Archive for rock

Tolen (“The Knack…and How To Get It”) and Tezuka

Posted in animation, anime, cinema, manga, mod, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions, television with tags , , , , , on February 21, 2008 by reccaphoenix

Two characters that seem to share a lot of similarities….

Exhibit “A”, Rock (a.k.a. Rokuro Makube):


Exhibit “B”, Tolen (“just Tolen.” ):

out for a motorbike ride with ANOTHER bird...

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:

necklace time ;)

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……

Tezuka’s “Vampires”. Rock.

Posted in animation, anime, osamu tezuka, reviews/opinions, television with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2007 by reccaphoenix

the vampiresSee here for the details.

Awesome, AWESOME manga.

I know you can buy this manga in French and maybe Italian. has all the details, as well as a sweet essay on Rock (one of my favorite recurring Tezuka characters) and his descent into evil and subsequent redemption. He is the main character of the Vampires, in the words of Toppei, “the most evil person in the world.” Not bad for a middle school kid, eh?  And all the while, he retains that little-kid Tezuka innocence that all his characters seem to have.

There was a live-action + animation hybrid television show of “The Vampires” made by Tezuka Productions in the ’60s. The people were played by live actors, and the animals were animated. I have never seen the show, so I don’t know if it’s any good, but there are several websites you can order the box set from if you have a region-free or region 2 DVD player. Again, has links to where you can buy the DVDs.

Osamu Tezuka is a main character in the story (both the manga and TV show), yet somehow this doesn’t come off as Mary Sue-ing (to use fanfiction terms T_T) or being cocky. He does this in a lot of his works, actually, but the character in “Vampires” is blatantly an Osamu Tezuka who works at Mushi Productions making anime…. Sort of amusing to think that Rock was trying to kill his creator at one point during the story.

Anyhoo, Tezuka plays himself in the TV show!

Tezuka Osamu as himself.

One main story thread of “The Vampires” is based loosely on Macbeth, and Rock’s full name in the manga, “Makube Rokuro” sounds sort of like “Makubesu,” the title of Macbeth in Japanese. Macbeth is my #1 favorite Shakespeare play of all time, so that’s only further reason for me to love this manga…which is not about vampires, by the way. Technically, the group referred to as “BANPAIYA” (Vampires) in the story are were-animals (werewolves, were-tigers, were-snakes, even a were-alligator!) Kitsune (fox spirits) and some other Japanese youkai are mentioned as part of the group too in part of the story. Quite interesting.