Monday, November 07, 2011

Manga Monday: No Longer Human

No Longer Human (Volume 1)
Usamaru Furuya
Based on the novel by Osamu Dazai

Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human is the second bestselling novel in all of Japan, and Usamaru Furuya adapted that beloved story into a manga for Dazai's 100th birthday.  And is very successful.  This book sees a manga artist looking for inspiration for a new story, and stumbling across the on-line journals of Yozo Oba.  Oba is a student loved by his fellow classmates, smart but modest, and entertaining and funny, as well as handsome and rich.  But his life is a charade.  He's very calculating in how he acts around people and puts on a show so that people will like him.  He doesn't connect with other people, doesn't understand them, and so his life has become a farce.  Oba soon meets Masao Horiki, a bad boy who's used to indulging his whims: drinking, smoking and going to prostitutes for sex.  And it seems that Oba isn't new to this world.  When he sleeps with prostitutes is the only time that he feels like he can really be himself.  He gives them money and indulges himself completely, without the pretense and showmanship that the rest of his life has become.  Throughout the first volume of this series, we see Oba travel a slippery slope, disconnected from those around him, while satisfying his desires, watching the people around him, and going as low as he can go.  I really liked following Oba through this journey.  No Longer Human is a thoughtful, sexy read, and it's illustrated absolutely beautifully.  I can't imagine that Dazai wouldn't be extremely proud of Furuya's adaptation of his work.

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