Osamu Tezuka's Life Story (1973 - 1980)
By August 1973, after fumbling along for a few years without Tezuka, Mushi Productions folded with a debt of roughly 400 million yen. While reading about it the next day in the newspaper, Tezuka was quite surprised to hear that people were saying that he was finished. He had been so closely associated with Mushi Productions, that the public's perception of its demise was Tezuka's own professional demise. It was during this period that Akita Shoten, the publisher of the popular Weekly Shōnen Champion, decided to commission Tezuka for five weeks to write "anything he wanted". According to noted Tezuka scholar, Natsu Onoda Power, in her book God of Comics: Osamu Tezuka and the Creation of Post-World War II Manga, "the editor, who felt sorry for Tezuka for his declining popularity, offered the commission as Tezuka's "last work" before retirement" (2009, p. 106). Originally conceived as a special commemorative project celebrating Tezuka's (then) 30-year career as a manga artist, it was developed under the banner of "Osamu Tezuka's One-Man Theater Production", with the idea being to publish five independent stories that would spotlight Tezuka's Star System and feature many of his characters.
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