Osamu Tezuka is known as the God of Manga in Japan, and for good reason. The creator of classics such as Astro Boy, Phoenix, Kimba the White Lion and Black Jack, his works and characters are respected all over the world.

So, when Japanese video game developer Compile Heart announced it was working with Tezuka Productions and Sony's ForwardWorks on a smartphone game which took Osamu Tezuka's beloved characters and turned them into bishojo style cute girls, Japanese Twitter users were quick to react, not all of them favorably.

© PR Times, Inc. / © Tezuka Productions / © ForwardWorks Corp. / © Compile Heart Inc.

Eshigami no Kizuna 絵師神の絆 (The Bonds of the Illustrators' Gods), slated for a 2019 release, imagines a world in which illustrators "borrow the power of gods to fight their deadlines." See their promotional video below:

The game features an impressive voice acting cast, with Kaori Ishihara as Phoenix, Rie Kugimiya as Atom (Astro Boy) and Nao Toyama as Black Jack, as well as the theme song "Creation x Creation" by Kaori Ishihara.

© PR Times, Inc. / © Tezuka Productions / © ForwardWorks Corp. / © Compile Heart Inc.

© PR Times, Inc. / © Tezuka Productions / © ForwardWorks Corp. / © Compile Heart Inc.

© PR Times, Inc. / © Tezuka Productions / © ForwardWorks Corp. / © Compile Heart Inc.

More information is available at the official website (Japanese only).

Japanese Twitter Users React

Many of the more critical users addressed what they perceived to be the egregious (even blasphemous) error of removing Black Jack's signature scars from his bishojo version. Others complained about the quality of the illustrations they saw and yet others were opposed to what they considered as taking too many liberties with the respected manga pioneer's characters.

I don't know what Osamu Tezuka Sensei would think if he were alive but speaking as someone who loves his works, I can't forgive them for turning Sensei's creations into bishojo characters with a quality that shows so little love for the original manga. If you're going to do that, do it perfectly. In fact, I think Tezuka Sensei himself would do a much better job drawing cute characters."

"From the moment they erased the scars on bishojo Black Jack's face, you could tell they understand neither Osamu Tezuka's works nor the psychology of moe."

"Turning Osamu Tezuka's characters into a bishojo game is so awful. Actually, just turning them into bishojo is fine but they shouldn't reject the elements of the original works. Kancolle and such works featuring anthropomorphic characters have gained fans because they incorporate the original designs, settings, historical episodes, etc., but when that's not done right, it only makes fans angry."

Without directly criticizing the game, other users pointed out that Tezuka was already a master of drawing bishojo characters.

"I think 'bishojo characters within Tezuka's works' seem far cuter to me than 'bishojo versions of Tezuka characters'."

"When it comes to bishojo versions of Tezuka characters, if Osamu Tezuka were still alive, he'd probably say: "I can do that too," and make a manga with bishojo versions of his own characters better than anyone can..."

Not all opinions were against the game, with some users rejecting the critiques and expressing positive reactions.

"I wrote about this yesterday too but this may be just like Shinken! [a line defense type game from DMM featuring anthropomorphized swords as girls (2015-2017)] in being 'a story about girls who have inherited the characters' aspects and powers.' The fact that 'Black Jack girl' has no scars on her face may be due to the fact that she's actually not Black Jack at all. So, maybe you should wait for more information to come out before criticizing."

"I hope turning his characters into bishojo will create new opportunities for people to discover Tezuka Osamu's works."

"All of you guys who were having fun taking Bowzer and every Mario character under the sun and turning them into Princess Peaches, now you're complaining about a bishojo project officially authorized by Tezuka Productions? I'm laughing my head off!"

By - Ben K.