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(Ayako #1-3)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,617 ratings  ·  197 reviews
Long considered as one of Osamu Tezuka’s most political narratives, Ayako is also considered to be one of his most challenging as it defies the conventions of his manga by utilizing a completely original cast and relying solely on historical drama to drive the plot.  Ayako, pulls no punches, and does not allow for gimmicks as science-fiction or fantasy may.  Instead Tezuka ...more
Hardcover, 704 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Vertical
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  1,617 ratings  ·  197 reviews

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Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
copypasta from a class essay @w@:

Osamu Tezuka was as invested in his fans as they were in him; the feelings of his readers were paramount, and he would often adjust the tone, pace, or emphasis of his work in response to the reactions of his audience. After achieving mainstream success and gratuitous accolades from very early in his career, Tezuka remained somewhat preoccupied with being liked. As such, his style would frequently change to suit the want of his constituency – sometimes in the mid
Dave Schaafsma
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Buddha, Message to Hitler, Ayako, all very ambitious works that try to weave historical and spiritual themes and political commentary into exciting, masterful stories. Manga, but less cartoony, silly characters than in Buddha. Darker than either of these two works by far. Beginning in 1949 and extending maybe a quarter of a century to when he was publishing it, it is post-WW II Japan, a kind of allegory of despair and corruption within a kind of allegory, everything that happens in one fairly we ...more
Anthony Vacca
Jun 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Clocking in at one page shy of seven hundred, Tezuka's serialized epic is a feast for lovers of cartoons with literary notions. Following WW2, a backwoods clan on the financial decline tries to save face over the unwanted fruits of an incest (one of the many instances of familial over-familiarity prominently featured throughout the twists and turns this graphic novel takes) through the usual means: murder and the twenty-year imprisonment of the unwanted child beneath the family's barn. And as th ...more
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was ok
Weird, creepy, violent. Lots and lots of men slugging women, lots and lots of sex (even creepier, most of it is incestuous), murder, and other violence. The dialogue is really disconcerting because it mimics American southern speech in a really stereotypical way (a la "L'il Abner, I think). I picked up this book because it's by Hiroishi Tatsumi's hero Osamu Tezuka, and I stuck with it because I did like one of the themes it explores (of a new generation offended by the sins of its father but fat ...more
Michael Jandrok
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
To be certain, Osamu Tezuka is one of the acknowledged giants of Japanese manga. His works are so immensely influential that he is often referred to as the “father of manga.” Thus is it a bit intimidating to sit here and try and critique one of his works. My only real exposure to Tezuka before reading “Ayako” was the epic “Buddha” series, read in one long stretch last summer. But that only whetted my appetite for more Tezuka, and I had bookmarked “Ayako” a long time ago when it was first release ...more
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Heavy content for a manga. Its not for the action lover or the science fiction fan (though it does have some violence and action in it). This is a pure drama. Quite emotionally effective. The book peels apart characters who you like, giving them pain and showing them to be imperfect, but also never satisfyingly punishes characters who you don't like. Very tragic tale. Everyone in it is a nuttier.

Comic wise it was professional. Cinematic illustrations and panel layout. I love that as the story ta
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Those who compare this to Greek tragedy are completely on the right track. The Tragic Heros are all from a formerly wealthy family of a nation who has suffered downfall due to its own hubris in warfare. The family feels they've already lost everything, when in reality they still have power and wealth to spare. They then go on to squander that as well. The story is at every turn a classic tragedy, and I love a good tragedy.

Even the ending is an allusion to classics. The theme of the cave is wove
Jul 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Wow, this is a brutal and unpleasant book - quite deliberate, but unnerving coming from Tezuka, and in his cartoony style.

The plot is set over roughly 25 years, and revolve around the Tenge family, who are coping with the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. Every member of the family is culpable for some crime - legal or moral, and of differing severities. Every member that is, except Ayako, who is only 4 when the story begins. She becomes something of a scapegoat for the family's ills
2.5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this one. I admire Tezuka's political commentary, even though the secret atrocities of the Tenge family was fifty shades of f***** up. What really diminished the rating for me was that I found the talk-to-text style of dialogue extremely annoying (at almost 700 pages it felt unnatural and was too much). Perhaps I would have felt differently about this had I been able to read the original Japanese version - for all I know it could have just been the writing st
I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Kept reading mixed reviews and have to say I disagree with the negative ones. Yes this is dark and gets creepy, but keep in mind this is during Tezuka's dark period when he made manga more appealing for adult instead of just children. This story is full of drama and emotions it's hard not to get into it unless you're not a fan of dramas. I also liked this because it proves that you don't need fantasy and zany out-of-place elements in a manga to tel ...more
Dr Zorlak
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga, japanese-lit
A somber, sober narrative of the lives and times of the Tenge family in post-war Japan. The Tenge, rich landowners of Yodoyama prefecture, are vile in every sense of the word; their vices and moral frailties run the gamut from lechery, treason and greed, to submissiveness, abyection and indolence. Here are Tezuka's best natural landscapes, rivaling those found in Buddha. Background work is outstanding. Characterization is immaculate and facial studies on point. I have filed this book as Japanese ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga
A great companion non-fiction piece for reading this title would be Alex Kerr's "Dogs & Demons". Although it may not prepare a n extremely rich political foundation, it's treatment of Japan's declining agricultural and expanding urbanization endeavors after WII would be enlightening. ...more
I borrowed this from a friend who also lent me the omnibus English translation of Ghost in the Shell by Masamune Shirow. "Ayako" turned out to be fairly heavy reading hence taking me almost a year to finish, but I do not regret reading it.

This is a 700-page behemoth telling the "secret history" of post-WW2 Japan through the perspective of an incredibly dysfunctional Japanese upper class family involved with the post-war rebuilding of the country. The title character is a young girl who's the pro
Nadia Costa
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: must
This is a masterpiece of story telling that delves in the crossroads of the historical and the personal. Tezuka depicts the political and the individual struggles in a post IIWW Japan. The feudal relations of power in the economy and life are well summoned by the oppressive dynamics encountered in the Tenge family who, for greed and lust breaks norms - and trust - with a sense of consented entitlement and impunity. In this sense, it is a story about dehumanization and its possible - or impossibl ...more
✩K. B✩
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: manga, favorites, 2019
After so many twist and turns, sins, and murders... I recommend everyone to read this.
It's a sad story about a 4-year-old child named Ayako and how her own twisted family have failed her.
The art style is pretty dramatic yet simple and effective, as in the emotions were showed faultlessly and not only that but the world, war and people too.
The ending left me for wanting more. I want to know what happens to Ayako after that. Where is she? Did she survive everyday life after that incident? In what
May 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: manga
Ayako by Osamu Tezuka
Long-Winded Review #1

Wow, what a ride! This is my first exposure to Osamu Tezuka, and I must say that this lives up to his legacy. This is a historical piece and a commentary on the many cultural and political shifts in Japan from 1949 to 1973, as well as an analysis of an insidious family dealing with the ever-changing climate of the time.

We follow the once powerful Tenge family as they desperately cling to power by whatever means necessary, and the family politics and trea
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tezuka fans, crime novel fans
Osamu Tezuka is best known in the United States for his early children’s manga and their subsequent animated adaptations like “Astro Boy” and “Kimba the White Lion.” But later in his prolific career, he also produced quite a few works for more mature readers, such as “MW” and “Ode to Kirihito.” Ayako falls into the latter category.

The year is 1949, and the last of the Japanese POWs are returning to Japan. Among them is Jiro Tenge, second son of a wealthy landowning family. Times are tough for th
Andrew Fairweather
It's hard to know where to begin—Tezuka's 'Ayako' was such heavy stuff, and the layers are so deep. Ayako herself is the unmentionable center of the corruption and disappointment of the Tenge clan, an old family from the pre-war era of Japan. The story begins at the end of WWII and Jiro has just arrived back in the village having been a Japanese POW under the Americans. His values are flippant and self serving, his decisions abrupt. Throughout 'Ayako', Jiro reveals himself as both a user and a p ...more
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ayako is, easily, one of the best graphic novels that I've ever read and certainly the best I've read this year. It's twisted, sick, depraved, violent, and absolutely engaging. It's a very different take on the familial unit, showing a family that while fatally flawed will remind you of your own in a lot of different ways.

The art of the book is beautiful. Its pace is quite brisk and the dialogue, even in translation, is complex and beautiful. The closest thing I can think of to this book is tha
Ayako explores the development of post-WW2 Japan for about a quarter of a century. The rapid societal change is mainly seen from the perspective of an old influential family that has thrived for five centuries and whose time is just about up. A major theme of the graphic novel is power, how it corrupts and what people are willing to do in order to maintain it and achieve it. The ones who suffer the most because of the most corrupt are the most innocent, young girl Ayako being the prime example.

Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: manga
By "Father of Manga" Osamu Tezuka, those expecting something of the line of Astro Boy or Kimba the White Lion, are strongly recommended to avoid this, ...or at least change their expectations. More of a greek tragedy than anything else, Ayako is the post WW2 story of the Tenge family, who's drama is something akin to VC Andrew's Flowers in the Attic. Equal parts decadent and historical, Ayako is definitely a piece of work, ...but one not for children. ...more
Sitanan Ketkraipob
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Like Mw, great build up with disappointing ending.
More Bedside Books
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Created from 1972-73 part of one of the darkest periods in Osamu Tezuka’s life, the comic trilogy Ayako, melding post-WWII history, conspiracy theories, with parts spy thriller, crime drama and literary tragedy serves as a social commentary of war, the treatment of women and an allegory on Japan itself.

The wealthy, prominent Tenge family is corrupt to the bones. Power, pride, self-interest, victimization or, simply the weight of all its dirty secrets crushing most morality, members are guilty o
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
To begin I'd like to discuss the circumstances under which I read Ayako. I've liked some of Tezuka's past work (Metropolis, Astro Boy, Kimba) but was wary of reading a post-war manga. I was worried it would be too masculine and alienating, focusing heavily on wartime troubles, or have a vague historical backing, unlike that of Mizuki's Showa. Boy was I wrong. I read a scanlation of Ayako but would definitely add this to my personal collection because it affected me deeply. I feel the physical in ...more
Hailey Edge
Feb 27, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: gn-reviews
To be honest, my interest in reading Ayako came from the cover alone. The simplistic woodcut cover art had me absolutely foaming at the mouth, I did not care about the content I just knew I wanted to read this manga. After seeing a few people with taste that I trust speak positively about it I decided to pick it up for myself.

To my surprise Ayako vastly deviates from Osamu Tezuka's previous work (most notably Astro Boy) and instead takes on a far darker and more serious tone. That is not to say
Khalid Hajeri
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Mature manga readers
Shelves: favorites
How much can the life of an innocent girl spiral out of control when she becomes unwillingly wrapped up in a family conspiracy?

Osamu Tezuka's manga series "Ayako" begins during post-war Japan in the late 1940's and focuses on two characters: Jiro Tenge, a man involved in illegal political missions of espionage, and his youngest sister Ayako, the title character who as a small child finds out about Jiro's activities by mistake. Unable to bear the thought of arrest as a result of others knowing of
Aug 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Gasp! I didn't fathom the book was going to be so turbulent and heavy when I picked it up. I know Osamu Tezuka picks up loaded topics but I didn't realize this was going to be so incestuous and violent. It's a new insight into the surrendered Japan of the late 40s and 50s. A Japan that was rebuilding after the war. But when it weaves itself with the older cultural norms of the times, it hits the intended mark.

Japan is known to have a sexist culture. It still doesn't treat its women good. But wh
Aditya आदित्य
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: garphic-novels
At times it felt as if Tezuka wrote/drew parts of Ayako just for the hell of it, because some of the story-lines/panels were so gratuitously deviant that I was absolutely shocked. The depiction of the family as an incestuous tangle that keeps on entangling has to have some reason behind it, which I couldn't decipher. Maybe due to his political outlook, Tezuka ended up showing the landowners as depraved as he did. But honestly, I have no idea regarding Tezuka's personal life let alone his ideolog ...more
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is all over the place. Its scope is admirable, spanning decades in the lives of multiple characters.

A noir, it often reads like a mafia story, and for a while, is one. There are only enough decent people among its cast of characters to count on one hand.

Tezuka's art is, as always, a total joy, and on the occasion that he draws things realistically, they are lovely as well. I am curious as to why the book was flopped to read left-to-right. I thought that practice had gone out of style.

Madhurima Das
May 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
OMG! Did I just devour a 700 page manga in 2 days?! 😱⠀
(Well, technically it's 2 days because I fought with covid for 4 days in between 😑)⠀

Damn! Given the impatient soul that I'm, this book kept me hooked like an addict till the end. ⠀

Also, the fact that I'm a Japanese literature maniac and had never heard of Osamu Tezuka before, makes me laugh at myself. ⠀

He's considered as the freaking 'Godfather of manga', the 'Walt Disney' of Japan, someone who turned down Stanley Kubrick... Offf! Such a l
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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 formative yea ...more

Other books in the series

Ayako (4 books)
  • Ayako 1 (Ayako, #1)
  • Ayako 2 (Ayako, #2)
  • Ayako 3 (Ayako, #3)

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“Like an insect larva that repeatedly molts its skin as it develops, Ayako rapidly transformed from a young girl into a fully-grown woman.” 1 likes
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