This story marries unflinching realism with the grotesque and sardonic humor seen throughout the work of this pioneer of the manga form.The Japan Times
A landmark publishing event of one of Japan’s most famous cartoonists
Shigeru Mizuki is the preeminent figure of gekiga/manga and one of the most famous working cartoonists in Japan today — a true living legend. Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is his first book to be translated into English and is a semi-autobiographical account of the desperate final weeks of a Japanese infantry unit at the end of World War Two. The soldiers are instructed that they must go into battle and die for the honor of their country, with certain execution facing them if they return alive. Mizuki was a soldier himself (he was severely injured and lost an arm) and uses his experiences to convey the devastating consequences and moral depravity of the war.
Mizuki's list of accolades and achievements is long and detailed. Currently in Japan, the life of Mizuki and his wife has been made into an extremely popular television drama that airs daily. Mizuki is the recipient of many awards including Best Album award for his book NonNonBa (published in 2012 by Drawn & Quarterly) and Heritage Essential award for Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths, at the Angouleme International Comics Festival, the Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Special Award, Kyokujitsu Sho Decoration, Shiju Hosho Decoration and the Kodansha Manga Award. His hometown of Sakaiminato honored him with the Shigeru Mizuki Road, a street in his town decorated with bronze statues of his Ge Ge Ge no Kitaro characters and the Shigeru Mizuki International Cultural Center.
Translated from the Japanese by Jocelyne Allen.
Praise for Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths
A powerful antiwar document...The results are both comic and grim, vulgar and affecting.The Globe and Mail
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is a brutally honest and human look at an unfortunate group of men more dehumanized by their own commanders than their enemies.Paste
This classic 1973 manga... explores with crystalline irony the absurdities of life during wartime...[It is] is a powerful, maddening and at times bitterly funny war story — a revealing look at World War II from the opposite side.NPR, Best Books of 2011
Mizuki depicts the brutality of ordinary life behind the battle lines as well as the violence of war, and this is not an easy story to read, but its historical importance and the lessons it holds for the future are undeniable.MTV Geek
Mizuki mixes terror and gallows humor so well that a single panel can operate as a delivery device for both. This is a painful comic, an upsetting one, but it’s also very, very funny. It shouldn’t be ignored.Flavorwire
Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths is a remarkable work that connects on a number of levels, all unified by Mizuki’s mordant sense of humor.AV Club