Monday, December 10, 2007

Manga Monday: MW

Osama Tezuka

Like all of Osama Tezuka's works that I've been fortunate enough to have read, I loved MW. All 500+ pages are collected under a beautiful hardcover courtesy of Vertical, who has already provided readers with other great Tezuka packages like Apollo's Song and Ode To Kirihito. This particular story follows two lone survivors from an island near Okinawa, where a poisonous gas leak from a military facility led to an elaborate cover-up by the government after everyone on the island died. The two survivors haven't forgotten and fifteen years later, take steps toward exposing the event. Garai is a priest who was once in a gang, and is now under the thrall of the dangerous man who also survived the MW gas leak as a young boy, Michio Yuki. Michio is a charming up-and-comer who gets what he wants no matter what, often deceiving those around him, playing a part and using people for his nefarious purposes. When he was exposed to MW, he lost his ability to sympathize with others, and aside from an odd attachment to his childhood molester, he indulges in murder, robbery and frame jobs, all the while playing with the people who cross his path and satisfying his bestial sexual appetite. Tezuka gives readers a good hard look at evil in this man without a conscience, a great contrast with the priest who is our protagonist and who we experience most of the story through. While MW is more twisted than what I've read from the writer in the past (which is saying something), I loved every minute of it. Despite a pretty detestable character he created in Michio, I found myself hoping for him to get away with things over and over again, particularly in the face of an evil that was a little more insurmountable: the government. This is an interesting book, certainly suspenseful all the way through, and illustrated beautifully, as one would expect from a Tezuka work. There were a few predictable plot twists in there, but for the most part, I was kept on my toes and intrigued from the first page to the last. A

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