Sohei Toge is a japanese reporter covering the 1936 Olympic games in Munich. He gets a call from his brother, a communistic youth studying at the university of Munich. His brother asks him to come to his apartment because he has to give him something very important, but Sohei is preoccupied with his job and when he finally arrives at the apartment, he finds it in complete disarray and his brother dead, hanging in the tree outside.
At the same time two german boys live in Kobe, Japan. One Adolf Kaufmann is the son of a german consul and his japanese wife. His best friend is Adolf Kamil, son of a jewish baker living in exile. The first Adolf is very distressed about how the germans are treating the jews and the accusations made about the jews, something he can not understand in the face of their friendship. Matters only get worse when he finds out that his father wants to send him back to germany to join the Adolf-Hitler-Schule and become a member of the Hitler Youth. Then one day, Kamil overhears his father discuss something very important. Apparently some documents disclosing details of Adolf Hitlers heritage were sent by mail from germany by a japanese communist to Japan...
To be honest, I don't like reading Tezuka that much. I read two volumes of Black Jack and a few Astro Boy stories but to me Tezuka is a bit too fast paced if you will and sometimes the story doesn't go into detail enough for my taste. I can understand how he crams so much story in so few pages but it just doesn't feel that fleshed out to me, and I find some of the anachronisms he deliberately puts in and some mistakes he makes (which are pointed out in the german release I read) a bit offputting. I do appreciate the influence his work has had for other artists though. In a similar manner I don't really like to read Shakespeare but I appreciate the influence he had. I'm just weird like that.
However, I love what I read of Adolf so far. It's collected in five volumes of about 250 pages and I got the second half of volume 4 and volume 5 to go but the story is very gripping and at points outright disturbing as some characters suffer very undeserving deaths. I have seen other pieces of art portraying the circumstances and life in Nazi germany and the World War II as the story progresses before, but this one is the best I have experienced. And that in spite of the fact that half the story takes place in Japan which itself has some trouble with nationalist movements, something I've had very little information about before but is very interesting in itself. Also, Smiley-Hitler creeps me the fuck out.
It is definitely deserving the 1986 Kodansha Manga award it received. Has anybody else read this manga?