Two characters that seem to share a lot of similarities….
Exhibit “A”, Rock (a.k.a. Rokuro Makube):
Exhibit “B”, Tolen (“just Tolen.” ):
Tolen is from The Knack…and How to Get It, one of my all-time favourite films. It was made in 1965. Rock in his evil-with-sunglasses incarnation was inaugurated in The Vampires starting in 1966. Coincidence? Maybe. We also have to consider that The Knack didn’t premiere in Japan until February of ’66, so Osamu Tezuka would have already been working on Vampires for quite some time.
But it’s fun, huh? They both wear suits and ties. They both have ’50s-like haircuts. They both wear dark sunglasses and are “bad.”
So maybe Tezuka didn’t base Rock on Tolen, but I’ve found an even crazier coincedence in MW. When Father Garai asks Yuki about the girl’s necklace, Yuki reveals that he keeps a bunch of them “on hand…to give to girls, of course,”:
Tezuka, Osamu. MW. New York: Vertical, 2007: p. 126. [Originally published 1976-8]
Tolen not only also keeps necklaces around to give to his girlfriends, they look almost exactly the same as Yuki’s. They’re hanging on a peg on the wall in this photo:
Coincidence? I think that aside from Rock’s most likely incidental similarity to Tolen, this scene in MW strongly suggests that Tezuka had at least seen “The Knack,” unless the whole necklace thing was a custom of the times.
Here’s something about Tolen that bothers me, though. He can’t seem to make up his mind about whether he’s a mod or a rocker. It was 1965, he had no excuse for not having made up his mind 😛 He has a big motorbike, a ’50s haircut, and leather gloves….but he also wears a suit and Chelsea boots, listens to jazz, and has a cool, detached attitude. So which is it, Tolen?! Maybe he figured that if he was ambiguous enough he could pick up mod girls and rocker girls. Opinions?
Maybe Tolen’s actor should have played Rock in the live-action TV version of The Vampires……