From the back cover:
As American B-29s mercilessly bombard the city of Kobe, childhood friends Adolf Kaufmann and Adolf Kamil are finally reunited. But their love for the same woman threatens to break the last tenuous thread of friendship between them.
While Hitler spends his final days in Berlin, far away in Japan, the fate of the documents revealing the secret of his heritage is sealed forever. Then, over a quarter of a century after D-Day, the two Adolfs cross paths again—this time in Israel—but the gulf between them has only widened with time. Will the once staunch childhood friends make peace with each other before it’s too late?
Against the backdrop of the final days of World War II, the suspenseful resolution of Adolf‘s various plots plays out. Adolf Kaufmann arrives in Japan to find that the very man he’s been sent to interrogate about treacherous documents is now married to his mother. What’s more, the Jewish girl he sent to safety in Japan is now engaged to his former best friend, Adolf Kamil. While American bombs terrorize the citizens of Kobe, Kaufmann destroys any last shred of sympathy we had for him as his convictions that Germany is always right transform into a maddened zeal to secure that which he believes he deserves, no matter what other people have to say about it.
The key word of my summary paragraph is “suspenseful,” because that’s chiefly what this volume is. There’s more emphasis on wrapping up the story than on the characters themselves and years pass in the blink of an eye, with the final scenes occurring in 1983. Increasing the scope in this way does, however, emphasize the difference between leaders and regular citizens. The terrified Japanese people had surrendered long before their government actually did, for example, while Kaufmann was unable to give up on the Nazi cause after Germany’s defeat. Those who had joined without qualm were the first to walk away, whereas he, who had struggled so hard to stifle his own beliefs and buy into the Jew-hating rhetoric, was left clinging to the Nazi ideals the most tightly. “I gave up everything for this,” he half-exults, half-laments, when he finally succeeds in locating the sought-after documents.
I do love that the documents, subject of so much pain and misery, finally come to light at a moment where they are utterly useless. So much effort has been expended on locating them and, in the end, they’re simply handed back to Toge because they’re not worth anything anymore. It was all futile and, in the end, I think Tezuka is making exactly that same point about war in general, and this war in particular.
I’d love to see Adolf reissued in a swanky new VIZ Signature format, perhaps split into two omnibus editions. It’s not hard to come by as it is, but it’s definitely an unforgettable manga that deserves to be back in print.