In an out-of-the-way Japanese village, there is an illness known as Monmow disease. Its symptoms are a wide variety of very bad things: The bones begin to atrophy, the patient exhibits an extraordinarily high fever, and eventually even loses the ability to breathe. But the most curious part of Monmow Disease is its visual symptoms: The patient begins to turn into what looks like a humanoid fox. His bones crumble into dog-like shape, even forming a snout; hair starts growing all over the body, and the patient's body starts losing the ability to digest nearly anything except raw meat.

Young aspiring doctor Kirihito volunteers to go into Tokushima village to investigate this disease and, he hopes, come up with an explanation for its origin. But it turns out that he's in for an experience which is most certainly not what he was expecting.

''Ode to Kirihito'' is a work by OsamuTezuka with a genre bent that's rather difficult to describe. It's psychologically complex, dealing not just with Kirihito's experience with Monmow Disease, but also his friend Doctor Urabe's psychosis and deterioration without Kirihito around to help keep him grounded. It deals heavily with medical politics and intrigue as Tatsagura, their boss, tries to work his way into being elected president of the Japanese Medical Association. There's a deep religious angle as Helen Friese, a nun, is struck with the disease and must come to terms with her identity before God when she appears to the world as a monster. And SexualHarassmentAndRapeTropes? Prepare to be shocked by how many are used here.

Suffice to say, there's a lot of stuff going on here. ''Ode to Kirihito'' is one of those "artsy" manga, dealing heavily with substantive issues in a medium where even today this kind of introspection is unusual. Suggest it to friends who dismiss comics as all being something for kids. And don't forget to tell them it was written by the same guy who made ''Manga/AstroBoy''.

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!!Provides Examples Of:

* [[AffectionateNickname Affectionate]][=/=]EmbarrassingNickname: [[spoiler:The residents of the Syrian village Kirihito finally settles down in almost unanimously call him Dr. Dog - not out of any disrespect, but because they find "Dr. Osanai Kirihito" a bit too much of a mouthful.]]
* BestialityIsDepraved: [[spoiler:Kirihito feels that he has lost the right to even bear a name]] after having been raped by a dog.
* BewareTheNiceOnes: ''Don't'' piss [[CuteAndPsycho Kirihito]] off.
* BigNo
* BreakTheCutie: How much pain and humiliation can Kirihito go through before he snaps? It is also implied it happened to [[spoiler: child Reika]].
* ButtMonkey
* CruelAndUnusualDeath: [[spoiler:Reika getting deep-fried when her "[[DeepFriedWhatever human tempura]]" stunt [[GoneHorriblyWrong goes horribly wrong]].]]
* CuteMonsterGirl: Helen looks more like a Furry dog girl in her Monmow-infected form.
* DespairEventHorizon: Urabe is finally [[spoiler: DrivenToSuicide]] after [[spoiler: Tatsugara betrays/disowns him]] and [[spoiler: he realizes his violent impulses are now completely out of control]].
* DestructiveRomance: [[spoiler:Helen and Urabe.]]
* DevolutionDevice / EvolutionaryLevels: Played slightly realistically. Monmow Disease is described as an atavistic disorder that causes the expression of genes left over in the human genome from a dog-like early mammal.
* DiabolusExMachina
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: Played straight with Tazu, whom Kirihito eventually comes to love despite the circumstances surrounding [[spoiler:their wedding]]. But it's [[spoiler: subverted with Reika, whom Kirihito eventually forgives]]. Let's also not forget that he also gets [[spoiler: raped by a literal bitch]] and that the manga makes it very clear that [[spoiler: Reika and the she-dog]] nearly degrade him into a shell of his former self.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler: Urabe]]. Very nearly happens to [[spoiler: Kirihito]].
* [[spoiler:EarnYourHappyEnding: Hellen and Kirihito have to go through hell for it, but they do finally receive closure and community that accepts them despite their appearence.]]
* FakeoutMakeout: Well, not a ''makeout'', but [[spoiler:Tazu and Kirihito establish an alibi by removing their clothes just before they're found and insisting that they were having sex when the tobacconist[[note]]who was sent to kill Kirihito and got himself killed in the attempt.[[/note]] died.]]
* FatBastard: Mahn.
* FreudianExcuse: Mahn pursues extremely sadistic and degrading entertainments because [[spoiler: he used to be a starving child who watched powerlessly as his parents died]]. In other words, his motivation is [[spoiler: self-hatred, or rather hatred for the pauper he used to be]].
* GambitPileup: The war for information and manipulation involves Tatsugaura, Kirihito, Urabe, Izumi, Manheim, Mahn and his entourage, the mayor... Phew.
* TheGrotesque: Both Hellen and Kirihito
* HeWhoFightsMonsters
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler:After failing to save a patient, killing two men in self defense, and watching helplessly as the child he found in the desert dies of hunger and dehydration, Kirihito just about loses it.]]
* IAmAMonster: Urabe is fully aware how wrong and depraved his behavior is - he just doesn't think he can control himself, [[spoiler:which is why he finally [[DrivenToSuicide throws himself in front of a truck]]]]. Kirihito also tends to think like this.
* IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim: Kirihito decides not to kill [[spoiler: Tazu's murderer]] in the end. He does kill in self-defense, but chooses not to kill [[spoiler: in retaliation or in despair]].
* IJustWantToBeNormal
* ILoveNuclearPower: ([[spoiler:The true cause of Monmow Disease is contaminated drinking water drawn from places that contained deposites of a rare radioactive isotope. Played somewhat more realistically than most, considering the gradual, painful & usually fatal nature of the mutations, but the dog face thing is still ''really'' pushing it.]])
* InfantImmortality: Awfully averted when Mahn has a human baby getting eaten by a snake just for entertainment.
* KarmicDeath: A few characters, but [[spoiler: Mahn and Tatsugaura]] in particular.
* KarmicTransformation: both [[spoiler:Mahn and Tatsugaura]] contract (and eventually die from) monmow disease
* KavorkaMan: Possibly Kirihito.
* LoveMakesYouEvil: A possible interpretation of Urabe.
* ManipulativeBastard: Tatsugaura.
* MaybeEverAfter: [[spoiler:The series ends with Izumi, knowing both of Kirihito's deformity and the wife he took, flying off to look for him in hopes that she can repair their relationship.]]
* MeaningfulName: Kirihito sounds like the Japanese pronunciation of "Christ": Kirisuto.
* MessianicArchetype: Helen; Kirihito.
* NightmareFetishist: [[spoiler:Reika]] has a huge turn-on towards misshapen freaks and has restrained and raped several of them in the past, including a dwarf and a rubber-man.
* Theatre/OedipusRex: Kirihito-Tatsugaura and Urabe-Tatsugaura.
* OurWerewolvesAreDifferent: If you look over Tezuka's body of work you'll see he was quite fond of the trope. ''Kirihito'' is probably the most "realistic" interpretation out of them all, indeed perhaps, in all of fiction.
* PainfulTransformation: Monmow causes a great deal of physical trauma to its victims as it takes its course.
* PettingZooPeople: Monmow disease effectively turns people into these.
* RapeAsDrama: Oddly enough, [[spoiler:the focus is just as much on the deterioration of Urabe's mental faculties as it is on the women he rapes]].
* RapeIsLove: In fact, thanks to [[spoiler:Urabe not being right in the head and knowing that what he does is hideous and monstrous]], it actually ''works''.
* RedHerring: The elements that seem to indicate that Monmow [[spoiler: is contagious]], especially [[spoiler: the scratches Kirihito inflicted on Mahn's neck]]. Medical {{RedHerring}}s, baby!
* SacrificialLamb: [[spoiler: Tazu and Reika]] die so that Kirihito can live on and be psychologically reborn. At a more metaphorical level, Kirihito himself.
* ScaryBlackMan: The black doctor who finds Kirihito.
* ScaryShinyGlasses: Usually indicates Urabe's off his kilter.
* ShadowArchetype: The whole ''point'' of the manga.
* ShipTease: Particularly cruel in the case of [[spoiler: Kirihito and Izumi]].
* ShoutOut: Some of the hallucination scenes seem to allude to surrealism (more specifically, to Magritte) and to Music/PinkFloyd's ''The Wall''. There are also clear graphic references to Picasso and to ''film noir'' --a real potpourri of allusions, really.
* {{Stripperiffic}}: Reika
* SunkCostFallacy: Tatsugara spends so much time trying to prove that Monmow is contagious that he will listen to no counterargument.
* ThereAreNoTherapists
* TownWithADarkSecret: Inugamisawa.
* TransformationTrauma: Ohhh boy.
* TraumaCongaLine
* TragicHero: Kirihito Osanai. He actually has two tragic flaws, his naivety at the beginning and his (very understandable) anger management issues which nearly turn him into [[IfYouKillHimYouWillBeJustLikeHim a monster]].
* WellDoneSonGuy: Urabe towards his mentor, Tatsugaura.
* WhatMeasureIsANonHuman
* WhatTheHellTownspeople
* {{Yandere}}: A possible interpretation for Urabe. Also, Kirihito makes for a pretty decent Yangire.
* YankTheDogsChain
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