A Drifting Life is a graphic novel about a young, aspiring manga artist living in post WWII Japan. This is an autobiography of Yoshihiro Tatsumi which documents his struggles and success in his career of creating manga, and it also touches on his family situation, describing how his family struggled financially, his parents’s marriage was strained, and his sick older brother who had tuberculosis. I also thought the manga did an excellent job showing how the entertainment industry can squander creative notions, as Hiroshi dreamt up more and more ideas, he realized the industry had a constraint on those said ideas, and he never, once in the story got to do what he really wanted to, which is to draw very long works. Hiroshi’s brother, Okimasa was also an aspiring comic book artist, and when he submitted a work to a contest and won, Hiroshi became very jealous, and bounced back and forth between thinking he wasn’t good enough to draw manga, to not caring and drawing because he loved it, and by gathering inspiration from his idol, Osamu Tezuka. Then the tables turned and Hiroshi started garnering more attention and awards than Okimasa, and his brother grew very jealous and ended up ripping up his manuscript that he was going to submit. Their mother pleads that Hiroshi forgives Okimasa, but Hiroshi felt defeated, and started going to school and not pursing manga. One day Hiroshi is chased and beaten by bullies when his brother Okimasa came to the rescue and gouged the bullies in the eyes, showing that they are brothers, and they do love each other despite the competition between them. Eventually, Hiroshi decides to officially puruse a career in manga, and he and other young artists create their own Gekiga Workshop.
Visually, his style is on the more realistic spectrum as far as manga goes, and some of his splash pages and backgrounds can be insanely realistic. As you can see above in pg 63, he emulates the style of Osamu Tezuka, who is considered the “Walt Disney” of Japan.