The Book of Human Insects

Book: The Book of Human Insectsthe book of human insects cover

Author: Osamu Tezuka

Pages: 368 (Paperback)

Genre: Psychological/Manga

Age Recommendation: 16+

Published: 01/01/2013

Publisher: Vertical Inc.

ISBN: 9781935654773



“There are insects that look just like other insects. For example, there are horse flies that look like bees, non-poisonous moth species that mimic poisonous ones, and even a type of moth that looks just like an owl! They’re born that way, knowing to mimic to survive… as does she!”


Originally published in the 1970’s, The Book of Human Insects tells the story of Toshiko Tomura. She’s a modern day Michelangelo. At age 20 she is already an established international stage actress, an up-and-coming architect and the recipient of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize as Japan’s best new writer. Like many great talents, her troubled past is what motivates her to greatness however she has the amazing ability to imitate the talent of those around her.


This week I have chosen to write about something a bit different. The only graphic novels I have ever read are a few volumes of Robert Kirkman’s the Walking Dead and volume 1 of Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. My sister however is a big fan of anything in that area so I can always rely on her to recommend something that is a bit different to my usual urban fantasy novels. Most recently, she bought The Book of Human Insects into my life. First of all, when I say it’s for over 16’s I really mean that – it even says so on the back of the book. Some of the content is a bit mature for younger readers.

The Book of Human Insects was a really enjoyable read. It is one big mystery and you find yourself asking more questions with every page. Tezuka managed to fill the book with the most beautiful imagery that expresses the mood and thoughts of his character in a really moving way. This novel tells the tale of a young woman who uses others in order to get ahead in her career and how she leaves the people she has used to waste away.   I didn’t find myself rooting for any of the characters but that is probably because most of the characters are vile and manipulative nevertheless it is amazing to consider the depths that people might go to get what they want.

This book might take a little while to get into because there are quite a lot of characters but once you learn to keep track it starts getting difficult to put down. Aside from the drawings, this graphic novel made me feel like I was reading a really great, serious book. It’s also a really good length and is divided into chapters so it doesn’t take very long to read. Finally, the artwork is brilliant and beautiful- even if you can’t get into the story, at least you can appreciate the drawings!!

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