Apollo's Song

Alt title: Apollo no Uta

Vol: 3; Ch: 5
3.797 out of 5 from 240 votes
Rank #11,891
Apollo's Song

Shogo is a troubled boy. He abuses animals and has no concept of love, having watched his mother sleep with endless men and say she regretted having him while he was a child. After being brought to a mental institution for reform, Shogo is given electric shock therapy and has a powerful vision: a goddess statue tells him that for all eternity, he will fall in love with a woman, only to have their union fall apart. Through visions, dreams and day to day life, Shogo experiences being a Nazi in World War 2 Germany, becoming an assassin in a futuristic world run by non-humans and learning how to be a long distance runner, all the while discovering the true meaning of what it means to love.

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We don't need love, do we? It's just a phenomenon created by our minds, almost an illusion isn't it? It's fake right? Wrong. Apollo's Song is written by none other than the god of Manga himself, Tezuka Osamu, so of course you know it will be good. However, in this story lies something far greater than can be imagined, something a lot of us humans tend to forget or even neglect. The meaning of Love. We forget that love is the strongest force there is in this world, but after reading this thoroughly in one sitting, I believe I'll never forget how much we should all cherish love.The story is about a young boy named Shogo, who has absolutely no faith in love. Due to his abusive and sleazy mother, Shogo was brought up hating love and the very sight of it makes him sick. If two animals were infront of him showing signs of love, Shogo would not hesitate to kill them sadistically with a smile on his face, just for their love. Eventually, he is brought into a correctional facility and now undergoes therapy to cure his problem, less he become a menace to society. However, things are more complicated than they seem, as an ancient godess appears to him and sentences him an eternal punishment for his feelings toward love.Shogo now must live, die, and love in an endless cycle for the rest of eternity, falling in love with each life yet never being able to achieve happiness. This concept of rebirth brings Shogo to World War 2 Germany, to the future where humans are oppressed and in between, falling in love in his own life time. Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? Shogo must discover this for himself, and so will you. Love is a very complicated thing, but without it I do not believe we humans could survive hapilly. A man and a woman fall in love, and create offspring, that is how it has always been, love cannot be defeated throughout the ages, this is what Apollo's Song has taught me. By the time you finish it, I believe you'll understand the importance of love as well.


A common problem with some attempts at philosophizing is taking something descriptive and making it prescriptive. By this, I mean that instead of saying such-and-such is how things are most commonly done, it's said that such-and-such is how things should be done. That is the road of judgmentalism and, at its furthest extreme, bigotry. In this manga, that most often occurs in regards to sex and male/female roles. This leads to some sexism being mixed in, with people saying things like "but you're still just a woman" or women themselves saying things like "marathons aren't really for women." In this manga, love is very much tied to marriage, marriage is very much tied to sex, and sex is very much tied to reproduction--which leads to the idea that the ultimate expression of love involves creating children. There's also some judgment thrown at people who use baby formula instead of breast milk, and a very black-and-white view of sanity and mental health. And we can see the author's views on pollution (that it's bad and reckless) and the nature of fish (that they don't count as animals). There are some very beautiful scenes of nature, which by itself would make the artwork very highly rated. But I don't care for the way the faces are drawn, the eyes especially, or the way the limbs look ballooned and tacked on. The wrinkles in clothes can look weirdly wavy, and the men often have tiny waists and gigantic shoulders. There are comical exaggerations and action lines.  The story itself shows Shogo Chikaishi going through a series of events where fe falls in love and then loses feir love in a tragic double-death, only to repeat that cycle in a new time period or whatever. Two of these stories are implied to be dreams (the one set in WWII and the one set in 2030), one of them was a hypnosis suggestion (the deserted island), and only one of them seems to have actually occurred in reality (the marathon training). But it's also suggested that these events, and unseen future events, are all real and were all caused by a Greek goddess who cursed Shogo to experience an endless cycle of love-pain. There are also some short fables and legends thrown in to emphasize certain points. I found the story of the Synthians especially interesting, but I was entertained and engaged pretty much throughout. I don't think I would consider this an amazing piece, but it also wasn't bad. So a 5/10 seems fair.

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