oyceter: man*ga [mahng' guh] n. Japanese comics. synonym: CRACK (manga is crack)
[personal profile] oyceter
Wow! An Urasawa series that ends before it hits the double digits!

Of course, it's been so long since I've read vol. 6 that I'm a little hazy on how well this connects with prior revelations.

I knew Gesicht was probably not going to be resurrected, given the original, but Urasawa did a really good job balancing taking out the main character of a series two volumes before it ends with the improbability that bringing him back to life would make.

I rolled my eyes a bit when we got to Eden National Park and the Native people direly muttering, although I did like that Urasawa points out how they are basically being put on display.

And though Epsilon probably is my least favorite of the world's greatest robots (I still like North 2 the most), I loved the final image of his cut off hands protecting the robot and the little boy.

I wish there had been more for Uran to do in the end besides cling to Prof. Ochanomizu, though I'm glad we got that flashback to her talking with Sahad and his painting of the flowers. And yeah, it would have been a change from the original, but so is a lot of the series! I forget, though, does Pluto end up saving Atom in the original from a world-destroying bomb? I vaguely recollect that there was no world-destroying bomb and that Pluto let Atom win over him, but I may be completely off the mark.

And while I find the portrayal of Persia in the series to be sketchy, I cackled a bit at the portrayal of the United States of Thracia because I am mean like that.

I am guessing that the memory of the adopted robot boy is what got mindwiped from Gesicht and Helena? I find it very interesting that almost all the portrayals of parenthood in the series are fathers and sons, many male creators with children, trying to recreate children, trying to figuratively give birth to themselves by programming themselves into robots, trying to make robot children because they can't or don't want to have biological children. It isn't just Ochanomizu and Abullah and Tenma, but also Epsilon and Hercules and Gesicht.

Finally, I was a little afraid that Urasawa would make Gesicht's hatred corrupt Atom, much as I spent basically all of Monster being afraid that Tenma would fall from his pedestal, and I am so glad that Atom stays Atom in the end.

Overall, I still have some issues with the way Urasawa deals with the portrayal of Middle Eastern characters, as well as with the metaphor of individual and institutional prejudice against robots equaling racism. I found the original volume of Astro Boy that this is based on to be relatively uninteresting and focused on the tournament-style fighting that can be so frequently found in shounen, but Urasawa does an excellent job of looking at more of the underlying issues without ever changing the essential character of Atom. And although he doesn't up the number of female characters by much, I like his Uran so much more! But really, the main surprise for me was how much I loved Gesicht, a fairly one-off character from the original. Urasawa similarly adds depth to all the robots in the original, but Gesicht in particular walks that line between man and monster that Urasawa so likes to examine in the series of his that I've read.

The eight-volume length also allows me to keep track of the plot better, and to my surprise, Urasawa actually manages to pull together most of his loose ends. That said, while I think this may be a better-constructed and more grown up series than 20th Century Boys, I miss the latter's rush of adrenaline and idtastic ideas.

Date: 2010-11-17 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think it's also worth noting that the Real Bad Guys are Dr. Roosevelt and the President of Thracia. The evil of the victimizers is not depicted as being less than the evil of the victims, though more time is spent on the evil of the victims. The latter, I think, is probably the result of the fact that the evil perpetrated by the victimizers is incapable of being justified to any degree unlike the evil perpetrated by the victims, from Urasawa's perspective.

Date: 2010-11-17 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Ah forgot to sign the above post, sorry.

- Krill

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