Unico, the lovely child unicorn created by “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka, with a pink mane, little cinnamon roll formed ears, and a tragic backstory, is being reimagined in an all-new, full-color manga. The Eisner Award-winning artist workforce Gurihiru (Superman Smashes the Klan written by Gene Yuen Lang and lettered by the good Janice Chiang, and the extremely anticipated Ultraman: One other Gene) and acclaimed author Samuel Sattin (graphic novel adaptation of the Academy Award Nominated movie Wolfwalkers) are reinventing the Seventies character for a brand new era of readers in Unico: Awakening, presently being funded through Kickstarter.
The unique Unico by Tezuka was serialized by Sanrio’s shōjo manga journal Ririka from November 1976 to March 1979 and re-published in Shogakukan, a studying journal for youngsters, within the early Nineteen Eighties. In any case, getting hooked on phonics can be a lot simpler with this lovely unicorn serving to a younger one study. However Unico has at all times been about greater than fantastical creatures and mythology, it additionally explores environmentalism and social points plaguing our world at present: exemplified in a 2000 animated quick Saving Our Fragile Earth: Unico Particular, during which Unico is voiced by Akiko Yajima within the authentic Japanese model and Aracely Arámbula within the Spanish dub.
In 2012, Unico first made his technique to English-speaking audiences. Whereas the West Wind has dropped him off all around the world throughout his lifetime, it’s thrilling to get a reimagining of the character from such a dynamic workforce!
The Beat chatted with Sattin about bringing the characters of Unico to a brand new viewers, working with Tezuka Productions on the venture, and what unicorns imply to him. Test that out, together with a ton of art work from the Kickstarter marketing campaign, beneath.
Rebecca Oliver Kaplan: Unico is one in all Osamu Tezuka’s characters from the Seventies. How have you ever and Eisner Award successful artist workforce Gurihiru reimagined the characters for 2022?
Sam Sattin: One of many issues I actually love about Tezuka’s work is that his concepts had been large and timeless. Although Unico ran from 1974-76, and there are some elements which can be outdated like all work from that period, the themes very a lot stay related. In UNICO: AWAKENING, Gurihiru and I are paying tribute to Tezuka’s imaginative and prescient by taking a deep have a look at the characters and reimagining the context of their adventures. A few of them will tackle bigger roles than they is perhaps ready for, as they attempt to assist their imperiled buddy.
Kaplan: What does a unicorn imply to you?
Sattin: I like that query. It’s the primary time somebody has requested it! From what I perceive, the Unicorn’s place in delusion varies, each culturally and traditionally… It may be a fierce beast that’s tough to catch. It may be a pure creature, whose horn cures all illnesses, and that solely virgins can lure.
As I work on UNICO: AWAKENING, I attempt to consider what it may need meant to Tezuka… Unico is a personality who embodies kindness, love, and wonder. However the kind of magnificence we’re speaking about is extra common in its nature, which is why the goddess of a extra ephemeral form of magnificence, Venus, turns into enraged by him. I like that angle, and am tempted to say that I really feel comparable. To me, a unicorn is a illustration not of purity, however of the love and care that people so badly wish to perceive, however usually fall wanting greedy. A few of us will do something to seize lightning in a bottle. A unicorn is an embodiment of all the things we wish to be that we aren’t.
Kaplan: You mentioned that Tazuka’s themes of social welfare and eco-consciousness had been vital to you. How does that inform this story particularly?
Sattin: In my thoughts, Tezuka had a posh view of human beings particularly, because it pertains to their place on the planet. In Tezuka’s work, animals, nature, and, curiously, robots are sometimes depicted as extra virtuous than individuals, who could be treacherous, abusive, and reckless. This isn’t to say that Tezuka hated humanity. I don’t suppose that’s true. However I do suppose he noticed a variety of what we’re able to and pitied us for it. I imagine he wished for a world the place people may apply extra social and ecological duty. Truthfully, I want for a similar factor. In my capability as an American, I see the nation we reside in as extra ruthless and extra neglectful than it’s ever been. I don’t wish to consider the place I reside on this method, so I’d love to do what I can as a author to think about options. Books have helped me see the world in another way, so I hope UNICO: AWAKENING can do the identical for another person.
Kaplan: How concerned within the venture is Tezuka Productions?
Sattin: Very! Tezuka Manufacturing has been unimaginable, each by way of their involvement and encouragement. I used to be capable of meet with the workforce in Tokyo, and it was really fantastic to have the ability to work together with the individuals concerned. Quite than give attention to granular particulars, the venture has concerned gaining a “core understanding” of what we’re engaged on. On this case, we have a look at Unico by way of the lens of what Tezuka himself was attempting to say, and that basically builds into how we reimagine the story.
Kaplan: This model shall be primarily based on the “The Cat on the Broomstick” storyline from the unique. For comedian guide followers who don’t know what that’s, will you catch them up?
Sattin: “The Cat on the Broomstick” storyline revolves round a cat who, after being kicked out of her house by a neglectful proprietor, finally ends up befriending Unico. The particulars of the story get slightly meticulous to put out, however primarily, they befriend an outdated girl the cat errors for a witch. The cat then convinces Unico to show her right into a human being for a little bit of time every day, out of a need to depart her feline id behind. This finally ends up resulting in hazard from a sadistic man who claims to be the keeper of the native forest. Total, the story is compelling and complicated, centered round notions of id, and desirous to be one thing that you simply aren’t.
Kaplan: Osamu Tazuka was recognized for his workaholic work habits. Did you might have a unique philosophy in your course of when bringing this character to life?
Sattin: I sadly am a little bit of a workaholic myself. That mentioned, I don’t suppose anybody within the historical past of comics has approached Tezuka’s stage or productiveness. It’s humorous… I clearly suppose that Tezuka shouldn’t have labored a lot. We may have traded a dozen books for a dozen extra years on the planet. However then once more, I can’t think about Tezuka being Tezuka with out his nearly legendary productiveness hooked up. He nearly single handedly birthed fashionable manga and anime… May anybody else have executed that?
As for me, I work so much. However I additionally take naps, and go on lengthy walks each day. I attempt to eat nicely and generally I construct dioramas. I like tales, so I absorb as a lot of these as I can, in all of the completely different ways in which I can.
Kaplan: Have been there every other influences that impressed your work on the venture?
Sattin: I’ve been occupied with a variety of seventies and early eighties animation throughout this venture—particularly issues that had been aimed in direction of children that is perhaps thought of too intense for contemporary youngsters. I feel Unico was in that class…I’ve learn a variety of articles concerning the surprise and trauma that they felt studying or watching it of their youth. Although it’s a unique form of movie, I’ve been occupied with The Final Unicorn movie so much. I additionally in fact love Naoki Urasawa’s PLUTO. The way in which he reinvented Atom has actually caught with me.
Kaplan: Is there anything you want to embrace?
Sattin: I might identical to to thanks for these nice questions! They had been a variety of enjoyable to reply. And for these of you who haven’t checked out the UNICO: AWAKENING marketing campaign but, please head over to Kickstarter and take a look.
The marketing campaign is providing an array of prints by some wonderful artists. It’s a stellar lineup that includes new UNICO artwork by Akira Himekawa (THE LEGEND OF ZELDA), Junko Mizuno (RAVINA THE WITCH), Soo Lee (ASH & THORN), Katie Longua (ROK), Peach Momoko (DEMON DAYS) who shall be contributing a complete of three completely different prints to this marketing campaign, Kamome Shirahama (WITCH HAT ATELIER), tokitotokoro (FOR A GOOD MAN), and Academy Award Nominated Animator Tomm Moore (WOLFWALKERS). There’s additionally some wonderful UNICO: AWAKENING collectible artifacts by Katie Longua, Maddie Copp, Julia Reck, Amber Padilla, Steenz, and Rye Hickman. We’d love your help.