Otaku USA Magazine
Tezuka Spins a Supernatural Yarn with One Hundred Tales

Osamu Tezuka, known as the god of manga, refers to One Hundred Tales as one of his representative works. It’s described as an adaptation of Goethe’s Faust, only as a historical samurai piece. And while there is a character making a deal with a supernatural character, it’s actually fairly different from Faust.

The main character, Hanri, is supposed to perform ritual suicide on himself, even though he’s an innocent man. The opening pages show him — in a comedic rather than horrifying fashion — trying to kill himself and not being able to. A woman named Sudama, referred to as both a witch and a yokai, appears to him as the Mephistopheles character and offers to grant him wishes. He quickly comes up with three: having a brand-new life, marrying a beautiful woman, and being rich and powerful.

But whether a character is making a deal with the devil or a yokai, it’s not going to work out the way the character plans. For instance, Hanri is quickly transformed into a handsome young man, but when he goes home to say goodbye to his grown daughter for the last time, she doesn’t recognize that he’s her father. She thinks he’s a handsome young man she’s never seen before — and she falls in love with him!

While dealing with some serious issues, the manga is mainly on the lighter side. It has numerous pop culture references — mostly Japanese-related things that get explained in the notes — but Tezuka also has some stuff more familiar to Americans, like a spoof of Popeye. Tezuka himself appears as a character in a short, amusing gag scene.

The manga is a little over 200 pages, and rather than telling one hundred tales, it just tells this one. Afterwords from Tezuka and his publisher give more perspective. Manga today wouldn’t be what it is without Tezuka, so it’s always nice to see more of his work translated. One Hundred Tales is published by ABLAZE Comics, which publishes both manga and non-Japanese graphic novels.

Story & Art: Osamu Tezuka
Publisher: ABLAZE
Translator: Iyasu Adair Nagata
Letterer: Aidan Clarke


Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.