Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Olympos by Aki

Manga is such a large section of the book store that I work at, I felt unread to have never sampled some. After briefly flipping through several books I came back to Olympos by Aki - which was my first choice, due to the beautifully illustrated cover, and final choice due to the color and the lovely artwork within.

Let me restate that the illustrations are absolutely gorgeous. I was constantly marveling at the beauty of the characters. Also, the story told was most intriguing, poignant, and sad.

As the title implies, this is a story about the gods of Greek mythology. Apollo is depicted as a beautiful female (though she is referred to as a he, because I believe all individuals of authority are referred to as hes in Japanese) who is terribly bored and mischievous. Not unlike Poseidon, and Hades. Immortality seems to be a bit too unending for them all.

In a beautiful garden, Zeus created in an unknown space, Apollo drops a beautiful young princess (called a prince in the story due, again, to Japanese translation of authority figures) Ganymede who is granted immortality. She becomes quite a piece of entertainment to the gods as they enjoy watching her endure eternity with them.

Ganymede discovers the true nature of the gods is in stark contrast to the way they are portrayed in human fables. Mocking her at one point, Apollo asks what it is mortals thought she did.

What surprises me is the strong philosophical/symbolic undertones. Aki seems to want to show readers the allusiveness of the idolized, truth, good and bad, and immortality.

For instance, in a discussion Apollo and Hades have with Ganymede, she explains that the existence of darkness (Hades) is necessary for the light (Zeus). Hades "is the god of the shadows that are created by the light."

Will the gods end everything for amusement? ...

Click here to see a copy of Olympos by Aki.

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