Wandering the packed tunnels of Shinjuku Station, famous author Yosuke Mikura makes a strange discovery: a ragged hippie who can quote French poetry. Her name is Barbara. He takes her home for a bath and a drink, and before long Barbara has made herself into Mikura’s shadow, saving him from egotistical delusions and jealous enemies.
But just as Mikura is no saint, Barbara is no guardian angel, and Mikura grows obsessed with discovering her secrets—tangling with thugs, sadists, magical curses, and mythical beings—all the while wondering whether he himself is still sane.
Written in 1973 and 1974 and inspired by the classic opera Tales of Hoffman by Jacques Offenbach, Barbara may be Tezuka’s most psychological and unsettling work, shattering the fine line between art and madness with masterful precision.