Buddha by Osamu Tezuka in English Vol 1 - Kapilavastu - paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Tezuka, the master of Japanese comics, mixes his own characters with history as deftly as he transfers the most profound, complex emotions onto extremely cartoony characters, and his work defies easy categorization. In Buddha, originally serialized in the 1970s and one of his last works, he lavishly retells the life of Siddhartha, who isn't even born until page 268. Instead, Tezuka introduces Chapra, a slave who attempts to escape his fate by posing as the son of a general; Tatta, a crazed wild child pariah who communes with animals; Chapra's slave mother, who stands by him no matter what; and Naradatta, a monk attempting to discover the meaning of strange portents of the Buddha's birth. Throughout the book, the characters engage in fresh and unexpected adventures, escapes and reverses, as they play out Tezuka's philosophical concern with overcoming fate and the uselessness of violence. Despite episodes of extreme brutality and broad humor, the core of the story revolves around various set pieces, as when Tatta sacrifices himself to a snake to save Naradatta and Chapra's mom. After a moment of intense emotion, the scene is upended by the arrival of a bandit who mocks their attempts at keeping their karmic slates clean. "Why were you all fussing over some stupid trade? Why not just kill the snake and eat it?" The answer unfolds over succeeding volumes. Heavily influenced by Walt Disney, Tezuka's often cute characters may take some getting used to, but his storytelling is strong and clean. Appearing in handsome packages designed by Chip Kidd, this is a stunning achievement.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
108961 ISBN-10: 193223456X
| Categories: Children's Books, Manga (Japanese)
| Supporting language: English
Platforms/media types: Printed Matter
# Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 6 x 1.3 inches
# Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
| Our family read this book and it's companion, The Four Encounters, cover-to-cover, just about non-stop. They were both totally engaging.
As a Buddhist, I was wondering what this treatment of the Buddha's life would be like. This is my first exposure to manga style. My only reference point is comic books. I had enjoyed another "comic book," illustrated treatment of the life of a Buddhist saint, Milarepa. That was well done. I very much wanted a book that would capture the interest of my two children, 10 and 14 years old. It did. My 14 year old read the book in two days. My 10 year old and I read it aloud together.
What is facinating is the way the author creates the historical context using a mixture of historical figures and people of his own imagination. We are given an insight to the caste system of ancient India and the stage is set for the Buddha's questions about suffering, it's origins, and his strong desire to put an end to suffering.
I'd say that this is appropriate for 9 year olds and up. For adults: my wife and I kept reading ahead. It is captivating. It has the air of an adventure story. I also enjoyed explaining and discussing the context of the story with my children.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.