Osamu Tezuka is considered to be the “God of Manga” in Japan, a title he rightfully deserves. From 1950 until his death in 1989, he wrote over 700 unique stories in both animated and drawn formats. Every anime and manga artist alive today owes a debt of gratitude to Tezuka because his work directly or indirectly inspired them. Great manga artists such as Hayao Miyazaki, Akira Toriyama, and Kazuki Takahashi cite Tezuka as a direct influence on their work.
Outside of Japan, he is known primarily for Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion, which is a shame considering his importance to the format. This is mainly due to the rights holders in Japan, they had no real interest in releasing his work outside of Japan. Recently, they changed their mind, in part to successful Kickstarter projects by Digital Manga Inc., and are slowly letting Osamu Tezuka’s more important works out of Japan.
For their latest kickstarter, DMI choose Osamu Tezuka’s most kid friendly and cutest manga ever, Unico. It is a retelling of Greek mythology and was originally published in Sanrio’s Lyrica magazine from 1976-79. The manga was never released outside of Japan, and the last time it was in print was in 2001.
Digital Manga Inc. is asking for a little more than 20,000 dollars for this current project. This sum is more than their previous projects because of the unique nature of Unico. It is meant to be read from left to right like most English comic books. Also, Unico is one of the rare mangas that is published in color. Color is a lot harder to clean up and still make it look right.
If successfully funded, Unico will be over 400 pages and sold for 35 U.S. dollars. If you want to support DMI in bringing Unico to the U.S., please visit DMI’s Kickstarter here.