The great puzzle every horror story has to deal with is one of identity: what does the writer wish to emphasize, feeling or meaning? What exactly is going to be the object that shall inspire horror to the heart of the reader? Why do we need another horror story? Osamu Tezuka’s MW answers these dilemmas in the most interesting -and I would say, exciting- way.
First of all, the main idea of the manga -a madman who enjoys murders- is quite common to literature world wide. What makes MW different is Tezuka’s effort to include many subjects that society usually tries to ignore; there are depictions of homosexuality, politics, history, etc. This not only makes the story more adult and convincing, but also provokes thought, a rare achievement for the genre.
The manga is full of violence and raw sadism, many times without a good reason to support the script. Even though most people would consider this a weakness, I believe the opposite to be true. What I realized when I finished reading, was that what made me feel sick, the truly morbid element of MW is not violence, not the deaths and tortures, but the fact that much of what I read is actually true; biogenetic experiments, human sacrifices, political corruption, everything is visible to its most repulsive form. Even if there was not a single drop of blood shed, such a realization should be enough to shake any reasonable person.
That is why I consider MW to be one of my best manga moments for 2012 -because it managed to create a great story full of grotesque feelings, without losing sight of meaning.