Editorial

The Complete Manga Works of Unico

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From 1977 to 1997, Kodansha published almost a full library of Osamu Tezuka’s works called the Osamu Tezuka Complete Manga Works. 400 books were printed in black and white, B6 format (125 × 176 mm / 4.9 × 6.9 in) and released in four phases with 100 books each. They made Unico into two volumes in 1983, and the Shougaku Ichinensei (First Grader) version in 1993.

Lyrica (Ririka) Version

While Sanrio put out the Lyrica version of Unico in a larger format close to A4 size, Kodansha edited the manga without losing too much of the artwork. White space is present above and below the pages because of the original comic being much longer than traditional printed comics in Japan.

When the manga was first published in the Lyrica Special Editions in 1978 and 1979, Sanrio rearranged the chapters. They placed finished colored pages at the front of the book and the unfinished chapters in the back. When Kodansha printed their Unico set, they kept the same chapter arrangement even after Tezuka completed coloring the manga.

Shougaku Ichinensei Version

Page from "えいがの中へ入りこめ” (Get Inside the Movie)

The Shougaku Ichinensei version's artwork covers the full page and includes 40 chapters. Kodansha excluded three known chapters, "えいがの中へ入りこめ” (Get Inside the Movie), “北風の神様” (God of the North Wind), and an untitled one. It is unclear why those chapters were omitted in the collection.

"えいがの中へ入りこめ” (Get Inside the Movie) has only appeared in the original Shougaku Ichinensei magazine and in the first volume of the Color Version Elementary School Comics set of books.

Besides the magazine, “北風の神様” (God of the North Wind) was published in the third volume of the Pikka Pika Comics set.

The untitled chapter, also known as Chapter 36, has only appeared in the magazine.

The Osamu Tezuka Manga Complete Works includes one chapter not released anywhere else besides the magazine, and that is "ふくびき" (Lottery). There are 43 known chapters for the Shougaku Ichinensei version.

Osamu Tezuka Bunko Complete Works

To commemorate Osamu Tezuka's 80th Anniversary, they released the Osamu Tezuka Bunko Complete Works from October 2009 to May 2012. 200 books were distributed in A6 format meant to be affordable, portable, and not take up too much space. The Unico book features all chapters and in the usual black and white format. No noticeable changes other than the size of the book.

They bundled the Shougaku Ichinensei comics with Atom Cat for this collection. Tezuka made both series for young children and with Atom Cat not having as many chapters; it may have been easier to bundle them in one book.

On-Demand Osamu Tezuka Complete Works

In 2018, for Osamu Tezuka's 90th Anniversary, they reprinted 343 volumes of the Complete Works collection in an on-demand fashion. Two size formats (B5 and B6) would be available along with new edits to improve the comics. They released five books the third of each month, and made Unico available on October, November, and December 2021.

Since the books are print-on-demand, a dust jacket is not included, unlike the previous Complete Works collections. The overall design of the cover, chapter pages, and images have been given a fresh upgrade.

Printed in black and white, the manga features a new logo design for the Tezuka Osamu Complete Works. The logo is present on the cover and inside the front of the book, which looks quite professional.

On-Demand Changes

The images below illustrate some edits and updates done to the manga. Since the original comic was fully colored, many details were lost in transitioning to black and white. They made several edits for the 2021 release, capturing a better adaption of the artwork. The panel with Eros and Unico in the tree alone illustrates the difference between the new and previous renditions.

The changes to the chapters are also interesting. For the first time, they rearranged the chapters back to how they originally published them in Lyrica magazine. This means that each chapter is now in chronological order, unlike the previous versions. Below is a table showing the differences in the chapter lists.

Old Chapter ListCorrected On-Demand Chapter List
ProloguePrologue
第1話 野牛の丘
Chapter 1 Buffalo Hill
第1話 野牛の丘
Chapter 1 Buffalo Hill
第2話 うるわしのロゼリア
Chapter 2 Rosaria the Beautiful
第2話 うるわしのロゼリア
Chapter 2 Rosaria the Beautiful
第3話 ほうきにのったネコ
Chapter 3 The Cat on the Broomstick
第3話 ほうきにのったネコ
Chapter 3 The Cat on the Broomstick
第4話 くろい雨と白い羽
Chapter 4 Black Rain and White Feather
第4話 ひとりぼっちのユニコ
Chapter 4 Unico and Solitude
第5話 ふるさとをたずねて
Chapter 5 A Hometown Visit
第5話 一夜だけの舞踏会
Chapter 5 One-Night-Only Ball
第6話 アゼンスの牙の物語
Chapter 6 The Tale of the Fangs of Athens
第6話 ふるさとをたずねて
Chapter 6 A Hometown Visit
第7話 一夜だけの舞踏会
Chapter 7 One-Night-Only Ball
第7話 くろい雨と白い羽
Chapter 7 Black Rain and White Feather
第8話 ひとりぼっちのユニコ
Chapter 8 Unico and Solitude
第8話 アゼンスの牙の物語
Chapter 8 The Tale of the Fangs of Athens

After the third chapter, you can see how the older lineup changed from what they originally published in Lyrica magazine. Other publishers (Sony Magazine, Little More, etc) have kept the old chapter list until now, but will this end with the On-Demand collection? Guess we'll have to wait and see!

Further Reading:
- Manga - My Unico Fans
- Unico Manga (1976-1979) - My Unico Fans
- Shougaku Ichinensei Manga (1980-1984) - My Unico Fans
- The Excluded Chapters of Unico - My Unico Fans

Sources:
- Osamu Tezuka Complete Manga Works – Tezuka In English


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