Over four decades ago, Yoshihiro Tatsumi expanded the horizons of comics storytelling by using the visual language of manga to tell gritty, literary stories about the private lives of everyday people. He has been called "the grandfather of Japanese alternative comics" and has influenced generations of cartoonists around the world. Now the visionary creator of "The Push Man and Other Stories" and "Good-bye" has turned his incisive, unflinching gaze upon himself. Over ten years in the making, "A Drifting Life" is Tatsumis' most ambitious, personal, and heart felt work: an autobiographical bildungsroman in comics form. Using his life long obsession with comics as a frame work, Tatsumi weaves a complex story that encompasses family dynamics, Japanese culture and history, first love, the intricacies of the manga industry, and most importantly, what it means to be an artist. Alternately humorous, enlightening, and haunting, this is the masterful summartion of a fascinating life and a historic career.
Gekiga Hyouryuu was published in English as A Drifting Life by Drawn & Quarterly on April 14, 2009. It was also published in Polish as Życie. Powieść graficzna by Wydawnictwo Komiksowe in one-volume edition.
A Drifting Life tells an interesting tale. It falls into many of the pitfalls you would expect from a non-fiction work, in terms of irregular pacing, as well as not having any real arc to the story. However, it still manages to be incredibly well put together despite these shortcomings, and I had fun reading through it.
The tone of the story is often an uplifting and motivating one, with a few darker elements here & there. The whole story seems to work, though, as it feels very realistic. These aren't the trials and tribulations of fictional characters, but actual drama that happened to actual people,
and the fact that some of that drama comes out of nowhere makes it even more striking when it does happen, and it makes the characters feel very realistic.
Speaking of the characters, I really enjoyed them. It feels a little odd to even call them characters, since they're all based on real people. However, they each have their own, unique personality that lends itself to the overall story really well. I feel like this is probably the strongest element of the book, and it's what kept me most interested in it as I got deeper and deeper in.
Aside from that, I also really enjoyed the setting. The book brings you right into that era of Japan, and it's interesting to see how Japan develops around the characters as well. There's also a lot of references to classic manga and artists in here, and it was pretty interesting just seeing all the references to these books and their creators, even if I'm unfamiliar with a lot of them.
The art is somewhat simple, but looks really great, evoking the style of many manga of the era. The backgrounds are drawn wonderfully, and have a lot of detail put into them, but I think my favorite thing about the art is the character design, which splits the difference between cartoony and realistic art styles, perfectly.
This book is easily recommendable to anybody who has any interest in manga history or manga creation, and also recommendable to anybody who just likes a good slice-of-life drama.
Plain, old, basically classic gageki. Deliberately done in an old fashion style to evoke a feeling of antiquity.
Just a biography of the life of Tatsumi and the hurdles he went through in developing a new style of manga.
These are real people. Although an interesting choice by the author to rename himself and his family as characters, I believe his intention is to create a manga persona and not focus much on his family situation, which was portrayed as bad a the time but somehow fixed itself overtime.
Pretty boring at most of the time. The only thing keeping me reading this,
is the fact that im reading this for 2019 manga challenge as well as the importance of Tatsumi as an author.
Only recommend if you are interested in Tatsumi's work or what he did for manga and seinen in general. If you want to read a gekiga manga, there are better ones out there.
The first third of the manga is all about Tatsumi's early life, before he became a professional manga artist. Drawing 4 pannels with his brother and submitting them to amateur reader's contests for his favourite serialisations, winning amateur awards. This act is all about how the setbacks he experienced, as well as the motivation and demotivation from his family, mostly his brother, and how it would alter attitude towards his manga hobby.
Hiroshi constantly expresses throughout the middle of the manga in the his distaste for the protrayal of the 50s era of manga which reflects Tatsumi's own beliefs about manga at the time.
Tatsumi didn't like the connations of manga being 4-pannel comics due to the populatisation of this style. His rejection can be seen in one scene where he asked of the removal of the world manga from the Shadow monthly publications. Often looking to inspiration from movies,
Hiroshi would incorperate film techniques into his manga and built a strong toolbox of techniques he would later use to create his own genre. Hiroshi hated the limitations of manga, not being able to be written in real time like movies, he wanted change
believing that someone would create a new style of manga, foreshadowing the creation of Gekiga genre.
Tatsumi was experimental with his mangas that werent mangas as depicted in Horoshi. The techniques he incorarporated would influence other award winning manga authors. Tatsumi importance to seinen as a genre cannot be stress, yes his biggest influence was on Osamu Tezuka with his later works of A message to adolf and Pheonix having elements of gekiga but his probally most important influence was Naoki Urasawa who wrote the three master pieces of seinen manga, Pluto (co written with Tezuka), Monster, and 20th Century Boys.
However, another key aspect conveyed is this manga, is that Tatsumi was also influence by different manga authors and mediums. According to the manga, Hiroshi wanted to distinguish his manga from children manga so he used the word gekiga in one of his titles, and thats how the term was coined.
Tatsumi basically forms a gekiga workshop group, gets sick of it and loses all motivation. Then the ending is Tatsumi/Hiroshi having an epiphany that he will never give up on gekiga and that is where the story ends. There is an epilogue after the great Osamu Tezuka dies and where Tatsumi is now.