MW

MW, by Osamu Tezuka 7.5

I picked this brick up solely on Tezuka’s reputation. I can’t say that I’m a big fan, having only explored a few of his works – and mostly in film, not manga. While I enjoyed what I’ve seen, it never bowled me over.

However, the book jacket promised this story to be a very different piece than what he usually does. That intrigued me. In particular, it suggested that it was his darkest work. As the maker of ‘Astro Boy’, I figured that it wouldn’t be very hard to deliver on this promise; that would be like calling ‘Fantasia’ the darkest Walt Disney film.

But, admittedly, ‘MW’ is dark. Sinister, even. scared0014 Free Scared Emoticons

Tezuka, held no punches in this suspense story about a serial killer with a secret agenda. It’s not a gory tale, per se, but it’s downright vicious and nothing is sacred. I was quite surprised by the lengths to which this character would go. It’s not wholly unrealistic, and I’ve seen worse in standard American cinema, but it’s not something I’m used to seeing manga. And, considering that the book is almost 600 pages long, there are many servings of callous brutality.

It kept reminding me of the ‘Monster’ manga series on some levels, even though ‘Monster’ is tame in comparison: the seemingly futile pursuit of a psychopathic serial killer by a hero under pressure by the law, the convoluted story, the contrivances, …etc. Perhaps it’s because I have too few other points of reference, but there appeared to me to be a few vague similarities.

I was really enjoying it at first. But then I hit Chapter 6 and it completely ruined everything for me: almost everything in that chapter being utterly unbelievable. mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger Until then, ‘MW’ flirted with the edges of incredulity, which is tolerable, but it suddenly lost its bearings and served up garbage that wouldn’t hold up in real life at all. mad0071 Free Emoticons   Anger

It’s too bad, too, ’cause this was turning out to be quite the book. It got right back on track by chapter 7, but it sowed seeds of doubt in my mind and I couldn’t immerse myself any longer. And, as the killer carried on his deeds undeterred by his lover(s) or by the law, I simply couldn’t believe the extent to which he was getting away with his crimes. mad0071 Free Emoticons   Anger

*Spoiler alert*
In fact, I eventually became quite annoyed with the fact that our hero, a priest, would end up aiding and abetting the villain under all sorts of ridiculous pretences. Now, I can understand that his vows prevented him for disclosing some info to the law, but to actually help the criminal was flagrantly ridiculous?!!! Give me a break! mad0137 Free Emoticons   Anger
*Spoiler alert*

I’m not sure if anything was lost in translation, but I found the writing fairly solid. I’m not entirely enthused with the plot choices that Tezuka made and just how he kept things rolling on and on and on. But the dialogues and the overall construction is good. happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

I would have liked to have a better sense of time-lapse, however, because everything appears to happen back-to-back. And yet, at one point, it’s revealed that a whole year has passed since the beginning. This makes a lot more sense because it means that the characters have had time to plan things out before making their various moves. But it would be nice to know this as you read along. indifferent0004 Free Emoticons   Indifferent

On a technical level, the artwork is very nicely detailed and realistic. The landscapes and inanimate objects were actually impressive. happy0027 Free Emoticons   Happy My main issue are the characters, as they are slightly cartoony and, thus, don’t really fit the rest of the art. Still, it’s all a HUGE leap above ‘Astro Boy’ (as is the writing, warts and all). happy0024 Free Emoticons   Happy

‘MW’ is hardly the greatest book I’ve ever read, but it’s certainly a memorable one. I would only recommend it to people who can handle the worst that humanity has to offer, however, as it gets really rough along the way. Fans of ‘Astro Boy’ should definitely beware, as this unexpected offering could tie their stomachs in knots. scared0014 Free Scared Emoticons

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