Tezuka In English
Category: About : Manga

Tezuka’s Manga (1970-79)

The Dark Years


Barbara (1973-74)

With the failure of the company he founded, Mushi Productions, much of Tezuka’s work in the 1970s reflects his darker mood. Despite this, and indeed because of it, the 1970s really show Tezuka at his best. His artwork is now regularly highlighted by intriguing panel deigns and a more complex cinematography, while his themes become more morally mature and complex and his pacing, though still frenetic, is more even and balanced. This is a period of great manga production, both in terms of quantity and quality, as the punishing requirements of his commercial animation ventures are no longer vying for his creative energy.

Early on in the decade, Tezuka’s manga work turns towards biting social commentary – be it on sex education in Yakeppachi’s Maria (1970) or Apollo’s Song (1970), the medical establishment in Ode to Kirihito (1970-71), the insect-like qualities of human society in Book of Human Insects (1970-71), the American influence in the post-war shift in land rights in Ayako (1972-73), or even the very nature of an artist’s muse in Barbara (1973-74).

Even Tezuka’s biographical manga treatment of the life of Siddhartha Gautama in Buddha (1972-83), a series that intimately illustrates Tezuka’s own beliefs on reincarnation and the sanctity of life, cannot be called an overly optimistic one.

Tezuka’s dark mood also permeates his shōnen, or “boy’s” adventure mangas. Be it the total lack of heroes in Alabaster (1970-71), or, at best, the rise of the “tainted heroes” in his works such as the medical thriller, Black Jack (1973-83), or the “ancient civilizations” adventure, The Three-Eyed One (1974-78), none of them show the bright-eyed optimism of his earlier works in the 1950s and early 1960s.

However, by the end of the decade Tezuka gains control over the darkness and begins to wield it more like a surgeon’s scalpel than a baseball bat. Even in his most dedicated exploration of mankind’s capacity for evil, in MW (1976-78) one gets the impression he is using it to strategically provoke a response rather than simply overwhelming the reader. He is also able to use it to temper a series like Unico (1976-79), a children’s tale about a baby unicorn that could easily slide into sugary-sweetness, with a balanced dose of pessimistic realism.

Yet, as the 1970s come to a close, Tezuka seems to lose his appetite for crushing darkness and we see a return of levity in works like the slapstick comedy, Don Dracula (1979). Something that will continue on into the 1980s.

Year(s) English Title Japanese Title
1970 The Television Age in 2001 2001年テレビ時代
1970 Miraculous Conception 聖女懐妊
1970 The Black River 黒い河
1970 The Glass Castle ガラスの城の記録
1970 Dauberman ドオベルマン
1970 Gachaboi’s Biography がちゃぼい一代記
1970 The Masterless Samurai 一族参上
1970 The Stranger 赤の他人
1970 The Tale of a Turtle すっぽん物語
1970 Guide to What’s Going on at the Expo 万博ハプニングガイド
1970 The Legs of the Octopus 蛸の足
1970-71 21st Century Adventure アバンチュール21
1970-71 Ode to Kirihito きりひと讃歌
1970 Yakeppachi’s Maria やけっぱちのマリア
1970 The Clockwork Apple 時計仕掛けのりんご
1970 Apollo’s Song アポロの歌
1970-71 Book of Human Insects 人間昆虫記
1970 The Record of Fusuke フースケ風雲録
1970 String
1970 The Underground Trench 地下壕
1970 Bomba! ボンバ!
1970-72 Marvelous Melmo ふしぎなメルモ
1970 Tales of Tokiwa Apartments トキワ荘物語
1970-71 Yajiuma March やじうまマーチ
1970 Blood Suckers 現地調査
1970-71 Phoenix [“Resurrection”] 火の鳥
1970 Long Hole ながい窖あな
1970 Voice
1970-71 Alabaster アラバスター
1971 Giants and Toys 巨人と玩具
1971 New Ryosaishii 新・聊斎志異
1971 The Love Letter という手紙がきた
1971 Ripe Star 熟れた星
1971 The Transparent Brain ガラスの脳
1971-75 Rise of the Birdmen 鳥人大系
1971-73 Lion Books ライオンブックス
1971 Reflection 反射
1971 Zephyrus ゼフィルス
1971 Game ゲーム
1971-72 Good Morning Cusco! おはよう!クスコ
1971 One Fool ばか一
1971 The Laughing Man 笑う男
1971 Phoenix [“Robe of Feathers”] 火の鳥
1971-72 Little Wansa ワンサくん
1971 Phoenix [“Intermission”] 火の鳥
1972 The Man with a Horn
1972 Get Out! 出ていけ!
1972 Dust 8 ダスト 8
1972 Salome’s Lips サロメの唇
1972 The Goddess of Defeat 負け女郎
1972-73 Ayako 奇子
1972-81 The Adventures of Astro Boy 鉄腕アトム
1972 The Fox 孤聊
1972 Human Beings on the Moon 月世界の人間
1972 Lady of the Rhine ラインの館にて
1972 The Spirit of The Swamp ぬし
1972 Nocturnal Guests 夜の客
1972 Yellow Dust イエロー・ダスト
1972 Devil’s Mountain 魔の山
1972 The White Shadow 白い幻影
1972-83 Buddha ブッダ
1972 Yamakagashi 山棟蛇
1972 Old Folk’s Home 料理する女
1972-73 Thunder Mask サンダーマスク
1972 Lord Mogami Iechika 最上殿始末
1972-73 Tales of the Glass Castle ガラスの城の記録
1973 The Godfather’s Son ゴッドファーザーのむすこ
1973 Revolution レボリューション
1973 The Tale of Peter Kyulten ペーター・キュルテンの記録
1973 Homecoming 帰還者
1973 Lolo’s Journey ロロの旅路
1973 Microid S ミクロイドS
1973-74 The Euphrates Tree ユフラテの樹
1973 Stereotype ステロタイプ
1973 Sensual Nights もの憂げな夜
1973-74 Barbara ばるぼら
1973 Adventures of Hanuman ハヌマンの冒険
1973 Ukyo Matsu’s Rhapsody 大松右京のラプソディ
1973 Akuemon 悪右衛門
1973 Siblings of the Sea 海の姉弟
1973-74 Essay on the Idleness of Animals 動物つれづれ草
1973 The Starfish’s Secret ひとでの秘密
1973-74 Detective Danbukuro 刑事もどき
1973 The Garbage War ゴミ戦争
1973-83 Black Jack ブラック・ジャック
1973 The Devil’s Beginning 悪魔の開幕
1974 The Jumbo ジャムボ
1974 Tiger Land タイガーランド
1974-75 Kanpachi カンパチ
1974-75 Lunatic Japan 日本発狂
1974 Okesa’s Hyoroku おけさのひょう六
1974-76 Shumari シュマリ
1974-75 Melody of Iron 鉄の旋律
1974-78 The Three-Eyed One 三つ目がとおる
1974 Canon カノン
1974 The Rain Conductor 雨のコンダクター
1974-75 Ikki Mandara 一輝まんだら
1974 Paper Fortress 紙の砦
1975 Hungry Blues すきっ腹のブルース
1975 Yaji and Me ヤジとボク
1975 Sexodus セクソダス
1975 A Thousand and One Stories ぐうたろう千一夜
1975 The Lower Angel 低俗天使
1975 The Boy in the Rain 雨ふり小僧
1975-76 Bagi, The Boss of the Earth 大地の顔役バギ
1975 The Story of Stone 原人イシの物語
1975 Boy Detective Zunbera ずんべら
1976 Dr. Doronko どろんこ先生
1976 Run Chronos! 走れ!クロノス
1976 Horror Tales of Yotsuya 四谷快談
1976-77 Metamorphosis メタモルフォーゼ
1976 Personal Offer 人身御供
1976-78 Phoenix [“Nostalgia”] 火の鳥
1976-78 MW ムウ
1976-79 Unico ユニコ
1977 Queer Aesop Fables 珍イソップ物語
1977 Tenteke March てんてけマーチ
1978 The Bridge of Korosuke ころすけの橋
1978 Phoenix [“Civil War”] 火の鳥
1978 Futureman Kaos 未来人カオス
1979 Mt. Monmon is Crying モンモン山が泣いてるよ
1979 The Search for the Panther パンサーを探せ
1979 The Two Shoguns 二人のショーグン
1979 Fire Mountain [a.k.a. The Thief Inoue Akikazu] 火の山
1979 Lunn Flies into the Wind るんは風の中
1979 The Insect Collector インセクター
1979 Don Dracula ドン・ドラキュラ
1979-80 Pornographic Pictures どついたれ
1979-81 Mako, Rumi and Chii マコとルミとチイ

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