Most weeks whenever the New York Times list of the bestselling manga hits Anime News Network, it’s usually “a whole lot of shonen and shojo manga that I’m not reading,” with a few exceptions. “Yotsuba&!,” “Chi’s Sweet Home,” “Claymore,” “Berserk,” “Battle Angel Alita,” and even “Biomega” are the ones that I can recall popping up on the list at one time or another, while volumes of “Eden! It’s an Endless World” and “MPD Psycho” even made the first list. (Their presence, along with a list that was made up of eight different volumes of “Naruto” led many to declare the ranking “broken” and you never saw such a gathering on subsequent lists.) Now the reason I’m bringing this up is because this week’s list contains the latest title from an author that I thought I’d NEVER see on there: Osamu Tezuka.
His “The Book of Human Insects,” about a scheming and manipulative female of many talents, made the list at #7. It’s not his best work, much as I liked the amoral nature of the main character, it came off as a hollow echo of “MW” which featured an even more duplicitous male lead in a more focused story along with a none-too-subtle criticism of the U.S. military presence in Japan. “Human Insects” isn’t a bad book, but now the best thing about it is that its presence on the manga bestseller list shows that there is a sizeable (and growing) fanbase for Tezuka’s work. Vertical deserves to be commended for the work they’ve done in translating and marketing his series, and hopefully we’ll be seeing even more success for future releases including “Princess Knight,” and the just announced re-issuing of “Adolf.” (I’ve read the original Viz release of the latter -- it deserves a spot in anyone’s collection.)