Adolf ni Tsugu, “Tell Adolf”
• Osamu Tezuka
• Viz/Cadence Books (1995–1996)
• Bungei Shunjû (Shukan Bunshun, 1983–1985)
• Seinen, Historical Drama
• Unrated/18+ (language, violence, nudity, sex)
Adolf was one of Tezuka’s last manga, but the first published in English (apart from the brief Phoenix excerpt in Frederik Schodt’s Manga! Manga!). The opening pages introduce it as “the story of three men named Adolf.” One is Adolf Kamil, a German Jew raised in Japan in the years leading up to World War II. Another is Kamil’s childhood friend Adolf Kaufman, a German-Japanese boy who becomes indoctrinated into the Hitler Youth. The third, Adolf Hitler, is a constant background presence in this bleak and bloody espionage story. Tezuka wrote and drew Adolf as an attempt at more serious, adult-oriented manga. As such, Adolf isn’t entirely successful, tending more toward pulp action and melodrama than naturalistic depictions of life. But as a wartime thriller, it’s both exciting and moving. Japan’s gradual descent into fascism, based partly on Tezuka’s own memories of growing up in Kobe, is particularly believable and chilling. The five English volumes, published by the now-defunct Viz subsidiary Cadence Books, are, confusingly, given subtitles but not numbered. The correct order: A Tale of the Twentieth Century, An Exile in Japan, The Half-Aryan, Days of Infamy, and 1945 and All That Remains.