By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Tatsumi is a simple animated movie about the birth of a new storytelling form, and it may not be for everyone. I first saw this at the Victoria Film Festival some years ago and knew I eventually have to look for it on Amazon so I can see it again. Of course, the difference between when I will watch it requires me to be in the right mood. Some of the material presented is on the bleak side.
Instead of the traditional comic book style realities that most readers associate manga with, gekiga is a more serious treatment. The narratives can be bleak or sombre, and it is supposed to be an accurate representation of real life. Some art historians say that gekiga is the precursor to the North American graphic novel.
This film begins with a eulogy by the artist himself, Yoshihiro Tatsumi. In the movie, it’s the 7th anniversary of Tezuka’s death and Tatsumi is feeling very introspective about the man he greatly respects. The delivery is a beautiful homage to Tezuka, but that’s not what this film is about.
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