Under the Air manga review
This collection of short stories, which were penned by Osamu Tezuka between 1968 and 1970, was crowdfunded by Digital Manga Publishing. Twice. The campaign didn’t raise enough cash first time around, but thankfully the publishers gave it another shot and succeeded.
The resulting volume, Under the Air, sports a mix of stories – from period pieces to science fiction. These include Joe’s Visitor, which follows a racist Vietnam vet who is horrified to learn that his donated organs come from a black soldier; The Duel at Grand Mesa, a western about a man seeking revenge for the murder of his father; Chameleon, a tale of industrial espionage and drug addiction; and Illicit Love, whose protagonist is in an incestuous relationship with his own sister.
Two of the stories feature Tezuka himself as the central character: Cape Uroko, which sees him travel to a remote island, where a boy falls down a hole that is linked to a mythical past; and Rovanna, where he meets up with an old acquaintance who has, shall we say, a peculiar relationship with a donkey.
As you might expect from such a collection, the quality of the stories is variable, but most prove enjoyable. As you also might gather from a manga whose cover is dominated by a topless lady, many of the themes dealt with in Under the Air are controversial, but as always Osamu Tezuka can be counted on to make them engaging. Well worth a read. Reviewed by Ian Wolf
Credits: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing
Release Date: Out Now
Price: $15.96 (£11.80, print) $9.95 (£7.35, digital)
© 2017 Tezuka Productions