The first in an occasional series of Saturday morning cartoons –

Jumping (1984)  is a hand-drawn, 4,000+ cel animation by 手塚 治虫, Tezuka Osamu (November 3, 1928 – February 9, 1989).  It won the Grand Prize at the 1984 Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films.

Tezuka Osamu is best known as the creator of Astro Boy and Kimba the White Lion. He is often credited as the “Godfather of Anime”, and is considered the Japanese equivalent to Walt Disney, who served as a major inspiration during his formative years.  The distinctive “large eyes” style of Japanese animation was invented by Tezuka, drawing inspirations on cartoons of his childhood such as Betty Boop and Walt Disney’s Bambi and Mickey Mouse.

Tezuka as a small boy

When Tezuka was a child, he was tormented by his classmates because of his skinny build, small stature and wavy hair, a genetic trait which appears in 3% of the Japanese population.  His nickname was gashagasha-atama (gashagasha is slang for messy, atama means head). His mother often comforted him by telling him to look to the blue skies, giving him confidence.

Tezuka grew up in Kobe and his mother often took him to the Takarazuka Theatre in the city of Takarazuka. The Takarazuka Revue that performed at the theatre is made up in its entirety of women, and so male characters are also played by women. The Takarazuka Revue specializes in romantic musicals aimed at a female audience, thus having a large impact on the later works of Tezuka, including his costuming designs.  He was inspired by Takarazuka stage techniques for highlighting the eyes on stage to draw his female characters’ eyes sparkling and large.

He started to draw comics around his second year of elementary school. Around his fifth year he found a bug named “Osamushi”. It so resembled his name that he adopted osamushi as his pen name. After surviving World War II, he created his first piece of work (at age 17), Diary of Ma-chan and then Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island), which began the golden age of manga, a craze comparable to American comic books at the time.

When he was younger, Tezuka became ill and was treated and cured by a doctor which spurred him on to study medicine at Osaka University. However, he began his career as a manga artist while a university student, drawing his first professional work while at school. At a crossing point, he asked his mother whether he should look into doing manga full time or whether he should become a doctor. This was an especially serious question since, at the time, being a manga author was not a particularly rewarding job.

The answer his mother gave was: “You should work doing the thing you like most of all”. Tezuka decided to devote himself to manga creation on a full-time basis. He graduated from Osaka University and obtained his medical degree.  Tezuka never practiced medicine, but he would later use his medical and scientific knowledge to enrich his sci-fi manga.

Info source – Wikipedia


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