Any fan of anime or manga should be familiar with the artist Osamu Tezuka. He's pioneered the road for modern Japanese comics and animation and introduced the world to the art form. Tezuka's passion for comics and story-telling makes him note worthy, but so did his message.
Osamu Tezuka was born to a privileged family in Osaka, Japan. Tezuka's family had an extensive manga collection, which inspired him to write and draw comics as child. In junior high, Tezuka was drafted to the Japanese army during WWII and worked hard long hours in the factories. His experience during the war molded his philosophy about "the preciousness of life,"a theme he carried through out his work.
Because of this mantra and a sudden illness, Tezuka became a licensed doctor. He later chose to stay with his first love of comics. This path lead him to create Japan's first animated TV series Astro Boy. Because of the success of Astro Boy, Tezuka exposed the world to manga and anime.
Tezuka's heart-wrenching stories and action filled comic panels keep his work relevant. In Astro Boy, Astro struggles to bridge the divide between the robot world and the human world. Another series Black Jack follows a rogue doctor who uses unusual measures to help his patients. In these series and others like them, Tezuka never strayed from his theme of "the preciousness of life". Many of the characters in his series are outcasts or live under extraordinary circumstances. Through the trials of the otherwise noble characters Tezuka shows the characters dedication to help those that misunderstand them or to protect others that are misunderstood.
Although entertaining, Tezuka brings conviction to the reader. He reminds the reader to respect the differences we see and to respect the living. Osamu Tezuka created the style by which most anime and manga is crafted, but I feel like the message has been lost with time. I believe that is unfortunate. Tezuka is not the only one with the notion to respect nature or those who are different, but his comics effectively reenforce those thoughts. By reading Tezuka's original work the reader is forced to think about the larger picture.