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Under the Air

Story

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  • "Under the Air" is a series of short stories focusing on the greed and despair of people jostling for space on the surface of a little planet called Earth.
    The first episode, entitled "Man Who Visits Joe," features a white male racist who has received an organ transplant from a black man without his knowledge and tries to hide it. The last episode, entitled "Couple under the Air," depicts the tragedy of a couple who have grown from babies to adults on life-sustaining machines after all other humans have become extinct. Many episodes of this series are critical of civilization.
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Electronic Books

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Characters


  • Captain Willy Ohara (1st episode)

    Gabori Eiichi (2nd episode)

    Piere Ortan (3rd episode)

    Steve Dickson (4th episode)

    Cartoonist (5th episode)

    Toyama Yoshiharu (6th episode)

    Rosa (8th episode)

    Tae (9th episode)

    Tadokoro Mitsuo (12th episode)

    Robanna (13th story)

    Joe (14th episode)

    Midori (14th episode)
         
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Descriptions

  • September 25, 1968 to April 11, 1970
    Appeared serially in "Play Manga" (Akita Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd.) as a complete story

    This work was published in a monthly youth Manga magazine, "Play Manga." Tezuka Osamu dealt with various themes ranging from science fiction to thriller and horror stories. He also changed frames and design by episode.
    When "Under the Air" was serialized, Mushi Production, which Tezuka Osamu oversaw, was on the verge of collapse and he was involved in a labor dispute. For Tezuka Osamu, it was a hard time. Nevertheless, he was still enthusiastic about writing Manga. This series was one of his favorites. The title "Under the Air" came from his interpretation of human existence: that we cling to the Earth's surface, which is "under the air."
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Episodes

  • 1. Joe's Visitor      September 25, 1968

    Captain O'Hara has survived thanks to an organ donated from the body of Joe, a black soldier who died in the Vietnam War. Coming from the South, O'Hara is actually a racist. In an effort to keep it secret that a black man's organ is in his body, he visits Joe's family, who know the truth, in Harlem.
    Guest General/Duke Red

    2. The Voice of Night      October 25, 1968

    Gabori, a young company president, is a hard-working and clever entrepreneur. He has, however, one peculiar pastime: he spends all day sitting on the street as a beggar every Sunday. It is also his way of learning to observe the people he comes across without being bothered by anybody. One day, Gabori helps a runaway girl, who begins to live in a shack that he uses when he acts as a beggar. As the girl is honest and sincere, he becomes fond of her, and thinks about employing her at his company and marrying her.

    3. The Cliff of Death      November 25, 1968

    There is a sheer cliff called the "Cliff of Illusions" on the west coast of France. The cliff has many holes, and whenever the wind blows, it produces a mystic sound reminiscent of some ancient musical instrument. Those who have heard the sound start having hallucinations...
    Having escaped from prison, a man runs away as far as to the cliff. Hearing a police siren there, he takes a family who happen to walk by as hostages, and runs halfway down the cliff. He hears the voices of police officers on the cliff, who are talking to each other and calling for his surrender. Feeling that he has been driven to a corner, he kills his hostages, and darts toward the police on the cliff.
    Guest Pierre Ortan / Marukubi Boon

    4. The Duel at the Grand Mesa      March 10, 1969

    Steve, who lives in a town in the West, has turned 18 when McClaud, the gunman who killed Steve's father, comes back to the town. Ignoring his mother, who tries to stop him, Steve duels with McClaud on the Grand Mesa, but he runs back to town for his life with his thumb crushed. Seeing that it is impossible to kill McClaud with a gun, Steve goes to the East. He studies frantically there and comes back to the West as a lawyer.

    5. Cape Uroko      June 10, 1969

    While he is collecting stories for his Manga in a small island of Minamikishu, Tezuka Osamu hears about the legend of Cape Uroko, which goes as follows:
    A long time ago, the wife of a fishermen's boss had gotten together with a young man of the village. Her furious husband shuts them up in a hole in Cape Uroko. Several years later two human-sized fish are caught in the hole.
    Returning to the present, a child falls in the hole in Cape Uroko. A company offers a machine to rescue the child, but Tezuka Osamu discovers that the company's plant is leaking poisonous substances into the sea around the island.
    Guest Tezuka Osamu / Tezuka Osamu

    6. Illicit Love      July 10, 1969

    Sotoyama, a collage student, lives alone with his younger sister, who works to pay for her brother's education. Despite the fact that they are brother and sister, they are in love with each other. As he watches her through the window of the company building where she works, however, he feels painfully that there is an insurmountable wall between them. When the managing director of the company proposes to her, he begins to lose his mind.
    Guest Police Inspector / Inspector Geta

    7. The Hole      August 10, 1969

    A man who has killed the yakuza escapes into a forest where he witnesses a plane crash and finds a man injured in the accident. Unable to ignore the injured person, the man takes him to a hospital and even donates his blood. Next morning, he finds himself a famous man covered by the media...

    8. Star for Exiles      September 10, 1969

    On a stormy night, a man comes to a valley where a father, a son and a daughter live all by themselves. The family has not been outside the valley for several generations. His father has explained to the son that they live in the valley as an experiment for future space settlements. Since the man from outside the valley falls in love with the daughter, he gets expelled from the valley, and the daughter goes with him. The world outside the valley that she sees for the first time is...

    9. The Cat's Blood      October 10, 1969

    A man delivers films to local movie theaters in various regions, among which there is a region where monster cat movies are extremely popular because cats are worshiped there. The man marries the beautiful daughter of a farmer in the region, and takes her to Tokyo to live with him. She cannot adapt herself to the city life, however. Becoming neurotic, she starts claiming that Tokyo will soon be enveloped in flames. Her vision is actually a primal instinct. Shortly after her prediction, a nuclear missile hits Tokyo as a result of the confrontation between China and Soviet Union. Her husband escapes the disaster, who happens to be out of town, but she...

    10. Telephone      November 10, 1969

    Osawa Yu is a fighter in a college student movement. He and his comrades are now barricading themselves on campus. Then he receives a telephone call from Terayama Hiroko, a lonely female student who lives in a girls' dormitory where everything goes by a set of rules. Osawa tells her that she should fight against the school for more freedom, and asks her for a date. When he goes to see her on the appointed day, a friend of hers is there instead of her to tell him that Hiroko died one month before. Strangely enough, however, Osawa has been receiving calls from her every night. One day, he finally meets with her, but...

    11. Chameleon      November 10, 1969

    Tsukima is employed at a company called Morioka Chemicals. He is a man quick to adapt to changing circumstances, like a chameleon. One day, a woman asks him to act as a corporate spy because he is trusted by the company executives. He steals a company's confidential document, which shows a chemical equation for improving animal intelligence. Tsukima travels to a small isolated island to hand the document to the woman, and there he discovers her real identity.

    12. Catastrophe in the Dark      February 14, 1970

    Tadokoro Mitsuo is a disc jockey on a midnight radio program. One night, on his way to work, he sees a fan of his fall into a manhole as she calls out to him on the street. As he does not want to get involved, he pretends not to have seen it, and hurries to the radio station. Shortly after that, however, he hears the news that she has died. Suffering from a guilty conscience, he is tormented by her spirit even when he is on the air.

    13. Robanna      March 14, 1970

    Tezuka Osamu visits Minamiizu to see his old friend, Oguri, who has shut himself off from the world. Tezuka sees his friend making a pet of a female donkey there. Tezuka, who stays there for a night, witnesses Oguri's wife trying to kill the donkey, and stops her. She says that her husband is a perverted man who prefers animals to humans. But Oguri explains that his problem is because the minds of his wife and the donkey have been switched an experiment. Now what experiment is he talking about?
    Guest Tezuka / Tezuka Osamu

    14. Space Capsule      April 11, 1970

    Two guppies that love each other live in a tropical fish tank, but a cigarette butt dropped into the tank kills the two.
    Mankind becomes extinct as a result of a nuclear war in 19XX, but two babies, a boy and a girl, grow up in good health inside a capsule made for a space trip that was displayed at an international exposition. The two fall in love. One day, they become curious about the world outside the capsule, and begin to wish to go out.

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Animation

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