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Comic artist Usamaru Furuya’s adaptation of No Longer Human takes place nearly seventy years after Dazai’s original novel. Set in modern day Tokyo, Dazai’s tale details the life of a young man originally from a well-off family from Japan’s far north. Yozo Oba is a troubled soul incapable of revealing his true self to others. A weak constitution and the lingering trauma from some abuse administered by a relative forces him to uphold a facade of hollow jocularity since high school. The series is composed of three parts, referred to in the novel as “memorandums,” which chronicle the life of Oba from his teens to late twenties. The comic is narrated by Furuya himself playing the role originally held by the author Dazai, who makes appearances at the start of each volume. In many ways, it could be said that Furuya has traveled a path that may be similar to Dazai’s. Maybe that is what led these two together after 100 years.
In this final volume of No Longer Human, Yozo lulled into a sense of comfort with his new life and young wife, is completely destroyed when he finds out that the person he loves is even potentially worse off than he. Physically abused, his wife is little more than a doll for charming men, and instead of confronting her or even devising a threat for divorce, Yozo simply moves on. But moving forward towards nothingness is not progress. It can only be seen as the end. From here on out Yozo’s life is subhuman and when Furuya realizes that, he is glad he has the opportunity to work and live his life as he pleases (even with the pressures of work constantly lurking)