Osamu Tezuka, the “god of manga,” was born in 1928 in Osaka Prefecture. Though he showed early promise as a young artist and storyteller, no one could have imagined how successful he would become. Tezuka is a hero in Japan, a pioneer on equal standing with the world’s other great illustrators and animators, including Walt Disney. This high status is a result of his prolific output, innovative style and the role he played in elevating manga to a form of art. Tezuka’s legacy continues to grow in Japan and abroad as new reissues or translations of his more than 700 publications are released — from tales of robot “Astro Boy” to the troubled world of doctor “Black Jack.” Then there are the ongoing exhibitions of his work at museums across Japan, including the Tezuka Osamu Manga Museum in his hometown of Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. And now, at last, we have the full story of his life: an English translation of his definitive biography.

What better way to showcase the life of manga master Osamu Tezuka then with a biographical manga? Originally published in Japanese three years after Tezuka’s death in 1992, this 900-plus-page book by Toshio Ban and Tezuka Productions, and translated by Frederik L. Schodt, is a must read for anyone with a passing interest in the evolution of manga and anime. More than a simple biography, “The Osamu Tezuka Story” is a background to Tezuka’s many works, and a revealing historical study of life in prewar Osaka and postwar Tokyo. Narrated by Shunsuke Ban, a character from Tezuka’s “Star System” who appeared in two of the artist’s manga — “Astro Boy” and “Metropolis” — this comprehensive biography shows the complexity of the artist’s life and times.

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