Monday, June 24, 2013

Black Blizzard

Yoshihiro Tatsumi's 1956 thriller Black Blizzard provides us a look into his past, when he was still a raw and inexperienced writer and mangaka.

Tatsumi, in several interviews, never hides the fact that he has 'conflicting' feelings about Black Blizzard to which he described it as "nostalgic for the past, for the days of my youth" but it's also "like exposing something shameful and private" that he would rather bury and have "hidden from sight."

But the work in itself is not bad for a twenty- one year old aspiring and struggling writer- cum- cartoonist. On the contrary it probably revolutionized the alternative comic scene in Japan in those days that eventually made him a gekiga pioneer.

Tatsumi's unorthodox visual narrative is like a study in contradiction; it was simple but is actually ahead of his time. The focus and angles are like those that can be seen from the eyes of a master filmmaker; the drawings speak for themselves.

The plot and storytelling are light and direct to the point. Even the dramatic moments were handled and told in a straightforward manner and avoided the melodramatic traps.

 In Black Blizzard, the protagonists, Susumu Yamada, a depressed pianist, and Shinpei Konta, a hardened criminal, are both accused of murder although under different circumstances but were forced to work together when fate suddenly gave them a chance to be free.

What turns out next was both ordinary and extraordinary. The choices that they have to make are grim and the struggle that goes with them can make one cringe. But the twist in the end will make us heave a sigh of relief.

The story was simple, short and sweet.

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