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“I don’t know much about manga but I know what I like” could well be the title of this review. Despite the urgings of enthusiastic friends ever since the 1970s, I sedulously avoided reading works in this genre. Occasional glimpses of the films of anime giant Miyazaki Hayao made me think, “Splendid — They’re playing songs of love, but not for me …” Great, then, was my amazement when I came across this English version of fugitive gekiga — the term that Yoshihiro Tatsumi coined in the 1950s to distinguish his works from more usual manga.

Manga had been, and to a degree still are, aimed at children, while Tatsumi’s works are aimed at young adults and above. Manga are often comic in intent; the humor in Tatsumi’s gekiga is of the paint-it-black variety. Manga are for entertainment; Tatsumi aims to make his readers feel, think and squirm a good deal.

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