I was quite hoping to finish reading Princess Knight to write a review, since this week I have been mostly writing essays of sorts. Unfortunately I felt my patience ran out for the story of Sapphire. So I am falling back to another book I have been contemplating about writing a review for… and this is The Book of Human Insects also known in Japanese as Ningen Konchuki (人間昆虫記). It is one of Tezuka’s books that I read after Ayako and while it doesn’t carry the tragedy of Ayako‘s plot, The Book of Human Insects was touted as a read alike.
Toshiko Tomura is an award winning novelist, but with the glamour of winning comes the slow revelation that she is not the rightful winner or as graceless as she portrays. She can be considered a devious femme fatal, and Human Insects shows her journey with an agenda to feel like she is part of somewhere. The book begins with her accomplishments, and the storytelling of Ningen Konchūki was quite brilliant, in flashbacks and present storylines. Readers learn of Toshiko’s transformations from a designer, actress, director, author, trophy wife, and photographer. Tezuka wrote Toshiko comparing her to being like an insect undergoing countless metamorphosis. Her transformation destroys lives, rather than another of Tezuka’s other well known manga of Phoenix, where the fire bird burns and cleanses for a pure rebirth.
On one level readers can definitely call her an evil woman, but on another level wouldn’t anyone want to be this narcissistic yet hedonistic woman? Viewers upon seeing reality shows can see a consistent role of a woman or contestant that they would love to hate like Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth from Donald Trump’s The Apprentice. If you were to interview a character such as Toshiko, wouldn’t she claim that this is a call for survival of the fitness? Toshiko obviously was born from an impoverished background if the clues of her mummified doll of her mother in that cluttered house, it definitely proves that she is a woman to silently pity and in face hate or be wary of all the more.
This review for The Book of Human Insects is definitely going to be my last entry for Tezuka’s MMF, but you can check out the archive of this feast’s for plenty of other entries on Tezuka’s extensive bibliography that may or may not be covered.