Ode to Kirihito

Front Cover
Vertical, 2006 - Comics & Graphic Novels - 822 pages
157 Reviews
It may or may not be contagious. There seems to be no cure for it. Yet, Monmow Disease, a life-threatening condition that transforms a person into a dog-like beast, is not the only villain in this shocking triumph of a medical thriller by manga-god Osamu Tezuka. Said to have been the personal favorite of the artist, who held a degree in medicine, and surprisingly attentive to Christian themes and imagery, Ode to Kirihito demolishes naive notions about human nature and health and likely preconceptions about the comics master himself.

From pregnant vistas of the Japanese countryside to closed rooms full of sin and redemption, Tezuka astounds for more than eight hundred continuous pages, his art in turn easefully concise and flamboyantly experimental, his inquiry into our most repugnant instincts and prospects for overcoming them unflinchingly serious. Incorporating elements of the often lurid and adult-oriented “gekiga” style for the first time, Tezuka entered into his fruitful late period with this work.

A promising young doctor, Kirihito Osanai visits a remote Japanese mountain village to investigate the source of the latest medical mystery. While he ends up traveling the world to discover what it takes to be cured of such a disease, a conspiracy back home attempts to explain away his absence. Hinging upon his fate are those of his loved ones: an unstable childhood friend and colleague trapped between factions of the medical establishment that nurtured him; a fiancée emotionally transformed by Kirihito’s mysterious disappearance; and a stranger who becomes his guardian angel, a sensual circus-act performer with volatile psychological secrets.

From plutocratic Taipei and racially divided South Africa to backwater Arabia and modern Osaka, ambition and desire beckon “normal men” to behave uglier than any beast. Riveting our attention on deformity and its acceptance like The Elephant Man by David Lynch, Ode to Kirihito examines the true worth of human beings through and beyond appearances.

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Brilliant artwork, engaging, medical thriller. - Goodreads
The drawings and overall design/layout is amazing. - Goodreads
First part is gripping and a real page turner. - Goodreads
As always, Tezuka's graphic storytelling is masterful. - Goodreads
The artwork in this book is amazing. - Goodreads
Some of the artwork is nearly mind-altering. - Goodreads

Review: Ode to Kirihito (Kirihito #1-4)

User Review  - Mayank Agarwal - Goodreads

The story started strong with an intriguing plot and overall dark theme suited for adult audience. We have typical Tezuka style storytelling - being unforgiving in showcasing the depravity of mankind ... Read full review

Review: Ode to Kirihito (Kirihito #1-4)

User Review  - Jack - Goodreads

Extraordinarily bleak portrait of human behavior that ends on uneasy terms. Read full review

About the author (2006)

Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was still then considered a frivolous medium. With his sweeping vision, deftly intertwined plots, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. His eight-volume epic Buddha, winner of the Eisner and Harvey Awards, is also available from Vertical.

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