Follow TV Tropes


Manga / Apollo's Song

Go To

Apollo's Song is a manga created by Osamu Tezuka. It was originally serialized in Shukan Shōnen Kingu in Japan in 1970 (1970 /04/ 26 - 1970 /11/ 22).

It tells the story of a boy named Shogo Chikaishi, who grows up lonely, bitter and angry because of his mother's hatred for him. This leads Shogo into a pathological hatred of love and sex, killing animals as they mate or nurture their young. After murdering a hen, he is arrested and taken to a mental institute.

When he receives electric shock therapy, Shogo gets an out-of-body experience and meets the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena. For his hatred of love, she condemns him to be reincarnated in different timelines, suffering pain and heartbreak, in order for him to find the true meaning of love.

Through the manga, Shogo encounters love as a soldier in Nazi Germany, as a pilot stranded on an island with a beautiful photographer, and as a revolutionary in a far-future world ruled by synthetic humanoids, only for it to end in tragedy every time. In the modern world, an encounter with a nymphomaniac and Shogo's murderous hatred of love cause more deaths, forcing him to go on the run from the police, where he shacks up with a female athlete named Hiromi, who puts him through a fierce training regiment in order to become a marathon runner... and, almost by accident, teaches him to fall in love. But even as Shogo learns his lesson, fate is not kind to him or his lover...

Tropes included

  • Abusive Parents: Shogo's mother. She had him very young, with her pregnancy likely being unplanned, so she is bitter towards him, mostly ignoring him and tossing money at him occasionally to get him to leave her alone. During one of her clients visiting, she catches Shogo hiding behind the fridge and beats him with a broom until he's covered in bruises and crying. Shogo is clearly traumatized.
    • To really twist the knife in further, after this act of physical maltreatment, she outright says she should've never had him, even calling herself a "fool".
  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Shogo's mother was pretty young when she had him. Lampshaded by her co-worker at the bar.

  • Author Tract: During the 2030 chapter, Tezuka manages to squeeze in a Green Aesop alongside the series' usual one of "Love is painful and complicated."

  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Shogo has abused animals since he was a kid, from cats to butterflies.

  • The Bartender: Shogo's mother is this as her regular job, though she looks, acts and dresses like a High-Class Call Girl, and during a conversation with one of her usual clients, he offers to take her on a vacation
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Naomi in Chapter 2 is brutally attacked by many animals at once, but the most she ever shows for it are some scratches.

  • Break the Cutie: Poor, poor Elisa... She loses her parents to the Nazis, is gang raped by a group of soldiers after Shogo helps her escape the concentration camp, and is not even allowed a peaceful death, since the soldiers that find her and Shogo together take her naked body away, intending to use her body for unsavory purposes.

  • Crapsack World: Earth in the year 2030. Pollution kills most humans on the planet, leading to synthetic beings taking control of Earth and making humans their slaves and guinea pigs.

  • Defiled Forever: When Elisa is gang raped by the Nazi soldiers, she believes she isn't good enough for Shogo anymore. Shogo doesn't care, and they hold hands and lay together until they die from their injuries.

    • Naomi tries to kill Shogo because of this, believing her fiance will leave her.
  • Downer Ending: Not only do Shogo and Hiromi die, Athena punishes him to endure pain and suffering whenever he finds love for the rest of eternity.

  • Everyone Has Standards: Shogo's mother may be an abusive bitch, but even she didn't want Shogo to get hit by a car.
  • Evil Chancellor: Prime Minister Bibimba, who serves under Queen Sigma but turns against her when she sympathizes with a human lover too much.
  • Eye Scream: Hiromi falls down a cliff and her eyes are blinded by branches when she tries to save Shogo from suicide.

  • Expendable Clone: Sigma the Synthean Queen doesn't care when Shogo kills her repeatedly, since she has made clones of herself with similar memories to come replace her until he gives up.

  • Freudian Excuse: Shogo's abusive mother is part of the reason he hates love, as well as seeing other kids being treated much more affectionately than he ever was.

  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While Athena does prod Shogo to explain the source of his hate (which he obliges very begrudgingly), she still sees fit to punish him by initiating the series of love trials via incarnations immediately afterward.

  • Hate Sink: Shogo's mother certainly qualifies, given she's a horribly unfeeling and physically abusive parent who's also directly responsible for her son developing a vicious hatred of love.

  • Jerkass Gods: Or goddess, in the case of Athena. Shogo did bad things, but the deck was pretty much stacked against him from the get-go on account of his abusive and neglectful mother. Furthermore, right before his death he's clearly learned the meaning of love, with the head of the asylum he was committed to even exclaiming in astonishment that Shogo has been cured in response to Shogo's last words. He certainly did not deserve to endure pain and suffering related to love in all his future incarnations, which Athena sentences him to at the end.

  • Love Hurts: Pretty much the whole point of this series.

  • Love Makes You Crazy: Didn't help that Shogo had sociopathic tendencies to begin with.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: Shogo has no idea who his father is, not helped by the fact that his mother insists each one of her clients is his father.

  • Nazi Protagonist: Shogo is first reincarnated as a Nazi soldier. Oddly, he keeps his Japanese name and it only gets one simple remark from another soldier.

  • No Swastikas: When Shogo is reincarnated as a Nazi soldier, there is a noticeable lack of swastikas shown among his and the other soldiers' uniforms.

  • Punished with Ugly: The Sigma clone who got surgery to be more like a human is sentenced by Prime Minister Bibimba to have her head replaced by a very ugly misshapen woman's head. She is so ashamed she hides her face with her hair until she dies.

  • Really Gets Around: Shogo's mother, who is implied to be something of a High-Class Call Girl.

  • Reincarnation Romance

  • Reused Character Design: Sigma the Synthean Queen looks like an adult Melmo.

  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Shogo and Naomi's love affairs always end in tragedy.

  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Shogo and Naomi in "No Man's Land".

  • Sonofa Whore: Shogo.

  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Shogo and Hiromi in their various incarnations.

  • Time Travel: The main plot.

  • Tsundere: Naomi

  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Shogo.

  • Uterine Replicator: Used by the Syntheans in the 2030 arc.

  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: Sigma, The Synthean Queen in 2030 demands to see what human sex is like. It doesn't end well.