logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: No-Longer-Human
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-23 21:47
No Longer Human (manga, vol. 2) by Usamaru Furuya, based on the novel by Osamu Dazai, translated by Allison Markin Powell
No Longer Human, Volume 2 - Osamu Dazai,Usamaru Furuya

[Content warnings: this volume includes on-page sex, and there’s a deliberately disturbing sequence in which a children’s manga character is given an enormous penis, has sex, and is then killed and left to be eaten by birds.]

This volume picks up where the previous one left off. Yozo has survived his attempted double suicide with Ageha. The idea of being punished for her death gives him the sense of purpose he craves, but this is snatched from his hands by the police’s decision to set him free and deliver him to the hands of one of his family’s former servants. Yozo blames his father and stews in his own bitterness while essentially living trapped in the former servant’s home.

Yozo manages to escape one prison only to end up in another. Having no other place to go, he ends up living with his friend Horiki's editor, Shizuko. She dotes on him, seeing his pretty face and nothing else. Although outwardly things appear to be going well for Yozo - he now has a roof over his head, a job as a children’s manga artist, and somebody willing to fork over money anytime he wants to go out and buy booze - he feels stifled by Shizuko’s love and her young daughter’s wish for him to be her real father.

By the end of the volume, Yozo has finally found something like happiness. Will it last? Ha ha, of course not.

I think I’ve finally accepted that this isn’t so much an adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human as it is Dazai’s plot and Usamaru Furuya’s Yozo. Although I still end up comparing the two works a lot in this review. Sorry.

My interpretation of the original book and Furuya’s interpretation continue to differ wildly. Furuya’s Yozo is less sympathetic than Dazai’s (who, granted, tended to be pretty terrible), more likely to blame his father for his own problems, and more calculating. Rather than just sort of being taken in by Shizuko, he does his best to manipulate her into offering to take him in, making use of both his good looks and his abilities in bed.

Yozo isn’t a likeable guy. He’s prone to self-destructive behavior, doesn’t think things through, and then wallows in bitterness rather than accept the consequences. He was even more disgusting than Book Yozo when it came to life with Shizuko and Shiori. I remember Book Shizuko putting up with more from Yozo than I thought was wise, but I’m pretty sure the undressing scene was entirely invented by Furuya, and it was awful. The inclusion of Dazai’s “Papa is...too good of a person” scene afterward was bizarre, since both Shizuko and Shiori had just witnessed Yozo being very much not a good person.

In some ways, I’d argue that Yozo’s brief period of time with Mama at the bar was probably the best period of his life, even better than his “romance” with Yoshi at the end of the volume - this was vastly different from how I felt while reading the original book, by the way. I think Furuya’s Mama was a more fascinating character than Dazai’s.

Mama was an older woman who, for some bizarre reason, was fond of Yozo but also well aware of his problems. She didn’t expect anything from him, and her happiness certainly didn’t depend on him. There was one scene I particularly liked that I think Furuya invented (I don’t recall it being in the original book). Mama was acting as Yozo’s nude model and asked to see Yozo’s drawing of her. She accused him of being too kind and told him to redo the drawing, this time including her wrinkles. I loved that she not only refused to accept flattery from Yozo, but also that she seemed to genuinely love her own body. Here’s her description of her wrinkles: “These are my growth rings. Each stands for a love and a parting.” I don’t recall having any favorite characters in Dazai’s No Longer Human, but Furuya's Mama was wonderful.

Had Furuya broken free from the constraints of writing an adaptation, I imagine his Yozo could have stayed with Mama long enough to finally gain something resembling emotional maturity. Or maybe she'd have eventually gotten tired of him and tossed him out. At any rate, the story moved on and continued to follow Dazai’s original plot. This was another instance where I felt that Furuya’s changes to the original story were an improvement upon the original. Furuya’s Yozo was younger than Dazai’s Yozo, which meant that his Yozo was also closer in age (only 20) to the

cigarette shop girl Yozo fell in love with, Yoshino Asai (18). It was still a terrible idea for her to agree to marry him, considering he was drunk almost every time she saw him, but Furuya’s Yozo and Yoshino worked better for me than Dazai’s.

(spoiler show)


As happy as he seems to be by the end of the volume, this series is pretty upfront about the fact that things do not end well for Yozo. If I hadn’t already read the book, and if it were just bad things happening to Yozo, I might be tempted to read on. However, I’m going to stop here.

Yoshino’s a sweet girl and, despite her terrible taste in guys, doesn’t deserve what happens next. I don’t particularly want to read it, and so I won’t.

(spoiler show)


I prefer main characters who inspire me to root for them, or who at least interest me. Furuya's Yozo, a loser who hurts and/or drags down most of the people around him, doesn’t appeal to me. That said, I did think this volume was better than the first.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-07-23 18:30
Reading progress update: I've read 194 out of 194 pages.
No Longer Human, Volume 2 - Osamu Dazai,Usamaru Furuya

Finished! This was a lot better than the first volume, in part because I've accepted that this is Furuya's No Longer Human rather than a true adaptation of Dazai's book. Furuya and my interpretations of the book differ wildly.

 

While I thought this volume was better, I've decided I'm going to stop here. This volume ends on a relatively positive note, and I'd rather end things here than watch

Yozo's too-good-for-him fiancee get raped and then probably blamed for her own rape by Yozo.

(spoiler show)
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-07-20 13:27
Reading progress update: I've read 100 out of 194 pages.
No Longer Human, Volume 2 - Osamu Dazai,Usamaru Furuya

The idea of Yozo creating children's manga disturbs me.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
text 2017-07-19 14:52
Reading progress update: I've read 65 out of 194 pages.
No Longer Human, Volume 2 - Osamu Dazai,Usamaru Furuya

I'm guessing on the page number.

 

Yozo is now being confined at the home of one of his family's former (?) servants. There's more dad-blaming in this than in the original book. Basically: "if only my horrible dad hadn't paid off the cops, I'd have been properly punished for Ageha's death and my life would have been given meaning!" Boo hoo.

 

Yozo wasn't exactly a sympathetic figure in the original book by this point, but he had least had my sympathy at the beginning. Manga Yozo, not so much. All the male characters see right through him, even his friend, but the female characters just see a good-looking young man with puppy dog eyes. Even if I weren't already familiar with the story, it'd be fairly obvious that Yozo is about to latch onto yet another woman.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-07-09 02:35
No Longer Human (manga, vol. 1) by Usamaru Furuya, based on the novel by Osamu Dazai
No Longer Human, Part 1 - Osamu Dazai

This is technically the first volume of a manga adaptation of Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human. However, in reality it’s more like a work inspired by Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human. It has a lot of the same characters and a lot of the same events, but also enough important changes that the impact of certain familiar scenes and characters is completely different. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

The volume begins with Usamaru Furuya as a character in his own manga. He’s trying, and failing, to think up an idea for his next serial when he suddenly gets an anonymous email pointing him to an online “ouch diary.” The website contains three images: one of 6-year-old Yozo posing with his family while wearing a wide fake smile; one of Yozo at age 25, his expression lifeless and worn down; and one of Yozo at age 17, cool and handsome. Furuya proceeds to read the diary that goes with those images, to learn how Yozo fell so far so quickly.

Then readers get the story of Yozo’s life, starting with a few pages showing him as a child and middle school student, behaving like a class clown in order to get people to like him. The story quickly progresses into Yozo’s high school years, when he is befriended by Horiki, who Yozo believes is truly what he has spent his life pretending to be, a friendly and shiftless clown. Although Yozo starts off with everything in life handed to him on a silver platter, things rapidly fall apart, and the volume ends with Yozo’s first suicide attempt (I’m assuming the manga will include the next one).

When I reviewed Osamu Dazai’s No Longer Human, I said that the beginning of the book, which dealt with Yozo’s childhood, worked best for me. Furuya opted to either skip most of that or include it as vague flashbacks. I thought, at first, that I’d be okay with this, until I realized that it really changed the overall tone. In the book, Yozo started off as a child who couldn’t empathize with others, had trouble figuring out what other people were thinking and why they acted the way they acted the way they did, and was terrified that people would see through his desperate attempts to fit in. The manga wasn’t as successful at setting the stage, and so high school Yozo was even more insufferable. Readers basically only saw Yozo at his absolute worst, looking down on everyone around him, drinking, skipping class, and paying for sex and doing his very best to not get to know the women he had sex with as actual people.

A few things I should add, at this point. First, Furuya aged Yozo down a bit. I don’t think Yozo met Horiki until college in the book, whereas in the manga they became friends during high school (with Yozo, the word "friend" can be assumed to mean nothing more than "acquaintance with whom he spends time"). Also, unlike the book, which alluded to sex but never mentioned anything in detail, there is quite a bit of on-page sex in the manga. One scene in particular did a good job of getting across the kind of guy Yozo was: he found himself distracted by thoughts of something a friend from school told him while he was having sex with a girl who’d just told him she wanted him to be her boyfriend. Then he couldn’t understand why she was so upset with him. I don’t know that the other sex scenes (four, total) were strictly necessary, though.

Now, back to the story/character changes. Another thing Furuya did was add a bit more to the plot. In the book, Yozo hung out with Marxists and took part in meaningless (to him) meetings and activities. The work annoyed him, but he stayed with the group because he couldn’t quite figure out how to leave and because others expected him to do things. In the manga, Yozo actually kind of liked being involved with the Japan United Labor Association, although he looked down on its members. He gradually realized that they were

planning terrorist activities, and he might have become even further involved if it hadn’t been for an incident involving a jealous boyfriend.

(spoiler show)


Furuya also ascribed emotions to Yozo that I’m not really sure he actually felt in the original book. For example, in the manga Yozo indicated that he actually cared about Ageha (I can’t remember if that was her name in the novel, too). I don’t know that the Yozo of the original novel truly cared about a single person, especially enough to admit it to himself. He cared about how people made him see himself, and that was pretty much it.

This was a funhouse mirror sort of adaptation, although the end result was still largely “miserable people doing self-destructive things." I’ll read the next volume because I already have it on hand, but I doubt I’ll be putting in an ILL request for the third and final volume.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?