book review: abandon the old in tokyo

My second Yoshihiro Tatsumi book in a week, Abandon the Old in Tokyo is a collection of short stories in manga form. In the afterword, which is a Q&A between Tatsumi and Adrian Tomne, Tatsumi talks about how these stories came to be. The idea that Tatsumi is sort of the Japanese equivalent to Robert Crumb or Art Spiegelman. Gekiga comics were like the equivalent to “underground” comics elsewhere. Which answered a bunch of my questions on how these things were received. It turns out they were published in adult magazines and yeah, weren’t the hugely popular kind of manga we see today.

This book had less political stuff in it and more about sex and conflicted obligations. One story is about a nagging horrible mother who the protagonist finds an apartment for so he can bring his girlfriend home. Another is about a man who gets trapped in a pit as a representative of all men. Another has a ruined businessman surrender his human dignity looking for some sort of acceptance by fucking a dog. It’s all kind of depressing.

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