Creator: Osamu Tezuka

"Manga is virtual. Manga is sentiment. Manga is resistance. Manga is bizarre. Manga is pathos. Manga is destruction. Manga is arrogance. Manga is love. Manga is kitsch. Manga is sense of wonder. Manga is... there is no conclusion yet."

Osamu Tezuka (1928-1989), a.k.a. The Father of Manga, is widely credited for laying the foundations for much, if not most, of modern Japanese comics and animation. His prolific output and activity throughout the years has been legendary in the industry, with only a fraction having even been translated for foreign consumption. He created over 700 comics with more than 150,000 pages total, the second TV anime ever made, the first one with an episode length of 25 minutes, and the very first shoujo. His production spans more or less every conceivable genre, and is sometimes so complex it does it in the same manga.

If you have the afternoon free you can check out some (incomplete) lists of his works on Wikipedia: manga here and anime there.

The Elvis of Japanese manga and anime, just that instead of being inspired by blues, he was inspired by various different influences, both Japanese (traditional Japanese Ukiyo-e art, and the wide-eyed art styles appearing around the 1920's-1930's from Shoujo manga artists like Junichi Nakahara and Kamishibai paper theater shows like Jungle Boy) and American (the 1930's-1940's Golden Age Animations from Disney, Fleischer, and Terrytoons).

Re-uses quite a few of his own characters, as well as making expies of themnote , see this page on That Other Wiki for a detailed list. If you want an overview of his work that you can carry on hand, check out the book "The Art of Osamu Tezuka".

His works include:


Tropes associated with the work of Osamu Tezuka:

  • Anyone Can Die: Even in his child-oriented works, he doesn't hesitate to confront the audience with the death of beloved characters.
    • He even killed off Astro Boy and only brought him back after massive complaints from fans.
  • Big Name Fan: Tezuka was a big fan of Walt Disney. Tezuka was relatively unknown in America and Disney couldn't even name a work of his when they first met during Tezuka's first trip to America to promote Astro Boy. However, Disney actually knew Astro Boy and thought it was pretty good.
    • He was also a fan of Carl Barks, see Fan-Art.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: And how!
    • He even has a character based on himself in different roles, for example a cameo as a taxi driver in Adolf or as nameless managka who gets involved into a story in Black Jack. In reprints of Astro Boy, he is seen discussing the stories with Astro as a sort of introduction.
    • One word: Hyotantsugui.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The Crater is this, with many gags, bizarre supernatural plots and Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: His author avatar is one, often played as a Small Name, Big Ego Large Ham. His Real Life obsession with art, working, and insects might indicate a case of Truth in Television.
  • Creator Thumbprint: Medical knowledge (Tezuka was a trained surgeon), animals and nature.
  • Crossdresser: Pick a Tezuka character, any female Tezuka character. Yeah, there's a 70% chance that they have crossdressed at some point.
    • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Constantly averted. Almost all of his younger male characters have long eyelashes and some (i.e. Kimba the White Lion, Astro Boy) even end up looking feminine.
      • This was even used as a plot point in Dororo. the eponymous sidekick is a girl. She has long eyelashes and other feminine features, but you would probably dismiss these clues because of Tezuka's style of drawing young boys.
  • Darker and Edgier: He went with the general taste shift of the public towards more mature themes (gekiga) during the end of the 60s with works such as MW and Ayako.
    • This is now considered an important decision in the history of manga: Tezuka, who was and still is the most influential and popular mangaka in Japan virtually made the Gekigaka's themes suitable for the mainstream market. On the long term this prevented anime and manga to fall into the Animation Age Ghetto in Japan.
  • Disneyesque: His female characters in particular. However, in general his art style is much more reminiscent to the zany, extravagant Mind Screw Fleischer Studios cartoons, so partly a subversion.
  • Doing It for the Art: If he liked, he could be a doctor and have an stable career thanks to his studies, even so, he drew manga.
    • This was considered an extremely bold move that raised the respect for the profession of the comic creator in Japan.
  • Expy: As mentioned above.
  • Famous Last Words: "I'm begging you, let me work!"/"Please, let me keep working!"note  The context was a nurse taking away his pens and paper, insisting he needed rest as he was on his deathbed with stomach cancer, but he will always be remembered screaming it at the gods, pleading with them for enough time for one last book for his fans to enjoy...
  • Fan-Art: He loved the Disney Duck family stories by Carl Barks and frequently sent greeting cards to him with his own drawings of them interacting with his own characters.
  • Fan Disservice: If (female) nudity is involved in one of his works, then you can be sure there is some kind of cruel rape or disturbing torture or death scene somewhere near the next page.
    • Sometimes it's just plain bizarre: In Ode To Kirihito, a woman mastered a risky stunt in which she is fried when stark naked.
  • From Clones to Genre: His work almost necessitated it, as he codified so many manga tropes, others had to make other tropes in order to stand out.
  • Furry Fandom: If the recent discovery is any indication.
    • Not that surprising anymore if you already saw the shapeshifting snake girls in "1001 Night".
    • This troper believes the sheer amount of humanized animal characters in his works, and focus given to them, is a much better indicator.
  • Green Aesop: Lots and lots, especially Unico, Astro Boy, and Kimba.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: Used in the Tear Jerker ending of Movement 1 in the unfinished Legend of the Forest.
  • Living Legend: Gekiga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi covered this in his autobiography A Drifting Life: Tezuka was considered a god-like genius by his peers even before he hit age 30 or became a national icon.
    • His eventual death almost overshadowed the death of Emperor Hirohito, who died the the month before him. Nowadays Tezuka is strongly associated with the Showa period and as the 90s were coined by recession, his death is coincident with the End of an Era.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: His Star System.
  • Nice Hat: His beret.
  • Raygun Gothic: Most of his works are known for this aesthetic.
  • Reused Character Design: Tezuka never made up a new character design if he could recycle an old one. Essentially, his characters were "actors" playing different roles in his various manga.
  • Red Baron: Manga no Kami-Sama, meaning "God of comics". Often narrowly translated as "God of manga".
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Varies depending on the work. Astro Boy generally has an optimistic tone, while the infamous Alabaster is downright nihilistic. Black Jack is well-regarded for sliding the scale up and down.
  • Strictly Formula: Somehow he managed to avert this, but there his full-length stories are usually consisting of multiple sub-plots - with sometimes each one having a distinctive protagonist - that later resolve in a Grand Finale.
    • He somewhat lampshaded his signature style in Apollos Song, that is essentially the same story with same characters in completely different settings.
  • Trope Codifier: Of nothing less than the entire Anime industry. They call him God of Comics for a reason.
    • He also made Ur Examples of "Graphic Novels" years before the term was coined and is the Trope Maker of many narrative and illustration techniques in manga and anime.
      • His single most important technical innovation was his signature "cinematographic" style, which basically means that a single action is drawn over the course of multiple panels, which was nothing but revolutionary in the world of comics. This technique was ridiculed by established mangaka of the 50s as a waste of space but he was Vindicated by History. And how.
  • War Is Hell: Almost every single work of his deals with this at one point, it's possibly the most important and universal theme of his oeuvre.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Obviously Astro Boy, but also Metropolis and others.
  • Workaholic: As reflected by his aforementioned Famous Last Words, the man himself was the absolute apotheosis of Japan's legendary workaholism. He spent virtually every waking hour from early adulthood right up until the day he died drawing manga. Practically the only leisure time he allowed himself was watching films, although it did give him a chance to see what his competitors in the entertainment industry were up to and gave him a source of inspiration, as many of his works played off themes from his favorite movies.
  • World of Ham: Subtle delivery wasn't something his characters were too interested in.


Alternative Title(s):

Tezuka Osamu