Ayako is another massive – over 700 pages – work from Tezuka's fertile late '60 early '70s period that includes Ode to Kirihito, MW and Apollo's Song (all excellent graphic novels also introduced to US readers by Vertical Publications over the last few years). It is an ambitious epic spanning the quarter century following Japan's defeat in the Second World War. This work contains many mature themes and employs sexual behaviors – including rape – as metaphors in making points about the psychology of post-war Japan. It's certainly humbling to read these Tezuka epics that were produced long before the term "graphic novel" had even been conceived of in the west. Here are two in-depth reviews from The Comics Journal and Mangacritic that interested readers will find worth their while.