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Zenith: How Gengoroh Tagame Changed the World of Gay Manga Forever

Zenith: The English Translation of Gengoroh Tagame's Epic Gay Manga Saga

Zenith is a gay manga series by Gengoroh Tagame, one of the most influential and acclaimed artists in the genre. It was originally published in Japan from 1999 to 2001, and it was translated into English by Anne Ishii and Graham Kolbeins in 2014. Zenith is a masterpiece of gay manga that combines a thrilling sci-fi story, stunning artwork, graphic sex scenes, and profound social commentary. In this article, we will explore the plot, the art, the reception, and the significance of Zenith, as well as answer some common questions about this epic saga.

Zenith English Gengoroh Tagame Added By 17


The Plot of Zenith

Zenith is set in a dystopian future where a totalitarian regime called the New World Order (NWO) rules over humanity with an iron fist. The NWO enforces strict laws that oppress and persecute anyone who deviates from their norms, especially gay men. The NWO also conducts cruel experiments on gay men, turning them into mindless sex slaves called "Zeniths".

The main protagonist of Zenith is Shunpei Iba, a young gay man who lives in hiding with his lover, Yuuki. One day, they are captured by the NWO and taken to a secret facility where they are separated and tortured. Shunpei is injected with a drug that transforms him into a Zenith, while Yuuki is forced to watch his lover's degradation. However, Shunpei manages to retain some of his consciousness and escapes from the facility with Yuuki.

On the run from the NWO, Shunpei and Yuuki encounter a group of rebels who are fighting against the regime. They join forces with them and learn more about the origins and the secrets of the NWO and the Zeniths. They also meet other characters who have their own stories and motivations, such as Ryoji, a former NWO soldier who defects to the rebels; Koji, a young boy who idolizes Shunpei; Hiroshi, a mysterious man who claims to be Shunpei's father; and Masato, a ruthless NWO leader who has a personal vendetta against Shunpei.

The plot of Zenith is full of twists and turns that keep the reader hooked until the end. It explores themes such as love, freedom, identity, power, violence, betrayal, sacrifice, and redemption. It also challenges the stereotypes and prejudices that gay men face in society. It shows how gay men can be strong, brave, loyal, compassionate, heroic, and human.

The Art of Zenith

The art of Zenith is one of the most impressive aspects of the manga. Tagame's style is realistic, detailed, expressive, and dynamic. He draws his characters with distinctive features, emotions, and personalities. He also creates a vivid and immersive world that reflects his extensive research and imagination.

Zenith is not for the faint-hearted. It contains explicit scenes of sex and violence that may shock or disturb some readers. However, these scenes are not gratuitous or sensationalized. They serve a purpose in advancing the plot, developing the characters, or conveying a message. Tagame does not shy away from showing the brutality and the beauty of human nature, the horror and the ecstasy of love, and the pain and the pleasure of sex.

Zenith is also full of symbolism and metaphors that add depth and meaning to the story. For example, the Zeniths represent the dehumanization and the exploitation of gay men by a homophobic society. The NWO represents the oppressive and corrupt forces that try to control and destroy people's lives. The rebels represent the resistance and the hope for a better future. The drug that transforms Shunpei into a Zenith represents the loss and the recovery of his identity. The tattoo that Shunpei has on his chest represents his love for Yuuki and his defiance of the NWO.

The Reception of Zenith

Zenith is one of the most popular and controversial works by Tagame. It has received praise and criticism from fans and critics alike. It has also had a significant impact and legacy on gay manga and culture.

Zenith was a huge success in Japan, where it sold over 100,000 copies and won several awards. It was also translated into several languages, such as English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and Chinese. It introduced Tagame's work to a wider and more diverse audience, who appreciated his artistic talent, storytelling skills, and social awareness.

Zenith was also met with some controversy and backlash, especially from conservative groups who denounced it as obscene, immoral, or illegal. Some countries banned or censored Zenith, while some bookstores refused to sell or display it. Some readers also found Zenith too graphic, violent, or depressing for their taste. Some critics also accused Tagame of glorifying or fetishizing rape, torture, or abuse.

Zenith has influenced many other gay manga artists who admire Tagame's style and vision. It has also inspired many gay men who identify with Shunpei's struggle and courage. It has raised awareness and sparked discussion about the issues that gay men face in society, such as discrimination, violence, stigma, or isolation. It has also celebrated the diversity and the beauty of gay sexuality, love, and culture.

The Conclusion

Zenith is a masterpiece of gay manga that deserves to be read and appreciated by anyone who enjoys a good story, stunning art, or meaningful message. It is a thrilling sci-fi saga that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride. It is a powerful social commentary that challenges the reader to think critically and empathetically. It is a passionate love story that touches the reader's heart and soul.

If you are looking for a manga that will entertain you, enlighten you, and move you, look no further than Zenith. You will not regret it.


Here are some frequently asked questions about Zenith and their answers:

  • Where can I read or buy Zenith?

You can read Zenith online for free on, or you can buy the English translation by Anne Ishii and Graham Kolbeins on Amazon or other online bookstores.

  • How many chapters or volumes does Zenith have?

Zenith has 16 chapters in total, which are collected in two volumes.

  • Is Zenith based on a true story or a real person?

No, Zenith is a fictional story created by Gengoroh Tagame. However, it may reflect some of his personal experiences or opinions as a gay man living in Japan.

  • Is Zenith related to any other works by Gengoroh Tagame?

No, Zenith is a standalone work by Gengoroh Tagame. However, some of his other works may share some similarities or themes with Zenith, such as Pride (a historical drama about gay samurai), Endless Game (a thriller about a kidnapped businessman), or My Brother's Husband (a family drama about a widowed father).

  • What is the meaning of the title "Zenith"?

The title "Zenith" has multiple meanings in the context of the manga. It can refer to the name of the sex slaves created by the NWO; it can refer to the peak or the climax of something; it can refer to the highest point in the sky; or it can refer to an old brand of radios or TVs.



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