1, Kapilavastu

Book - 2003
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Osamu Tezuka's vaunted storytelling genius, consummate skill at visual expression, and warm humanity blossom fully in his eight-volume epic of Siddhartha's life and times. Tezuka evidences his profound grasp of the subject by contextualizing the Buddha's ideas; the emphasis is on movement, action, emotion, and conflict as the prince Siddhartha runs away from home, travels across India, and questions Hindu practices such as ascetic self-mutilation and caste oppression. Rather than recommend resignation and impassivity, Tezuka's Buddha predicates enlightenment upon recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering one's life sensibly. Philosophical segments are threaded into interpersonal situations with ground-breaking visual dynamism by an artist who makes sure never to lose his readers' attention.

Tezuka himself was a humanist rather than a Buddhist, and his magnum opus is not an attempt at propaganda. Hermann Hesse's novel or Bertolucci's film is comparable in this regard; in fact, Tezuka's approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humor.
Alternative Title: Kapilavastu
Publisher: New York : Vertical, Inc., c2003.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9781932234565
Branch Call Number: Graphic Fic
Characteristics: 400 p. : chiefly ill., map ; 21 cm.


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Apr 14, 2014

This series is about the life of Buddha, yet this volume merely mentions the birth of Siddhartha over a couple of pages. The rest of the volume is about a slave child, Chapra, and his attempt to rise above his station to become a nobleman; a pariah child, Tatta, with mysterious powers; a disciple of a prophet, Narradatta, who is sent out into the world to look for "the chosen one".
The graphics are interesting and well done. The author even puts in a cameo appearance in a few frames, which was an interesting spin. Some minor characters with such exaggerated features that they appear cartoonish (even in the scope of a graphic, cartoony book).
Volume 1 sets the scene of culture, belief, caste. It's Buddha's starting point; the things that will start him thinking.
There's humour, action fight scenes, conflict, mystical happenings. It's quite a blend of an ancient story with modern elements.
Oh, and the women......they all look the same. Slave or princess or anything in between, they are all dark haired, slim (even the 6-month pregnant princess is slim.....as she is on the day she gives birth).

An amusing, interesting beginning to Buddha's life story.

PrinceBishop Feb 10, 2012

A highly recommended work by Osamu Tezuka, known as the God of Manga. According to the review in "Manga: The Complete Guide", Tezuka "...spices up the story of Prince Siddhartha's journey toward enlightenment with heaping doses of action, intrigue, and even slapstick comedy. Tezuka faithfully follows the outline of Buddhist dogma but...Western readers may be shocked or baffled by Tezuka's often irreverent take on his subject matter; it's hard to imagine a Christian comic about the life of Jesus featuring bloody fight scenes, anachronistic sight gags, and the occasional fart joke alongside transcendent depictions of religious enlightenment. But 'Buddha' has all these and more, and is ultimately both an engrossing, densely layered story and an inspiring exploration of faith."


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