Oh god, this book sucked. Almost entirely irredeemable, the story and art belong to the fingerpainting with cum school of manga. Tezuka Osamu, of Astro Boy fame, whips up a tale of some misogynist little loser who ends up with some brainless bimbos through a whim of the gods. A Jewish girl escapes from a train loaded for the death camps only to face lusty Nazis. A robot woman without genitalia tries to learn about love by throwing herself at the protagonist. A boyfriend leaves his bleeding girlfriend, justifying himself by saying: “She was cute, but a blind woman…no thanks!!” The book sparkles with this kind of dialogue. Then there’s the cheesy sex ed.
Really, there is almost no point in reading it, unless you’re on some Tezuka reading binge.
Yet, by almost, I mean, there might be a point in picking it up to marvel at the appearance of a Moomin – a Moomin amid a horde of murderous, vengeful animals who’ve ripped off one of the heroines’ clothes and mauled her.
Moomins are the inventions of the Swedish-Finnish writer and illustrator Tove Jansson. Her children’s stories are what wussy North American parents deem as “dark” and her stories celebrate loners, recluses and eccentrics. In Japan, however, it has not gone unnoticed that Moomins are really cute if you ignore their adventures falling into Scandinavian ice-covered waters, electric beings of unspecified wicked nature, and the warmth-desiring Groke who kills with her frozen touch as she wanders through northern forests. Japan is the place to buy cute Moomin paraphernalia. The books have been adapted into a saccharine cartoon that is virtually unwatchable. Snufkin, one of the books’ many counterculture minor characters, has become a guitar-toting pop star, like our own appropriated Che. The Hattifatteners, those electric gypsies, have shed their frightening and undefined evil to likewise become cute characters adorning merchandise.
But who do you see among the murderous animals in Tezuka’s book?
Yes, little Moomintroll has joined the lynch mob.
Once one knows that all the animals on this idyllic island are in opposite sex pairs – they even have what one blogger called a “top-secret sex pasture” – one rather feels sorry for Moomintroll. He’s the only one without a partner on the island, no Snork Maiden to this “holy place,” as Tezuka’s hero calls it.