Friday, May 2, 2014

Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century by Osamu Tezuka


Adolf: A Tale of the Twentieth Century by Osamu Tezuka

Review by Lauren

copy from library; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: On the Eve of World War II, the destinies of three men named "Adolf" - including the infamous dictator of Germany's Third Reich- become inexorably intertwined...

Review: This is a graphic novel that I came across at the library and I thought it would be interesting to check out for Holocaust Remembrance Week. First, I have to note that this is just the first volume of the story, so unfortunately, I was only able to read so far. Regardless, I think Adolf Volume 1 includes enough to be somewhat of a full story.

The first part of the story left me a bit confused because it didn't seem to follow the brief summary. A Japanese man, Toge, is on assignment in Germany when he finds out that his brother has been murdered. His brother, Isao, told him he had important information for him but before Toge gets there, his brother is killed and is soon taken away by people who first appear to be policemen. Toge starts his search to learn the truth about his brother's death and to figure out just what Isao had been hoping to pass along.

Once I reached the second part, aspects of the beginning began to make sense, plus we meet the two fictional Adolf's. Both are young boys living in Japan, though they are not Japanese. The slightly older Adolf is Jewish, and the younger Adolf (who the readers follow for the most part) has a father high up in the Nazi Party. Both boys want to be friends and the young Adolf is desperate to avoid the Hitler youth because he doesn't want to learn how to hate jews.

The information that Isao had in the beginning is found out by the older Adolf, and eventually the younger, later in the book. Obviously I won't give it away since it's important to the overall story and fates of multiple people. My library doesn't have any of the other volumes in this series, which is unfortunate because I would like to see if this information is pertinent later in the story.

Regardless, I think Adolf Volume 1 was an intriguing look at those affected by Hitler, pre-WWII. It shows how the Nazi party was celebrated and thought to be a welcome change in Germany. The book also follows Japanese characters or takes place in Japan, which is also a unique perspective that many people don't realize. In between some of the chapters is a breakdown of major events during the years throughout the book, which was a nice look at history and how certain events related to this fictional story.

Finally, the graphic aspect was interesting, though I found that the ethnicity of the characters was difficult to distinguish sometimes. For example, it took me a bit to realize that Toge was Japanese in the beginning. It's not really a complaint, but since I noticed it, I thought I would share. I read an introduction that explained that this was more realistic drawing for Tezukua though, and in that regard, I think it worked. I particularly liked the page where Hitler is giving a speech. Tezuka really shows the cartoon-ish and ridiculous nature of his performance.

Overall, this was a different look at the rise of Hitler and I would be very interested in reading more of the volumes.


This was read for the Graphic Novel Reading Challenge

20 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

It's great that there are graphic novels about so many topics. I'd like to read more of them.

Erika Sorocco said...

Shocked to see that there is a graphic novel on this topic; but if it gets the history out to more readers then more power!

xx

Kindlemom said...

I actually like that this is a graphic novel simply because for younger kids they can be so much easier to read and not feel like a long drawn out story like some novels can.

Liviania said...

Tezuka is such an artist.

Lauren D. said...

I'd never heard of this, but it sounds like a good look at Hitler's impact on people's lives, and it's not often you get a Japanese perspective on it. It sounds like the art could have distinguished the characters a bit more, but I'm definitely interested to check this out. Great review!

Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings said...

Very interesting. Who knew there was a graphic novel on Hitler. If you are looking to read another inetersting book try In the Garden of the Beasts.

Brandi Kosiner said...

I don't read many comics, but this does deal with such and improtant and powerful topic

Christy @ Love of Books said...

Huh - this definitely sounds interesting - different.

Zoe N. said...

I've said a ton of times I'm not necessarily graphic novel fan, but gosh Lauren! You just pick out the best graphic novels! Definitely going to have to give this one a try; the topic and the way it's addressed sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3

~ Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf

Andrea Thompson said...

I would never consider history in graphic novel form, but that is an amazing idea. My son is obsessed with graphic novels, and I'm betting that format can reach new readers. Thank you for the review!

Tracy Terry said...

Hmm, I must confess that when I hear the word graphic novel something like this is the very last thing that comes to mind. Still, a great way to take a look at a terrible time in history at a time when people seem to be forgetting.

Synchronized Reading said...

It sounds like a pretty interesting read. This just reminded me that I haven't been to my local library in awhile!

Great review!

Eileen said...

Haha I always hate when the beginning of anything is super confusing and you only start to get it by adjusting to the story, but by then it already ruins all the fun of the first book. But this sounds really cool because it's about WWII (which is always intriguing to me) and I feel like the Japanese played a huge role in the war even though their involvement was kind of subdued since they didn't issue a whole homocide lol.

Keertana said...

This definitely seems to be a tough read -- not sure the subject matter is for me -- but I'm glad you found it to be gratifying. Lovely review.

Sophia Lin said...

O_O This was a graphic novel? Wow! I didn't think it looks like one since it looks very nonfiction... o_O

Melanie said...

A graphic novel for a book on Hitler? Interesting...

Lovely review, girl! <33

Jasprit said...

I like how this book has taken a different take on things and that you ended up appreciating this book in the end! Fab review!

JaimeLovesStuff said...

Wow. You know what, that definitely sounds interesting!

kimbacaffeinate said...

This sounds really good, but the horror of the second and third book not being available is sad. Can they order it for you? My library will ship from other libraries and it only cost me a few dollars.

Anna said...

I hadn't heard of this one, but it sounds good. I hope you're able to get your hands on the other books in the series.