The Book of Human Insects
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The Book of Human Insects

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  391 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Toshiko Tomura is a genius; the darling of the intelligentsia. A modern-day Michelangelo, this twenty year-old is already an established international stage actress, an up-and-coming architect, and the next recipient of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize as Japan's best new writer. Her actions make headlines in the papers, and inspire radio and television programming. And lik...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 20th 2011 by Vertical
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(showing 1-30 of 631)
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Francesco Zampa
Osamu Tezuka è un artista di fama internazionale non a caso. Per quanto mi riguarda, pur non essendo particolarmente affezionato ai manga in genere, devo riconoscergli una capacità di inventare di inventare personaggi e situazioni molto insolita, il che fa di molte delle sue creazioni, perlomeno quelle che ho letto io finora, dei capolavori del genere. Anche questa "Cronaca" riflette tutti i tratti caratteristici dell'autore e ogni co-protagonista ha una sua funzione peculiare. Si legge nella po...more
Thomas Maluck
Tezuka kept me guessing in every chapter. He takes aim at the "new breed" he saw coming up in the 70s, obsessed with consumerism and free sex, and follows those values to absurd (and absurdly entertaining) lengths. What's it like to live only knowing how to imitate, seduce, and acquire? How does one resist such a lifestyle without becoming a victim? Several different lifestyles (celebrity, corporate, artistic) are corrupted by Toshiko Tomura, who always gets her way. Follow her around awhile; Te...more
Sergio Arroyo
Kageri Usuba es una joven actriz que rápidamente surge a la fama como parte de una compañía teatral. No satisfecha con su triunfo en las tablas, se convierte en la directora de la compañía. Pero, como si sus acciones la cansaran o la desgastaran, se empieza a dedicar a actividades distintas, no siempre las más saludables: diseñadora de interiores, escritora, mafiosa, asesina y fotógrafa. Invariablemente, termina escapando del mundo para refugiarse en su casa de infancia, donde por fin puede deja...more
The dust jacket called this book the first of Tezuka's mature works, aimed for adults. However, I found that this wasn't the kind of profound, literary adult audience of Phoenix or Buddha, but rather the one of racy airport fiction.

The plot uses the kind of multi-leg segmentation that Tezuka later uses to great effect in some of the volumes of Phoenix - a 'Simpsons' kind of plot where an entire story arc is used only to introduce another one. The issue here is that there is no "real" plot that...more
Sandeep Mathias
Before Catherine Trammell, there was ... Toshiko Tomura. A genius who is the fastest learner in the East, with parasitic tendencies.

While most of us know of Tezuka because of his works such as Astro Boy and Black Jack, this book, published by Vertical Inc. gives us a look at his full range of talent, especially in writing a psycohlogical thriller work. Due to the content, it is in some ways similar to MW, his other extremely dark manga.
Alberto Carlos
Interesante relato de Tezuka. Un drama en varios actos con una femme fatale algo atípica y de la que no me extrañaría que surgieran tvmovies antenatreseras.

En serio, muy buen manga.
Entre toda la mediocridad humana que la rodea, Toshiko Tomura destaca como un sol en medio de la oscuridad: con apenas 20 años es una actriz de éxito internacional, una arquitecta en ciernes y, en definitiva, la reencarnación contemporánea de Leonardo Da Vinci. Guapa, encantadora y misteriosa, Toshiko es el objeto de envidia y admiración de todos los hombres y mujeres que están a su alrededor... Pero la aparición de Ryotaro, un antiguo amante, nos descubrirá que no es oro todo lo que reluce: par...more
Chris Cabrera
I agree with the reviewer who was dissatisfied with the work because of the ambiguity of the main character. It was a bit frustrating trying to decode her actions at times and by the end things are still left unclear. There is always this uncertainty to her actions and her responses, there is always doubt to her sincerity and emotions. However, it's pretty amazing that Tezuka was able to craft a character so cunning that they deceived the reader in this way, almost paralleling what a clever woma...more
Josephus FromPlacitas
This was an odd mixture of enjoyment and alienation for me. I'm not a huge Tezuka aficionado, so it was a new experience to read his stuff, especially the more "adult" driven work. It feels weird to read: there are big themes and interesting characters, but a cartoony sensibility puts a limit on how affecting their stories can be. The drawings of jazz clubs and urban industrializing 1960s Japan are just magical. The set piece where one character is killed in rhythm with a nearby piledriver was p...more
Paul Vromen
This is only the second novel of Tezuka that I have read, but if this is any indication of the quality I should expect from his vast oeuvre (this book is rated nowhere near his best among critics), then I am in for a treat.

Tezuka, eternally optimistic and idealistic though he was, nevertheless released a series of incredibly dark and cynical graphic novels throughout the 1970s. 'The Book of Human Insects' is one such novel, with 'MW' being another classic example, and one that I am currently re...more
Rodolfo Schmauk
Luego de haber leído varias cosas "adultas" de Tezuka (MW, Adolf, Fénix, Oda a Kirihito, entre otros), esperaba más de esta obra, especialmente considerando que la encontré gracias a una lista de "lo mejor publicado el 2013 en español". Sin ser mala ni defraudar, está bastante lejos de las otras obras mencionadas arriba, y definitivamente no entraría en mi lista de lo mejor del año. Probablemente más una lectura para afanes completistas, creo que me hubiera satisfecho más una relectura de Kirihi...more
The Book of Human Insects is filled with beautiful imagery. With a single panel, Tezuka is able to relay the mood and thoughts of a character in a way that is striking and moving. The story is an intriguing one, telling a tale of those who use others to get ahead, and the ones who are used and left to waste. My only complaint would be how abruptly the series ends. I was hoping for a bit more out of it, but it ended up feeling cut off.

This is my second reading of The Book of Human Insects, and I...more
Though modern at the time (1970s), Tezuka's artwork is now nostalgic, big eyes, clean lines, and economically illustrated pages. His storytelling, however, is timeless. By the end of the book, Katydid, I actually felt sort of sorry for Tezuka's protagonist (in spite of my wishing she had met her just deserts). In the end, she is alone, having destroyed her safety nets.

The Book of Human Insects was a book I couldn't put down. Despite skipping to the end, it still engaged me because I wanted to k...more
Gonzalo Oyanedel
Tezuka en enfoque adulto para una historia de intrigas, traiciones y muerte que tiene como foco a una mujer tan manipuladora como despiadada, consciente de sus facultades y dispuesta a utilizarlas para mantenerse en la cúspide de la pirámide social. Excelente narración y buenos perfiles para una historia cuyo gran bemol es su predecible remate.
Dark and devious epic masterpiece!
This may be my favorite Tezuka book outside of the Buddha series,
and that is saying a-lot!
I was quite scared that the ending would be a let-down,
thankfully,I was wrong!

A young seemingly prodigious woman named Toshiko Tomura is rising in Japan's elite stratosphere. Designer, actress, and now writer, it seems there is nothing she can't excel at. She is an ace alright. An ace at mimicry, manipulation and theft. The book chronicles the lives of Toshiko and the men and women she embezzles, dupes, seduces, stabs and breaks in her rise to the top. The art is amazing, the story well placed and the message ever relevant. You don't much root for anyone, as most of the c...more
This is the first book that I have read by Tezuka and I was very surprised. Surprised by the sophistication of the story and by how much I enjoy his beautiful line work. He also wasn't afraid to experiment with storytelling technique. In many panels, he does his best to convey emotion using shapes and designs. It's also interesting to notice how strongly some Western comic artists were influenced. Two artists that stand out very strongly to me are Dave Sim and David Mazzucchelli. This is a true...more
Emilia P
Girls are crazy, aren't they, T.O.?
Word. Sometimes they are murdery psychopaths with a reallllly weird thing about their moms. Oh, man. It was a fun read, as always, but, well, that's all. Lots of ridiculous intrigue, maybe some Korean gangsters, and so on, and so forth. Will the font of Tezuka ridiculousness ever run out? Let's hope not.
David Hilton
I read this because I love Tezuka's Buddha series - 8 graphic novels telling the stories of the life of Buddha. I've read a few other works by him since and have been disappointed. This one is raunchy and thin. It has a bit of "Bonfire of the Vanities" to it and maybe some "Girls." The drawing style is great, but the story doesn't speak to me.
Michelle Smith
Wow... I have never read Tezuka before, and now I'm glad that I finally have. He is a master storyteller, and really excels in the manga medium, weaving images with script like a movie director. He reveals the story rapidly, each word and picture essential to the plot.

The main character, Tomura, is nasty, driven by her loneliness, and cut-throat in her motivations. She leaves them "drained" and "sucked dry" in her wake, which is vast. A complex and intriguing protagonist.

Highly recommended.
osamu tezuka's the book of human insects reminded me a lot of junji ito's tomie in that they both crafted a character from a very misogynist understanding of women. why doesn't anyone want to write something about a scary killer lady that doesn't rely on sexist tropes???? that is all i want. literally. that's all i want. someone give me that.
Nick D.
What a beautiful read! It captured the 70's crime drama feeling so well you can almost hear an Ulmani-esque soundtrack in the background. Just helps prove what a master story teller Tezuka was. A great read for those who like the genre, or for those looking to see where today's manga influences came from.....
Aaron Cockle
About midway through part 3 now. Good pulpy story about a plagiarist, kind of noir-y, and a bit sleazy. Nicely published by Vertical, though they flipped the page order to read left-to-right for Western audiences. I assume these Western audiences are grateful for this?
A surprise from the author who gave me such childhood memories as Astro boy and Kimba the white lion.

This book is a dark gritty look the main character Toshiko Tomura a modern day Michelangelo and the lengths she will go to preserve that image.

Well worth the read
I am a big fan of his work and this is a great part of graphic novel history. Written in the 1970s, Tezuka expertly weaves this tale about a female sociopath who preys on men (and women) by mimicking their talents to advance her own success.
I think this is real graphic novel. It has lots of drawing, but I really feel I'm reading a serious book.

Humans are scary. Insects are predictable, most of them at least. But humans vary from bad to worse, worser, and abyssmal.
I just realized that I had gotten this book and MW (another of Tezuka's more adult works) mixed up with each other. Both have lead characters that are serial killers that are well-versed in the art of seduction and mimicry.
Genesis Hansen
Read this for Graphic Novel Book Club and found it interesting but not exactly enjoyable. Good book for discussion, though. I still find it hard to believe this is the same guy who wrote Astro Boy!
the artwork in this book is amazing. however, the story is strange, and not really in a good way. i found myself constantly abandoning it to read more enthralling things ...
Apr 04, 2012 Megan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: manga
Another great graphic novel by Tezuka. Tezuka explores many facets of several characters. He is adept at showing the good and bad in us all. This was a great read!
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From Wikipedia:
Dr. Osamu Tezuka (手塚 治虫) was a Japanese manga artist, animator, producer and medical doctor, although he never practiced medicine. Born in Osaka Prefecture, he is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He is often credited as the "Father of Anime", and is often considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his f...more
More about Osamu Tezuka...
Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (Buddha #1) Buddha, Vol. 2: The Four Encounters  (Buddha #2) Buddha, Vol. 3: Devadatta Buddha, Vol. 4: The Forest of Uruvela Buddha, Vol. 5: Deer Park

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