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Yoshihiro Tatsumi's A Drifting Life

I just received this book in the mail from Amazon literally a few minutes ago, and it is massive. The thing weighs a metric fuck-ton, and not counting the appendix contains more than 850 pages of manga. It was mentioned on the show a few episodes ago, and I ordered it on Scott's seal of approval. I'm surprised there's not already a thread about it here. I'm reading it now, and so far, it's pretty good (I'm about a two dozen pages in, so it's a bit early to pass judgement on it). Anyone else reading/read this? Thoughts?


  • I dunno, but I saw it at an alt bookstore the other day and it looks EXCELLENT. I may buy it if I one day acquire the moneys.
  • Seems like a pick up sooner or later.
  • The New York Times did a peice about Tatsumi a few days ago that I though was alright.
  • The New York Timesdid a peice about Tatsumi a few days ago that I though was alright.
    That article cited the book as the premiere text for the history of gekiga, so Rym/Scott might be interested in this. But $20 for a book that's as wide as it is thick is probably worth it.
  • I finished this last night, and let me tell you, it's fantastic. It's simple in style, conveying little more than it needs to, but it's incredibly compelling to read. The comparison I can make is that it is to manga what Kavalier and Clay is to American comics (except this stuff actually happened). The only criticism I have of it is that the character styles of some of the other manga artists are rather similar, and I had a bit of trouble distinguishing them. It's gigantic as it is, but I wish there was more of it (I want to see him from 1960 onwards). It also taught me a lot about the early manga industry, which is more interesting than one might think, and about postwar Japan. All in all, it was a fantastic buy (especially at Amazon's price), and I would recommend it to anyone who's even remotely into manga.
  • I would like to get this, along with Push Men and all the other stuff that Tatsumi has in English, but right now my backlog on manga is ridiculous, and shelf space is running out. I'm gonna have to pass for now.
  • I just threw down for all the Tatsumi books on Amazon after reading Abandon The Old In Tokyo. Despite the fact that my comics/manga backlog is about two feet high and they cost a pretty penny. But I really can't wait to read them.

    Everyone, please proceed to discuss how great Tatsumi is.
  • I recently read a review that said Drifting Life lacked the emotional fervor that Tatsumi's other works thrived upon.

  • I recently read a review that said Drifting Life lacked the emotional fervor that Tatsumi's other works thrived upon.

    Yeah, it does. That's because it's non-fiction. He's just telling it like it is. Whereas his actual work is fiction that is intentionally dramatic.

    If George Lucas writes an autobiography are you going to complain that it lacks the epicness of Star Wars?

    Even so, Drifing Life is awesome. If you care about comics or manga at all, it's a must read.
  • edited May 2010
    I just read the most recent Tatsumi US release, which is a noir detective story called Black Blizzard. It's one of his first published works and, as a result, very Tezuka-esque. It was a fun read, just don't go into it expecting it to be anything like his short stories.

    [Edit] I've now read A Drifting Life and it makes Black Blizzard so much more meaningful.
    Post edited by Sail on
  • edited May 2010
    A Drifting Life made me pull a Buddha i.e. reading manga late into the night and not being able to put it down even though I have school the next day. I now place A Drifting Life among my favorite manga ever, a relm populated with the likes of Buddha, Pluto, Hellsing, and Fist of the North Star. I give it my highest reccomendation.
    Post edited by progSHELL on
  • I now placeA Drifting Lifeamong my favorite manga ever,
    Same. Easily.
  • New Tatsumi release in May.
    In Fallen Words, Yoshihiro Tatsumi takes up the oral tradition of rakugo and breathes new life into it by shifting the format from spoken word to manga. Each of the eight stories in the collection is lifted from the Edo-era Japanese storytelling form. As Tatsumi notes in the afterword, the world of rakugo, filled with mystery, emotion, revenge, hope, and, of course, love, overlaps perfectly with the world of Gekiga that he has spent the better part of his life developing.

    These slice-of-life stories resonate with modern readers thanks to their comedic elements and familiarity with human idiosyncrasies. In one, a father finds his son too bookish and arranges for two workers to take the young man to a brothel on the pretext of visiting a new shrine. In another particularly beloved rakugo tale, a married man falls in love with a prostitute. When his wife finds out, she is enraged and sets a curse on the other woman. The prostitute responds by cursing the wife, and the two escalate in a spiral of voodoo doll cursing. Soon both are dead, but even death can’t extinguish their jealousy.

    Tatsumi’s love of wordplay shines through in the telling of these whimsical stories, and yet he still offers timeless insight into human nature.
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