Shigeru Mizuki

Flex Your Geek    |    Flex Your Geek    |    June 2, 2011

First published in 1973 but only translated into English this year " Onwards.. " is the fictionalised manga memoir of Shigeru Mizuki's time spent fighting in the Imperial Japanese army during World War two. The first impression I got as I read this great work was that it reminded me of the HBO series" the Pacific" but from the Japanese viewpoint and I was also struck by the similarities to the amazing film " letters from Iwo Jima, " and I can honestly say that if you have watched or read either of those then this manga comicbook should go to the top of your pile of things that you will enjoy, I guarantee you will not be disapointed.

Mizuki weaves a human tale of the realities of war and troops faced with the terrible order that they must die for their country at all costs and never entertain the ideas of retreat and surrender. This is war at its most horrible and yet also most poignant as the reality of combat is bought to life with simple yet detailed art and a terrfying growing realisation as you read that no one is going to get out alive. This story could be even grimmer than it is but along the way Mizuki mixes dark humour into the plot line and I feel this only adds to the overall poignancy of the tale and the fact that war is a dehumanising nightmare but that if you didn't laugh you would only cry so let's jsut get on with it.

Overall an uncomfortable but entertaining read that should go down well with war

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