The Bottom Line
Apollo's Song is a love story, but is also a story that's hard to love. Sociopath Shogo is the product of a childhood without love, and his cruelty to animals and fellow humans earns him an eternity of damnation, as he's doomed to love and lose his love over and over again until the end of time.
It's a profound story with a few memorable moments, but the numerous scenes of stomach-churning violence and cruelty make Apollo's Song a challenging read, even for mature readers.
- Bold and dynamic page compositions
- Unflinching exploration of love, the lack of love and its consequences
- An epic story that spans the past, present and future
- Includes numerous scenes of stomach-churning gore, animal cruelty and violence
- An emotional roller-coaster ride that has more downs than ups
- Original Title: Aporo no Uta (Japan)
- Author and Artist: Osamu Tezuka
- Publishers: Vertical Inc. (US)
- ISBN: 978-1-932234-66-4
- Cover Price: $19.95 US / $24.95 CANADA
- Age Rating:
OT – Older Teens, Age 16+
for graphic violence, nudity and sexual content
More about content ratings
- Manga Genres:
- US Publication Date: June 2007
Japan Publication Date: 1970
- Book Details: 544 pages, black and white illustrations
- Other Manga by Osamu Tezuka:
Guide Review - Apollo's Song
Cynical Shogo grew up as an unwanted child, craving but never receiving true love. As a result, he's grown up to be a sociopath capable of unthinkable cruelty to animals. After a bout of electroshock therapy, Shogo comes face to face with a goddess who sentences him to experience love then lose it over and over again, for eternity.
Shogo's trials take him to WWII Nazi Germany, to a future where humans are endangered species, to a deserted island and to the present day. Each time, he falls in love and must watch in horror as his newfound love dies in a gruesome way.
Needless to say, this is not a choice for younger readers. As a story about adult sexual relationships, Apollo's Song has numerous scenes of stylized nudity and a few rape scenes. While there are some moments that were memorably whimsical, like the intro scenes of the sperm racers battling to be one with the queen egg, most of the stories are illustrations of the tragic consequences of a life without love.
In many ways, Apollo's Song is a story about love, but it's also love story that's hard to love. Shogo's arrogance and cruelty to animals makes him an anti-hero. In many ways, he deserves his sentence – but that doesn't make it any easier to watch him and his lovers suffer so much.
Artistically, Apollo's Song is an excellent example of Tezuka's unique style of graphic storytelling. The translation reads naturally and the overall presentation is well done, making it a classy addition to any Tezuka fan's library.
Overall, an interesting read for mature manga fans ready for story that challenges their expectations of the art form, but be forewarned: it's definitely not a 'feel good' love story.