Ode to Kirihito

Are you a beast?

Ode to Kirihito

By Osamu Tezuka

Translated by Camellia Nieh
Graphic Novel / Manga
New Paperback Editions for 2010!
Part One: 978-1-934287-97-2, 480 pages
U.S.$14.95 / CAN$18.95

Buy Part One.

Part Two: 978-1-934287-98-9, 352 pages
U.S. $14.95 / CAN$18.95

Buy Part Two.

It may or may not be contagious. There seems to be no cure for it. Yet, Monmow Disease, a life-threatening condition that transforms a person into a dog-like beast, is not the only villain in this shocking triumph of a medical thriller by manga-god Osamu Tezuka. Said to have been the personal favorite of the artist, who held a degree in medicine, and surprisingly attentive to Christian themes and imagery, Ode to Kirihito demolishes naive notions about human nature and health and likely preconceptions about the comics master himself.

From pregnant vistas of the Japanese countryside to closed rooms full of sin and redemption, Tezuka astounds for more than eight hundred continuous pages, his art in turn easefully concise and flamboyantly experimental, his inquiry into our most repugnant instincts and prospects for overcoming them unflinchingly serious. Incorporating elements of the often lurid and adult-oriented “gekiga” style for the first time,Tezuka entered into his fruitful late period with this work.

A promising young doctor, Kirihito Osanai visits a remote Japanese mountain village to investigate the source of the latest medical mystery. While he ends up traveling the world to discover what it takes to be cured of such a disease, a conspiracy back home attempts to explain away his absence. Hinging upon his fate are those of his loved ones: an unstable childhood friend and colleague trapped between factions of the medical establishment that nurtured him; a fiancee emotionally transformed by Kirihito’s mysterious disappearance; and a stranger who becomes his guardian angel, a sensual circus-act performer with volatile psychological secrets.

From plutocratic Taipei and racially divided South Africa to backwater Syria and modern Osaka, ambition and desire beckon “normal men” to behave uglier than any beast. Riveting our attention on deformity and its acceptance like The Elephant Man by David Lynch, Ode to Kirihito examines the true worth of human beings through and beyond appearances.

Ode to Kirihito is moving, tender and engrossing.
Also very, very odd.”
—Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman and Anansi Boys

“A thoroughly original, wonderfully bizarre, and compulsively readable masterwork.Ode to Kirihito is a vital testament to Tezuka’s range as an artist, as well as an awe-inspiring example of the possibilities of the graphic novel.”
—Adrian Tomine, writer/artist of Optic Nerve and Summer Blonde

“Tezuka was like a god for me. He shocked the manga world with the medical thriller genre, and the work he did it with was Ode to Kirihito—a monumental suspense masterpiece that shows off Tezuka’s two points of expertise—manga and medicine.”
—Yoshihiro Tatsumi, author of The Push-Man and Abandon the Old in Tokyo

“Tezuka turns his comic book mastery to evil in this terrifying examination of moral decay. Fans of Japanese horror both new and old should not miss this shocking single volume that will completely change Tezuka’s American reputation as the Japanese Walt Disney. Brutal, depraved and savage, Kirihito will leave you panting like a beaten dog-man!”
—Andrew D. Arnold, Time comics critic