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Osamu Tezuka

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Osamu Tezuka was a Japanese manga artist, animator, producer and medical doctor, although he never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He is often credited as the "Father of Anime", and is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his formative years. His prolific output, pioneering techniques, and innovative redefinitions of genres earned him such titles as "the father of manga artist" and "the god of Manga."

For Sanrio, he created the character Unico.

Early life

Tezuka was born the eldest son of three children on November 3, 1928, in Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture. He was tormented by his classmates because of his skinny build, small stature and wavy hair, a genetic trait which appears in 3% of the Japanese population. His nickname was gashagasha-atama (gashagasha is an Onomatopoeia for messy, atama means head). His mother often comforted him by telling him to look to the blue skies, giving him confidence. His mother's stories inspired his creativity as well. Tezuka grew up in Kobe and his mother often took him to the Takarazuka Theatre in the city of Takarazuka. The Takarazuka that performed at the theatre was one made up in its entirety of women, therefore male characters were also played by women (these women that only played the parts of male characters were labeled as "otokoyakus"). The Takarazuka Revue specialized in romantic musicals aimed at a female audience and fan-base, thus having a large impact on the later works of Tezuka.

Tezuka also loved the environment, especially insects, and wished that all humans would take care of it. His animation production company was named Mushi (insect) Production.

He started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school. Around his fourth year, he created his pen name, by adding the Chinese character denoting "insect" at the end of his name, making his written name different while the pronunciation remained identical. He came to the realization that he could use manga as a means of helping to convince people to care for the world. After surviving World War II, he created his first piece of work (at age 17), Diary of Ma-Chan and then Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), which began the golden age of manga, a craze comparable to American comic books at the time.

Works

The distinctive "large eyes" style of Anime was invented by Tezuka, However, the vast majority of his work has never been translated from the original Japanese and is thus inaccessible to people who do not read Japanese.

When he was younger, Tezuka's arms swelled up and he became ill. He was treated and cured by a doctor which spurred him on to study medicine at Osaka University. However, he began his career as a manga artist while a university student, drawing his first professional work while at school. At a crossing point, he asked his mother whether he should look into doing manga full time, or whether he should become a doctor. This was an especially serious question since, at the time, being a manga author was not a particularly rewarding job. The answer his mother gave was, "You should work doing the thing you like most of all." Tezuka decided to devote himself to manga creation on a full-time basis. He graduated from Osaka University and obtained his medical degree, but he would later use his medical and scientific knowledge to enrich his sci-fi manga, such as Black Jack (manga).

Tezuka headed the animation production studio Mushi Production ('Bug Production'), which pioneered TV animation in Japan.

He was a personal friend (and apparent artistic influence) of Brazilian comic book artist, Maurício de Sousa.

Tezuka died of Stomach cancer at the age of 60, the same month when the Showa Emperor (Hirohito) also died of cancer. In an afterword written by Takayuki Matsutani, president of Mushi Productions, that was published in VIZ's English language release of the Hi no Tori manga, it is said that his last words were "I'm begging you, let me work!"

In 1994 the city of Takarazuka, where Tezuka grew up, opened a museum in his memory. Stamps were issued in his honor in 1997. Around the beginning of the 21st century, his son Makoto Tezuka created Tezuka Productions to help extend Tezuka's manga series with new issues beyond his death, and also posthumous works. Also, beginning in 2003 the Japanese toy company Kaiyodo began manufacturing a series of highly detailed figurines of Tezuka's creations, including Princess Knight, Unico, the Phoenix, Dororo, Marvelous Melmo, Ambassador Magma, and many others. To date three series of the figurines have been released. A separate Astro Boy series of figurines has also been issued, and enjoying continuing popularity for fans throughout Japan are annual Tezuka calendars with some of Tezuka's most famous artwork.

The content of Tezuka's work has met modern criticism for its allegedly Racist depictions of blacks and southern-east Asian people, notably those of countries such as Vietnam. These depictions ranged from drawing them in an exaggerated manner to showing the places they came from to be poor and underdeveloped. Yet, Tezuka constantly proclaimed that he had a never-ending love for the Earth and believed strongly in the sanctity of human life. There was evidence of this in certain manga such as Buddha, where other races, including whites, were drawn in an abstract, caricatured style and came from strange, far-away countries.

Style

Tezuka is known for his imaginative stories and stylized Japanese adaptations of western literature. He loved reading novels and watching films that came from the West. His early art style was basic and inspired by Disney, whom he greatly admired. Tezuka used cinematic camera angles and panning in his early works and beyond, creating the illusion of watching a movie. His work, like that of other manga creators, was sometimes gritty and violent. However, he stayed away from graphic violence in some titles such as Astro Boy.

Awards

  • 1958 Shogakukan Manga Award for Manga Seminar on Biology and Bīko-chan
  • 1975 Bungeishunjū manga Award
  • 1975 Japan Mangaka Association Award - Special Award
  • 1977 Kodansha for Black Jack (manga) and The Three-Eyed One
  • 1983 Shogakukan Manga Award for Hidamari no Ki The story is set shortly after Japan's defeat in the Second World War and follows the adventures of little Ma-Chan who wants to learn the English ABCs from the American soldiers occupying his country. Tezuka was only 17 years old when he produced this work.
  • Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), 1947. laying the groundwork for the manga craze and its modern style.
  • Tuberculosis, 1948. Published in its original form as a book (as was also the case with Metropolis), Tuberculosis is about the adventures of Kenichi (an early hero in several of Tezuka's early works) and his uncle inside of the human body after his uncle has created a serum called ZX which can shrink humans down to microscopic size. Entering the body of a young boy, Yoshikawa, they find that he's been infected by Tuberculosis Bacteria, which are damaging the boy's lungs. Having befriended one of the bacteria (Mode), Kenichi and his uncle are soon caught in the middle of the battle between the tuberculosis bacteria and the boy's own immune system. Tezuka was said to be quite pleased with Tuberculosis, and adapted it on two later occasions; the first in 1953 for The Monster on the 38th Parallel, and again in 1964 for an episode of Astro Boy.
  • The Moony Man, 1948. The Moony Man is a science fiction adaptation of an ancient Japanese folk story known as The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (or Kaguya-hime). The heroine of the story is Sayoko, who had come to Earth in an egg carried by a rocket from the Moon and is adopted by a couple in the village in which the rocket crashed. Upon reaching her teenage years, Sayoko would often attract the love of men (a quality which Tezuka would revisit many years later as one of the attributes of Melmo in Fushigi na Merumo), and Sayoko also becomes a gifted inventor. In reality, Sayoko had been sent to Earth by creatures living on the far side of the Moon in order to monitor the progress of a telescope being constructed which would be capable of seeing the normally unseen far side. After sabotaging the telescope, Sayoko steals a rocket and returns to the Moon.
  • Lost World, 1948. Although originally conceived shortly before the start of Japan's involvement in World War II, and ready for publication prior to most of Tezuka's other 1948 works, Lost World was the last of his major works to appear that year. Lost World is a story about the discovery of seven power stones which have fallen to Earth and are believed to have come from Mamango, a planet which had once been part of the Earth, and which returns to the Earth's vicinity once every five million years. An expedition sent to Mamango to look for more power stones finds a prehistoric world complete with dinosaurs. The work is particularly notable today for its astonishingly high body count.
  • Metropolis (manga), 1949. One of Tezuka's early science fiction works, about a private detective, Higeoyaji, who tries to take care of Mitchy, a gender switching robot, after its creator is killed. It would be made into a 2001 animated film. The 2001 film was heavily influenced by the Fritz Lang film Metropolis (1927 movie), as well as Tezuka's manga. It is said that Tezuka never even saw the 1927 film but was inspired by the poster of the film.
  • Jungle Taitei (Jungle Emperor), 1950–54. Better known in the English speaking world as Kimba the White Lion, this manga established one of Tezuka's most iconic creations. His first full-scale long serial, Jungle Taitei follows the adventures of Leo the white lion as he seeks to succeed his father, killed by a hunter, as king of the jungle. In 1965, Tezuka's Mushi Productions, financed by NBC Enterprises, produced a 52-episode anime series loosely based on the manga.
  • Twin Knight, 1958. Twin Knight was a sequel to Princess Knight, and takes place several years after the end of the original series. In Twin Knight Princess Sapphire is now Queen Sapphire and is married to Frantz, her love interest in the original series. The main characters in Twin Knight are the twin children of Sapphire and Frantz, Prince Daisy and Princess Violetta. In keeping with the theme of the original series, following Prince Daisy's kidnapping, Princess Violetta must pretend to be both of them, all the while trying to discover the whereabouts of her brother. Although Twin Knight was originally published under the same Ribon no Kishi title during its short run, the title was changed in 1960 when the series was collected into a single volume. Ever since then it has been regarded as a separate series. No television version has ever been produced.
  • Zero Men, 1959–1960. Zero Men 's main character is Ricky, a boy who was found in a remote section of India while still a baby, and raised in Tokyo. The difference between Ricky and other people is that he has a black nose and a tail resembling that of a Squirrel. Upon eventually meeting his real parents, Ricky learns that he is a member of a humanoid race called the Zero Men, who are related to squirrels rather than apes, and live underground in the Himalayas. The technology of the Zero Men is far in advance of humanity's, and Ricky is shocked to learn that the Zero Men plan on conquering the Earth. Although Ricky is a Zero Man, he has been raised among humans, and decides to try to prevent the Zero Men from achieving their goal. A four-minute pilot for an animated version of the series was created in 1968, but a series was never produced.
  • Galaxy Boy Troop, 1963–1965. Galaxy Boy Troop is perhaps unique in the history of children's television programming inasmuch as it combined marionettes and animation. All of the characters were represented by puppets when not shown traveling in vehicles, whereas other scenes in which the characters are shown to be flying or driving were animated. Two series were produced, both in black and white. In the first, Galaxy Boy Troop is formed to travel an enormous distance to recover a substance which can restore Earth's dying sun. In the second series Galaxy Boy Troop battles aliens in a flying saucer. A total of 92 episodes were produced; 44 in the first series and 48 in the second. The series also aired in France where it was known both as Galaxy boy troupe and Le Commando De La Voie Lactee. The original Japanese masters and films are believed to have been lost, and the very few examples of the series which have appeared on DVD have been taken from French sources. In 1997 Japanese astronaut Takao Doi requested the show's theme be used as his wakeup call during his mission on the space shuttle Columbia.
  • Big X (Big X), 1963–1966. Big X was one of Tezuka's early stabs at a sprawling adventure story covering the events of three generations. The story begins in World War II with Dr. Asagumo (who is Japanese) and Dr. Engel (who is German) and their collaboration on a new superweapon called "Big X." At the end of the war Big X disappears, but the formula for it reappears in Tokyo nearly 20 years later when Asagumo's son - who had the formula - is killed and the formula is recovered by Asagumo's grandson Akira. The formula is revealed to be an injected body-expanding drug, which is also coveted by Engel's grandson Hans, who is a member of the Nazi Alliance. Though Akira injected Big X in the manga, in the anime this transformation is accomplished by using a pendant since there was some concern that a syringe would be regarded as advocating the use of drugs by children. 59 episodes of the anime were produced, airing in 1964 and 1965.
  • W3 - Wonder Three (Amazing 3), 1965–1966. This story features three agents from outer space capable of transforming themselves into animals and are tasked with collecting information which will be used to decide whether the Earth should continue to exist or be destroyed due to the threat it might present to other planets in the future. The fourth main character is a human boy who is working with them to save the Earth. 52 animated episodes were produced, airing in Japan in 1965-66, in the United States from 1967 through the early '70s, and in Australia beginning in 1969. It is also known to have been distributed in several Spanish-speaking countries as Los tres espaciales.
  • Maguma Taishi (Ambassador Magma), 1966–1967. Maguma Taishi was the first color Tokusatsu series to air in Japan. It centered around the adventures of Magma, Mol, and Gam, a family of robots who defend the Earth against an alien invader named Goa. They're assisted by a boy named Mamoru Murakami (in whose image Gam was created by a wizard named Earth), who has a whistle which can call for any of the robots. Magma - a golden, armored robot with long hair - can grow to an enormous size when it's necessary to fight any of the giant monsters unleashed by Goa, and all three robots can turn themselves into rockets. 52 episodes were filmed, and a 13 episode OVA was also produced in 1993. The series aired in the United States as The Space Giants in a few markets starting in 1972, with wider distribution beginning in 1978. Strangely, most of the Japanese names were changed in the American version to different Japanese names. In Spain it was known as Monstruos del Espacio, and in other English-speaking countries as Space Avengers.
  • Dororo to Hyakumaru (Dororo), 1967–1968. Dororo centers around the adventures of Hyakkimaru (alternately Hyaki Maru), who is missing 48 body parts due to a deal his father had made with 48 demons in exchange for control over Japan. When Hyakkimaru is born he is hideously disformed, and is thrown into a river to die. Instead he is rescued by a doctor named Jukai and grows up to be a young man whose missing body parts have been replaced by Jukai with prosthetics (many of which contain hidden weapons). Teaming up with Hyakkimaru is Dororo, a child (and thief) living on the streets. Together they set out to defeat the 48 demons and recover Hyakkimaru's missing body parts. Tezuka never completed the manga, so the intended conclusion to the story is unknown. 26 animated episodes were filmed, airing in 1969. Although the show was originally just known as Dororo, the name was changed to Dororo to Hyakumaru (Dororo and Hyakumaru) halfway through its run. A live action version filmed in New Zealand was released in 2007.
  • Vampire (The Vampire), 1966–1967 and 1968–1969. Though Vampire began as a manga (which Tezuka never completed), it is also remembered today for its television incarnation, which would be an extraordinarily unusual program for Japanese TV even today—much less in 1968 when it originally aired—since it combined animation with live action. The story revolves around the adventures of Toppei, who comes from a village populated by vampires (who aren't vampires so much as they're werewolves). Arriving in Tokyo, Toppei gets an animation job with none other than Tezuka, who plays himself throughout the series. Toppei's shapeshifting ability is discovered by the villain of the series, Makube Rokuro (also known in many other Tezuka works as Rock (manga character)), with the other vampires from Toppei's village attempting to destroy civilization in the process. 26 episodes were produced. The series only aired in Japan and Italy. This was the final Tezuka series to be filmed in black and white.
  • Umi no Triton (Triton of the Sea), 1969–1971. The series takes place 5,000 years in the past when everyone living in Atlantis is killed by Poseidon, a would-be dictator bent on conquest of all of the Earth's oceans. The rest of the story is about the fight of Triton and Pipiko—the last known Atlantean survivors—against Poseidon, aided by their dolphin companions and the Orihalcon dagger, a weapon which makes Triton nearly impervious to harm. An anime series consisting of 27 episodes, directed by Yoshiyuki Tomino of Gundam fame, was made and aired in 1972. The series aired in Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, Catalonia (Spain), Italy and Serbia. A theatrical version was released in 1979 consisting of segments of the first half of the 1972 TV series.
  • Kureopatora (Cleopatra: Queen of Sex), 1970. Kureopatora holds an unusual position among Tezuka's works since it's the most explicitly sexual project he ever attempted. When the film was released in the United States, American distributors slapped on the title Cleopatra: Queen of Sex and released it with a self-applied X rating in an attempt to cash in on the success of Fritz the Cat (film). In actuality, the film had not been submitted to the MPAA, and it is considered to be highly unlikely that it would have received an X rating if it had been submitted. One critic described it as "kid stuff with naked breasts.." The movie told the story of Cleopatra and her numerous romantic encounters with Julius Caesar and the other men in her life. The film was not a success in Japan (partly due to financial troubles Tezuka's film company was having at the time), and is rarely seen today.
  • Apollo no Uta (Apollo's Song), 1970. Apollo No Ugi was the story of Chikaishi Shogo, a young man who hates the concept of love, and has never known what it means to be truly loved. Due to a course of shock therapy he dreams that he's taken to various times and places by the goddess of love. As a member of Tezuka's Star System, Melmo (from the contemporaneous Fushigi na Merumo) appears as two of the story's main female characters. Apollo's Song was published in English in June, 2007.
  • Kirihito Sanka (Ode to Kirihito), 1970–1971. This series is about a heroic young doctor (Kirihito Osanai) and his efforts to cure a strange disease that deforms its victims so that they look like dog-people. He becomes infected with the disease himself and is led on a wild odyssey around the world as he is kidnapped and maltreated by the ignorant and the curious, meeting strange allies and stranger foes. Meanwhile, back in Japan, his fiancee and a mentally unstable colleague attempt to locate him while his mentor, a nationally respected doctor, stakes his reputation on an incorrect analysis of the disease's cause. Serialized in Biggu Komikku, translated into English as Ode to Kirihito and published by Vertical in 2006. 822 pages.
  • Fushigi na Merumo (Marvelous Melmo), 1970–1972. This series centered around Melmo, a nine-year-old girl whose mother is killed in an auto accident and has to then take care of her two younger brothers (the suggestion being that their father had died some time before). The ghost of her dead mother visits her and gives her a bottle of candy given to her by God. The blue candy turns Melmo into a 19-year-old version of herself, while the red candy turns her back into a child. Combining the two turns her first into a fetus, then into an animal of her choosing. A total of 26 animated episodes were produced, which aired from 1971 to 1972. Tezuka intended the series to function as a kind of introductory sex education for children. That being the case, not surprisingly the series only aired in Japan and Italy (as I bon bon magici di Lilly). When the manga first appeared in 1970 it was originally titled Mamaa-chan. However, by the time the anime debuted in 1971 the name of the main character was changed to "Melmo" (derived from "Metamorphose") due to "Mamaa" having been previously trademarked.
  • Wansa-kun, 1971–1972. The hero of Wansa-kun was Wansa, a puppy who is sold for a pittance, then escapes, and spends much of the rest of the series looking for his mother. Tezuka never completed the manga version of the series. In 1973 an animated series based on the manga was created, though Tezuka had almost nothing to do with it, other than the fact that the stories were based on Tezuka's original manga. A total of 26 episodes were produced.
  • Ayako (manga), 1972–1973. The story of the Tenge family and its fall, from the end of the WWII to the 70s. Major events and some characters of this story are based on true events and inspired from real persons.
  • Black Jack (manga), 1973–83. The story of Black Jack, a talented surgeon who operates illegally, using radical and supernatural techniques to combat rare afflictions. This is the longest of Tezuka's works. Black Jack received the Japan Cartoonists' Association Special Award in 1975 and the Koudansha Manga Award in 1977. Three Black Jack TV movies were released between 2000-01. In fall 2004, a TV anime was aired in Japan with 61 episodes, releasing another movie afterward. A new series, titled Black Jack 21, started broadcasting on April 10, 2006. The manga series will be published in English by Vertical Inc., beginning in Fall 2008.
  • Mitsume ga Tooru (The Three-Eyed One), 1974–1978. Mitsume ga Tooru was an expression of Tezuka's interest in Eastern religions. The story revolves around Hosuke Sharaku, a junior high school student who must always wear a bandage over his forehead which conceals a third eye. When the third eye is covered Hosuke remains a normal boy. When the eye is exposed his evil side takes over and he becomes a sorcerer of enormous power with a desire to conquer the world. His female classmate Wato Chiyoko is always around to try to save the world from his evil side's plans, but is also attracted to Hosuke's evil personality change. 48 episodes of the anime aired in 1990 and 1991.
  • Buddha (manga), 1974–84. Tezuka's last epic was a unique interpretation of the life of Buddha. The critically acclaimed series is often referred to as a gritty, even sexy, portrayal of the holy-man's life. The story follows Buddha's life - so far as it's known - fairly closely, though many of the characters were created by Tezuka for dramatic effect, comic relief, or simply to help move the story along. The series was published in the United States between 2003 and 2005 by Vertical Publishing in an 8-volume set.
  • MW, 1976–1978. A diligent and efficient bank employee, Yuuki Michio, has another side: that of a brutal kidnapper who commits horrible crimes, one after the other. Yuuki frequently visits Father Garai at his church, repenting for his sins each time he commits a crime. The two had witnessed a terrible event on Okinomabune Island in the neighboring of Okinawa Island fifteen years ago. During the incident, all the island's residents were killed by a poisonous gas (called "MW," a secret chemical weapon), which leaks from the storage area of foreign military forces on the island. Yuuki also goes mad under the effect of the gas. While taking revenge on criminals who cover up the event, Yuuki finally locates the whereabouts of MW. Knowing that he has little time left, as his brain and heart are increasingly affected by MW, he plans to release the toxic gas all over the world when he dies, to bring the whole human race to extinction. The series was released as a single volume in September 2007, published in the United States and in the United Kingdom by Vertical Publishing.
  • Yuniko (Unico), 1976–1979. Unico is a baby unicorn with the power to grant a wish to anyone who finds him. The gods, however, are jealous of Unico and order the West Wind to banish him to the Hill of Oblivion. The West Wind can't bear to subject Unico to such a fate, and thus continually spirits Unico from one place to another to escape the wrath of the gods. Tezuka's manga was serialized in Sanrio's "Ririka" (Lyrica) magazine. Although Unico and Rock are the most popular of Tezuka's non-television characters, Unico has appeared in a 1979 TV special (produced as a pilot for an intended series) and two feature-length anime films (Yuniko a/k/a The Fantastic Adventures of Unico, 1981, and Yuniko Mahō no Shima e a/k/a Unico in the Island of Magic, 1983), made for Sanrio by the Madhouse (anime company) animation studio. Both theatrical features were also dubbed in English and enjoyed some popularity outside of Japan in the early 1980s, including in the United States where both films were shown on The Disney Channel and also released on VHS. However, legal issues kept Unico off DVD in the United States until the fall of 2007, when an American bilingual DVD release of the 1981 film was announced by a startup company called New Galaxy Anime.
  • Jet Mars (Jetter Mars), 1977. Jetter Mars was essentially a remake of Tetsuwan Atomu in which Astro and some of the other characters were slightly reworked by Tezuka because he was on a deadline and couldn't re-acquire the Tetsuwan Atomu copyrights in time to produce the color Tetsuwan Atomu series he really wanted to make. Jetter Mars, like Astro Boy, is a powerful robot built in the image of a boy. The two scientists who created him are Dr. Yamanoue (who created Jetter's body) and Dr. Kawashimo (who created his mind). The disagreement between them mirrors the disagreement in Tetsuwan Atomu between Dr. Tenma and Dr. Elefun, respectively. Several episodes were remakes of earlier Tetsuwan Atomu stories. A total of 27 episodes were produced. Jetter Mars is often regarded by Tezuka fans as one of his weakest efforts, though Tezuka was under some financial pressure at the time, and was unable to wait for the copyright dispute to be resolved. Other Tezuka fans defend the series as the best Tezuka was able to do under the circumstances, and that there was really nothing wrong with it that wouldn't have been corrected had it been produced as a Tetsuwan Atomu series.
  • Undersea Super Train: Marine Express, 1979. Marine Express was created by Tezuka for the Ai wa Chikyu wo Suku charity TV program. Marine Express is particularly notable as the most extensive crossover between various characters in the Star System which was ever attempted during Tezuka's life. Practically all of Tezuka's most popular characters are present and accounted for in the film, including Astro Boy, Rock (in an unusual heroic role), Sapphire, Kimba, and many others. The first half of the story is set in the year 2002 on board a trans-Pacific undersea train which is believed to have been sabotaged. The second half takes place on the island of Mu, which is in danger of destruction. Although the movie has never been seen widely outside of Japan, much of the film's premise and plot was extensively utilized as the basis for a very large portion of the 2003 Astro Boy game.
  • Fumoon, 1980. As had also been the case with the earlier Marine Express, Fumoon was created by Tezuka for the Ai wa Chikyu wo Suku charity TV program. An adaptation of Tezuka's lengthy 1951 Nextworld manga, the plot concerns the danger posed by a poisonous black cloud approaching the Earth of which mankind is unaware. In the meantime, a humanoid race called the Fumoon (mutated humans created as a result of atomic testing) are aware of the black cloud and are proceeding with a plan to evacuate their race and thousands of Earth animals to another planet. The entire concept is a satire on the Cold War and the fragile relationship between the United States (Nation of Star) and Soviet Union (Uran Federation).
  • Rainbow Parakeet, 1981–1983. In this manga the title character is an actor and a thief who is being pursued by a policewoman, Senri Mariko.
  • Don Dorakyura (Don Dracula), 1982. A cancelled anime series. It was supposed to have had 26 episodes, but only eight were produced (only four of which actually aired) due to the sponsor going out of business shortly after the series began being broadcast. The main character, Don Dorakyura, lived in Transylvania, but moved to Japan to exterminate vampire hunters, such as Prof. Rip Van Helsing. He lives with his daughter, Chocola, and his henchman, Igor.
  • Tell Adolf (Adolf (manga)), 1983–85. A manga set in the pre-World War II era, it revolves around three people with the name Adolf—one a Jew, one a Nazi, and the third being Adolf Hitler himself.
  • Daishizen no makemono Bagi (Bagi, the Monster of Mighty Nature), 1984. A recurring theme throughout Tezuka's career was the idea of animals with human characteristics, and vice-versa. Tezuka created the Bagi film as a protest against the kind of research into Recombinant DNA which Japan was engaging in. The film concerns the friendship between Bagi (a pink genetically engineered cross between a Mountain lion and a human), and Ryosuke Ishigami, a human who had originally helped raise her (and whose geneticist mother had been responsible for Bagi's creation in the first place).
  • Jumping, 1984. A 6 minute animation film (not anime style) showing the world from the point of view of a bouncing ball (or jumping child). Each jump of the camera goes higher, each landing is a visual surprise (i.e, a city setting, a jungle, the ocean floor, a battle field in wartime, the depths of Hell, etc.). Jumping won the Grand Prize at the 1984 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.
  • Say Hello to Bookila, 1985. A manga centered around a somewhat hapless TV personality named Neoki Toroko. The TV station where she works has been haunted for the past three years by a mysterious entity. However, the hauntings never occur when Neoki is on TV. As it turns out, this is because the entity - Bookila - is Neoki's friend. Bookila is a creature about the size of a small boy, and also resembles a child, but has cat ears. This manga marks one of the very rare occasions in which the usually villainous Rock was used by Tezuka in a lighter and more comedic role.
  • Broken Down Film, 1985. A 6 minute animation film (not anime style) which parodied old cartoons, and the techniques used by animators to fake a 'film break', by having a Wild West cartoon, supposedly made in 1885, continually have faults with the tracking and the film running too fast, as well as the occasional break in the film, rendering it impossible sometimes for characters to do anything.
  • Duke Goblin, 1985–1986. Duke Goblin was a science fiction story in which a boy named Chinki discovers a huge ancient Chinese statue which can be activated by the powers of a girl named Aiai. When the giant acts against Aiai's will and destroys a town, she sinks it in the Yellow River. However, Chinki immediately sees the statue's potential for destruction and renames himself Duke Goblin, with plans to conquer the world using the statue. Chinki is opposed by Aiai, her friend Kanichi, and a Buddhist priest named Tenran.
  • Mid Night, 1986–1987. Mid Night is the story of a taxi driver named Shinya Mito (whose name is literally Japanese for "mid" and "night") and his various passengers, each of whom he helps in various ways. Shinya drives a taxi as a way to earn money for the treatment of a young woman named Mari, whose brain was injured sometime earlier as the result of an accident Shinya was responsible for causing. The taxi Shinya drives is equipped with a fifth wheel which makes the car more maneuverable under any kind of road conditions.
  • Mori no densetsu, (Legend of the Forest) 1987, 29 min. An homage to the history of animation in the form of a parody. The film starts with 19th century-style illustrations and slowly progresses from static images to animation, from Black-and-white to colour, from silent to sound, finally arriving at computer aided animation.
  • Gringo (manga), 1987–1989. Gringo was one of Tezuka's very last manga projects, and was still being published until only a couple of weeks before his death. Gringo is the story of Himoto Hitoshi, a Japanese businessman working in South America. His character is loosely based on that of Wakaoji Nobuyuki, a Japanese businessman who had been captured by Filipino guerillas in 1986.
  • Ludwig B, 1987–1989. Ludwig B was an uncompleted manga series based on the life of Ludwig van Beethoven, who was Tezuka's favorite classical music composer. Tezuka had apparently intended Ludwig B to be another massive biographical work along the lines of Buddha, but died less than two years into the project.
  • Blue Blink, 1989–1990. Blue Blink is the story of a boy named Kakeru and a blue horse from outer space named Blink. When Kakeru's father is kidnapped, Blink and Kakeru set out to try to find him. 39 episodes were produced. Blue Blink is notable since it was the final anime Tezuka worked on, though he'd only finished writing the first few synopses at the time of his death.
  • In the Beginning: The Bible Stories, 1997. In the Beginning was a 26-episode animated adaptation of The Bible (the second anime version of such, following Tatsunoko Production's Superbook and The Flying House), beginning with Genesis and ending with the birth of Jesus Christ. The project was begun late in Tezuka's life and was instigated at the request of the Vatican. Tezuka was heavily involved with the production of the pilot episode, but died before the episode was completed. Production of the pilot and series was completed by Osamu Dezaki. The series has been dubbed into Japanese, English, and Italian.
  • Pluto (manga), 2003–present. Although not written or drawn by Tezuka (its creator is Naoki Urasawa, though Tezuka is also credited), Pluto reimagines the events and characters in the Astro Boy story "Chijou saidai no robotto" ("The World's Strongest Robot"), making it into a darker and grittier story in the process. Although still uncompleted as of late 2006, the series has received glowing reviews so far.

See also

  • List of Osamu Tezuka anime
  • List of Osamu Tezuka manga
  • Macoto Tezka
  • Osamu Tezuka's Star System
  • Tezuka Award
  • Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize

Sources

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