Dig Boston calls SHIGERU MIZUKI a badass

“ONWARD TOWARDS OUR NOBEL DEATHS” / Dig Boston / J. Pat / May 4, 2011

A young Shigeru Mizuki was just starting to show a knack for illustration when he was drafted into the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War. Mizuki survived, albeit barely, losing his drawing arm to an Allied bombing raid.

Balltastically, Mizuki recovered, re-teaching himself how to doodle with his non-dominant arm and going on to become one of Japan's preeminent cartoonists and folktale-tellers. Biography, short form: Mizuki is a badass.

Considering his rugby tackle with death, it's not too surprising that the man isn't the biggest fan of war, as this semi-autobiographical work - available in English translation for the first time - makes pretty frickin' crystal. The "semi-" part of the statement comes near the end, when Mizuki imagines the mandatory death order that his unit narrowly avoided was actually carried out. He details every moment of agony, confusion and despair as a bunch of terrified teenagers go off and die for no reason, in the most sobering meditation on the cost of human conflict I've ever read.

Review, short form: Mizuki is a badass.

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