ColossalCon 2010 Live Blog – Osamu Tezuka
He grew up often made fun of for various reasons including his wavy hair. His mom had a very large influence on him since she brought him to see this female troupe. He was affected by the war and grew up as a war child. He was going to be a licensed surgeon and then somewhere along the way he decided to go into comics. His mom was very supportive so he went with that dream. He started New Treasure Island, one of his most well known works. He then started working on Atom Boy (aka Astro Boy). Tezuka was actually in the Astro Boy movie as one of the scientist’s assistants. The original was a lot of firsts – one of the first full panel comics. He also revolutionized how magazines were printed up raising the standards. A lot of famous people such as Leiji Matsumoto and Tomino worked on Astro Boy. Episode 66 is the highest viewership of any show in Japan, similar in viewership to the ending of Mash or Seinfeld. The creator of Cyborg 009 (Shotaro Ishinomori) used a very similar style to Tezuka.
Mushi Productions was founded by Tezuka because he was really into insects as a child and realized that insects have just as much importance as humans. Astro Boy set a precedent for animation but they ended up not having the budget. The frame rate had to be cut in half to save on production costs so that’s why it looks so bad. The lower frame rate was kept on for a while and he was also a very demanding boss who overworked his workers and underpaid them. Tezuka was really influenced by Disney and adored the large expressive eyes (also Betty Boop). That’s where the large anime eyes originated. When Tezuka finally met Disney it was a chance meeting and Disney didn’t really think anything of him at first but once he found out that Tezuka did Astro Boy Disney turned fanboy.
Tezuka tried to kill off Astro Boy but had to ret-con it and give it a better ending after receiving a lot of angry letters from fans.
His next work, his masterpiece, is Phoenix. It’s a series of short stories with the theme of rebirth and heavily influenced by Buddhism.
The next work is his favorite character, Black Jack. He’s a licensed surgeon who got blown to pieces by a land mine on the beach as a child. He was pieced together by various parts and has scars all over his body. They’re currently releasing the manga and you can find it at your local bookstore. The cover actually does not have Black Jack on it and is only on the spine. There are two movies of Black Jack. The Two Doctors of Darkness was premiered in the US but will probably never be released in the US. Black Jack created Pinoko from a tumor. She has the body of a 6 year old but the mind of a 18 year old. She was taught everything by Black Jack. There is a 6-part OVA from 1991/1992. It has nothing to do with the light-hearted nature of the manga – it’s a lot darker. It’s really gruesome but highly recommended. Black Jack 21 is a 21 episode TV series that wasn’t very good. It was more of a milking of the series and they just added extra characters.
Adolf is also very recommended. It’s about three guys named Adolf. Adolf Hitler, Adolf a young German boy, and Adolf a Jewish boy. It’s an interesting look at how the three characters can come together. You can have Hitler in one panel being very serious while in the next panel being childish and throwing a fit over some mishap that happened. It has one of the best surprise endings that you will be satisfied with. Tezuka is not exactly pro-woman and was just doing the norm for a Japanese male at the time – this in reference to the rape scene in it that does not actually depict the actual act.
Apollo’s Song deals with environmental issues and human rights. Princess Knight is known as the first Shoujo about a princess who has to masquerade as a boy and was the inspiration for Rose of Versailles. Revolutionary Girl Utena is also influenced by it. He liked girly things because of his earlier exposure to the female troupe. He did a really bad movie called Marine Express which was for charity work. It started off well and has Princess Sapphire, Black Jack, Astro Boy, and some of his other characters. A murder mystery happens and then all of a sudden the train derails underwater and they time warp to the Aztec empire. The second half was really bad and the panelist said she actually fell asleep three times before finishing it.
The live action Black Jack doesn’t make any sense and is really 1970’s. There is a bunch of dancing and disco lights. It’s bad. She only got through the opening.
Cleopatra is the first hentai produced. It’s actually “tasteful” as opposed to the more recent ones.
Tezuka was actually commissioned by the Vatican to produce Bible stories.
Kimba the white lion is like Lion King except that it came out 20 years before. Unico is really sad since it is about the last unicorn in which the bad guy is trying to destroy the baby unicorn.
Tezuka created the Tezuka star system in which he can reuse the characters, changing names and outfits. A good example is Metropolis. His inspiration for the manga was by seeing a movie poster of the 1920’s movie. The manga is not very good but the anime is excellent. It stars a lot of the characters including Mr. Moustachio in Astro Boy, the coffee shop owner in Black Jack, and the older uncle character in Metropolis. Rock from Astro Boy is also in Metropolis. Leiji Matsumoto is influenced by the star system. CLAMP was also heavily influenced by this system in which they can reuse the same characters.
He often mentions “Country X” which is actually the US. At the time Japan was very critical of the US-Japan relations.
Tezuka passed away on Feb 9, 1989 due to stomach cancer – the same date he was born. His final words were “Please, let me work.” He was very devoted to his work. He died a month after the Emperor died and the government wanted to downplay his death since the people were more concerned about his death than the Emperor’s death.
There’s currently a museum for Tezuka.