Touch is the most famous manga drawn by Mitsura Adachi. The publication started quietly in 1981 but quickly gain popularity through word of mouth. The art is simple in the sense love is a simple 4 letter word. He somehow packs meaning and soul into characters with just a few lines. That simplicity is part of the reason why his work is accessible to every level of readers. The story reaches out and touches the reader with its unpretentious plot. Here is a master who didn't add violence or sex as addictive to clutter his work. He has a story to tell and he tells it honestly. I consider him more than an artist; he is also a great director that handles his art like a great motion picture. It came as no surprise that his manga is being adopted into a full featured film.
The filmis in Japanese and will be released tomorrow (12/02) in Taiwan as 鄰家女孩 with sub-title. I am excited. Granted I won't have time to see it for another 10 days but I plan to enjoy the full sense of anticipation.
The development of Touch is planned out like a book. Each chapter can stand on its own and usually ends with a punch that makes you either think or smile. The character development is gradual and for 26 volumes you came to understand their hopes and fears. It is a rare chance to gleam into the workings of human motivation. Adachi the manga director distill the essence of human emotion and present a raw force that touch the core of everyone who read his work.
The plot is simple. There were two families. One family had twin boys and the other one had a girl. The 3 kids grew up together....
The first 30 pages of the book build slowly to a love triangle. Twins, equal in every way at the beginning and loves the same girl. The tough moral dilemma is fascinating. George Hegel once wrote, "Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong. They are conflicts between two rights." The struggle to do right and to define oneself is just one on-going theme.
If you haven't read the manga yet, I highly recoomend it. Manga Project does the unofficial translation and you can find the books in their IRC channel. The onlywork that Adachi has officially translated to English is "Short Program". It is a fair representation of Adachi style. If you are famailar with scanlation, here are is a more complete reference to the groups translating Adachi work into english from MangaDownload.
Just to put it in perspective. Touch has sold 1 billion single copies and it is not even officially released in any english speaking country. That number is only taken from Eastern world. The work has been remade into 3 movie length animations and 106 episodes of tv show. I hope the current movie release in the US so you can have the chance to understand his work better.
*Here is the official movie homepage in Japanese