Kitarubeki Sekai, “The World to Come”
• Osamu Tezuka
• Dark Horse (2003)
• Fujishobo (1951)
• Science Fiction
• Unrated/All Ages (mild violence)
The last manga in Tezuka’s early “science fiction trilogy,” published just a year before the first Astro Boy stories. In an indefinite near future, a world war is brewing, stoked by the feuding nations of Uran and Star. Meanwhile, a race of tiny superhumans called the Fumoon has evolved from nuclear radiation and arises to challenge mankind’s supremacy. In the midst of these conflicts, scientists discover that the Earth is about to be destroyed by cosmic gas, and the Fumoon construct space arks to escape. This was Tezuka’s longest and most ambitious manga to date, featuring a huge cast, a plot that jumps around the world and across the galaxy, and an apocalyptic climax running for more than 30 chaotic pages. The title and concept were vaguely inspired by the movie Things to Come, just as the other manga in the trilogy, Lost World and Metropolis, were inspired by sci-fi movies Tezuka hadn’t actually seen. Nextworld captures Tezuka at the end of the first phase of his creative career: manic, cartoony, illogical, and endlessly imaginative, with flashes of the mature brilliance to come.