or maybe "Astro Boy" to the American fans).

Tezuka seems to enjoy his philosophies, and they are certainly clear on several levels. This is worth noting - that a comic artist is able to create such emotion from such "cartoon" faces. At the same time, however, it also shows some of the past generation's faults; there are numerous occasions where women are treated badly (and this isn't just something experienced with this one publishing of his, trust me) and there is also some near-propaganda with some of the early chapters focusing on Shogo as a Nazi private.

All in all though, this is a fine edition to any comic fan's library, especially those who know the name, or those who wish to know more about Tezuka. He often says more with his pages that hold no text; his drawings have been called mechanical, but I have nothing but the opposite to say - they speak volumes louder than any size font. His characters nearly always have flaws, but I think that's why he's remembered -- for creating a style, as well as wonderful stories like this to envelope inside of it.

Recommended.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
WOW another great graphic novel from the Godfather of Japanese Mangas! June 25 2007
By Graphic Novel / Manga Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved Apollo's Song! I am a fan of Osamu Tezuka's works. I've read his Buddha & Phoenix series. Apollo's Song is as good as Buddha. A THICK graphic book of over 500 pages long filled with great artwork and story! As not to ruin the story, it moves slowly throughout the whole book all about life and death. It seems that Osamu is fascinated with life and death as it is in most of his books. A great great read!! You won't be disappointed! I'm looking forward to his next one, titled MW out in October of 2007!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Very High Quality Read Sept. 6 2007
By Adam Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent Manga. Furthermore, I think it has a good chance to appeal to readers who enjoy more western graphic novels but struggle with esoteric themes found in a lot of Manga. There is something very literary about this story that contrasts with much of the other manga Ive been exposed to. File with "Fun House," "American Born Chinese" and other more personal story arcs before lumping it with "Battle Royale" or "Lone Wolf and Cub." Despite this charactization, Apollo's Song is not a biography by any means (Im getting sort of sick of autobiographical comics).
"Apollo" is basically a collection of several smaller stories that fit within a larger framework, and it holds together well both ways. It is a strong title and certainly one of the best comics of 2007 (at least here in the US, where it is finally appearing!). I think readers of mature graphic novels will be quite happy with this lengthy read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Epic tale of tragedy April 2 2008
By Master Sonic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Osamu Tezuka truly is the god of manga. The attention to detail is simply staggering, and he produced his hundreds of thousands of pages of manga over the decades the long, hard way. Sometimes, when reading his work, one simply must stop and marvel at the art, even during the most engrossing of tales.

Apollo's Song, given to me by a friend, is quite epic, whether examined alone or alongside Tezuka's other works. It features, of course, Tezuka's unmistakable comic drawing style, combined with a dark, deep story about eternal punishment. The contrast in the story and its presentation is itself something truly amazing, and it must be seen to be fully appreciated.

What happens to a man who hates the very concept of love? What must he endure in order to open up to the idea that even a troubled, abused fellow such as he can learn to truly love someone? What happens to our tortured anti-hero is nothing short of brutal, and never-ending. How he wound up being the sort of person he became can't truly be blamed on him, yet he receives retribution everlasting for rejecting love itself.

Shogo's journey is at times sweet, at times violent, and at times even peppered with hope, but is always a struggle. This story is a tragedy on a truly epic scale, stretching from the past well into the future, with the only constants being his name, his appearance, his punishment... and the face of one specific woman. The remaining details all change, yet his travels are very much a spiral, leading him downward into the bottomless.

This manga was made during a time when sex education was no longer taboo in Japan, and is not hesitant to take advantage of the new freedom this allowed the medium. This isn't one of Tezuka's family-friendly works. There's blood, there's nudity and enough else you don't want the young 'uns seeing. It's filled with plenty of immensely unlikeable characters supporting two very flawed, but ultimately likable people whose sad story has backdrops as brutal as the Holocaust.

Apollo's Song isn't for everybody. But for those who like solid story and the inimitable crafting and style of Osamu Tezuka, it's a must-read.


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