Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Book of Human Insects” as Want to Read:
The Book of Human Insects
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Book of Human Insects

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  763 Ratings  ·  72 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 (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Book of Human Insects, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Book of Human Insects

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 12, 2017 Vikram rated it really liked it
One of the weirdest book i've ever read. It started off good and pulled me into the story. It kinda reeled off a bit in the third chapter. Maybe i should have done a research on what they were talking about. I dunno, but it kinda felt weird and cringe reading some of the panels but they're essential to understand the mentality of Tomura. All in all its worth your time reading it
Joey Dhaumya
Sep 24, 2014 Joey Dhaumya rated it liked it
Where this book succeeded was having a thrilling and dynamic story, even if without a clear plot, and creating several intriguing characters with some decent character development over its course.

Where it failed was not developing them enough. Instead of uni-dimensional characters we get excellent two-dimensional characters, but they largely end up seeming like empty puppets. It all could have been redeemed if we got more insight into the mind of the protagonist, Toshiko Tomura, or at least
Nov 30, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mi primer Tezuka. Se entiende enseguida el prestigio que tiene. La distancia con otros autores del manga y del cómic en general es enorme, tanto en calidad como en personalidad. Dibujo sencillo y muy expresivo para una historia muy bien trazada. Qué personajes. Este libro es de 1970. Ahora lo reedita -magníficamente- Astiberri.
Dec 06, 2016 Anisha rated it it was ok
I had no idea what I was getting into. I don't know the first thing about manga..but this has got to be the weirdest book I read this year!
Stephen Douglas Rowland
Apr 04, 2017 Stephen Douglas Rowland rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Possibly the best thing I've read from Tezuka.
Francesco Zampa
Jan 06, 2014 Francesco Zampa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 21, 2011 Thomas Maluck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga, best-of-2011
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
Sandeep Mathias
Aug 03, 2013 Sandeep Mathias rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 22, 2013 Alberto Carlos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Daniel Ausente
Feb 17, 2014 Daniel Ausente rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Escribí sobre este cómic en la web Gencomics
May 25, 2017 Jewel rated it it was amazing
another fantastic Tezuka creation. this one however leaves the reader with no sense of relief at the end! Amy Dunne from Gone Girl could certainly take some lessons from the femme fatale of The Book of Human Insects. after chapter one, the book somewhat reminded me of Kobo Abe's The Woman in the Dunes as both use the "inescapable devil woman" and insect theme - both were even composed roughly 8 years apart! however, Abe's book is a gritty psychological thriller while Tezuka's 1970 graphic novel ...more
Onur Yilmaz
May 29, 2017 Onur Yilmaz rated it liked it
Femme Fetale'nin bitmek bilmez entrikaları. Çok keyifle okuduğum söylenemez. Ama Tezuka ile tanışmak açısından iyi oldu. Hikayeyi bu denli uzatıp sarkıtmasa çok iyi olurmuş, bir yerden sonra artık bunaldım, zorlukla bitirebildim. Hızlı okuma yapabilenlere tavsiye edilebilir.
Katrina Forrestall
May 10, 2017 Katrina Forrestall rated it liked it
Mar 07, 2017 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: manga
This is interestingly similar to Ben Ames Williams' novel The Strange Woman. If you enjoyed this, I'd suggest hunting down a copy of the other.
Mar 14, 2015 Kate added it
Shelves: 2015
Listen, I don't want to scream "misogyny!" every time I read a story written by a man about a female character I don't like. But between this and Ayako it's kind of hard to ignore. First of all, Tezuka's Ayako is all about a nubile young woman who systematically destroys everyone around her. She has very little personality. The Book of Human Insects is about a nubile young woman who systematically destroys everyone around her. She has very little personality. I understand that in gekiga charact ...more
Oct 06, 2013 Tizire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Roxana-Mălina Chirilă
I'm starting to fall in love with Osamu Tezuka; after reading MW, I wonder if he has more evil geniuses in the rest of his works, more clever plots and intrigues.

"The Book of Human Insects" is about a single human insect, really, despite the title: Toshiko Tomura, a woman whose sole talent is to imitate others until she steals their identities. When she becomes an actress, she effectively takes on a successful actress's mannerisms, style and personality until she becomes that particular actress.
Josephus FromPlacitas
May 17, 2013 Josephus FromPlacitas rated it really liked it
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
ash newton
Jan 13, 2016 ash newton rated it really liked it
Shelves: novigraafix
while i wouldn't classify this among tezuka's best work, toshiko tomura is a brilliant character, both because her character is just that in her pursuit of diverse talents and because she has a way of remaining sympathetic in the eyes of the reader despite being at the center of many lives that are ruined along her path to success. many of those she victimizes in her process of copycatting develop a begrudging respect for her, and some cannot shake the love they had developed for her, maybe beca ...more
Paul Vromen
Sep 04, 2012 Paul Vromen rated it really liked it
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
Chris Cabrera
Jan 07, 2012 Chris Cabrera rated it really liked it
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
Mar 14, 2014 Harperac rated it it was ok
Shelves: japan, comics
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
Jun 30, 2013 Vincent rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga
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
Jul 13, 2013 Stuart rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
An interesting tale of a narcissist and the lives of the people she destroys. I felt that the lack of background on the main character is the primary short coming of the novel. It makes the book appear somewhat misogynistic with men constantly having their talents taken advantage of by a beautiful, but "otherwise boring" woman.

To say that she is meant to be a blank slate would be more acceptable except that what is revealed about the woman's relationship with her past is extremely bizarre. Howe
Kimberley Hope
Apr 04, 2016 Kimberley Hope rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-gems
Another incredible work by manga-master Osamu Tezuka. While the artwork was fairly loose and more comical when compared to the wonderfully illustrated "Ayako," "The Book of Human Insects" is equally as effective at portraying Tezuka's dark, twisted, and downright psychopathic characters. Although Toshiko Tomura's actions seem random and unjustifiable, the more you come to know her as a master manipulator and true psychopath, the more you'll understand her wild actions and hope that somehow, she' ...more
Apr 24, 2015 fonz rated it it was amazing
Magnífica incursión de Tezuka en el "gekiga", el tebeo adulto japonés inventado por Tatsumi, mezcla de novela negra, melodrama, thriller psicológico, Rampo Edogawa, política, sexo triste y perversión con un delicioso sabor a años 70 (es acojonante que este tebeo se publicara en 1970). La narración es fantástica, abundan las viñetas memorables, y, de nuevo, esa pasmosa habilidad para pasar de la caricatura a la tragedia, del drama a la comedia, de la narración sencilla, casi infantil, a la sofist ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Monique rated it really liked it
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
Jul 23, 2012 Charliesabers rated it liked it
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
Rodolfo Schmauk
Feb 16, 2014 Rodolfo Schmauk rated it liked it
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
May 20, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Black Blizzard
  • Kitaro
  • PLUTO: 浦沢 直樹 x 手塚 治虫 005 (Pluto, #5)
  • Quartier lointain
  • Gold Pollen and Other Stories
  • Cat Eyed Boy, Vol. 1 (Cat Eyed Boy, #1)
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 fo
More about Osamu Tezuka...

Share This Book