No Longer Human – Osamu Dazai & Junji Ito – Review

My book choices have been pretty grim, but you want to see how far you can go when you’re running out of things to relate to. Here’s my two-month-old Osamu Dazai’s “No longer human” and Junji Ito’s comic adaptation review; I’ve been hesitant about posting it.

I picked up Dazai’s novel with high expectations but found myself detached from Yozo. My problem was knowing that this is a semi-autobiographical piece, but it read like half-journal, half-memoir, told in the form of notebooks. A huge selfish part of me wondered where the fictionalised side of the story was.

It lacked the depth I needed to connect with Yozo. Many occasions struck me as impactful, but I wanted more background story. Instead, he gave you gaps as though saying, “What do you think happened?” Dazai did not utilise the realm of fiction to explore anything.

Wait, it’s not fiction. Fuck!

Yozo shows no gratitude towards anyone giving him a helping hand. Instead of being in survival mode, it would’ve been the easiest to simply “end” it from the start. I probably would feel differently about him if he hadn’t chosen to be a co-dependent piece of shit living off women. The sad thing is he knows this very well.
Yozo has a kafkaesque relationship with his father, except that he didn’t write a novella of a letter expressing his resentment.

I enjoyed the laxative, but you can’t just shit out your misfortunes, not to mention throw them up. Interesting imagery, though.

On the other hand, the comic by Ito provides you with the depth you will crave when reading the novel. For example, whenever Yozo would briefly point out a time in his life in the novel, Ito would use that opportunity to expand that episode into a chapter and incorporate Dazai’s personal life. I hate to say that I needed to be fed this way; I needed that insight even though Ito may have dramatised some parts. I’m just bitching about it because I crave fiction and because…it’s a novel, not a memoir?

What I don’t like about the manga is the women. Bring your Japanese knife to a bitch fight. However, the manga succeeded in manifesting Yozo’s sense of guilt, whereas remorse was rarely highlighted in the novel.

Both story versions gave off a slight Pagliacci vibe without the clown make-up.
I may have my issues with Yozo, partly because I think I was him in my past life before I slipped into this one. Now I feel like a complete bitch posting this, thinking I missed something because I’m reviewing from the wrong perspective.

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