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Buddha, Volume 1: Kapilavastu

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Infused with humor and history, the epic of Siddhartha is perhaps Osamu Tezuka's crowning acheivement and illustrates why, without irony, Tezuka is referred to as 'The King of Japanese Comics'." -LA Weekly"Buddha is one of Tezuka's true masterpieces. We're lucky to have this excellent new edition in English." - Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics"In handsome volumes designed by Chip Kidd, the Vertical books present Tezuka at his best." - National Post

"Buddha is an engrossing tale. The armchair philosopher, the devout Buddhist, the casual manga fan - this book satisfies all with its tale of humanism through sequential art, and definitely earns its place on a bibliophile's bookshelf." -Anime Insider"This is one of the greatest acheivements of the comics medium, a masterpiece by one of the greats." -Artbomb.net"In Tezuka's world, the exquisite collapses into the goofy in a New York minute, the goofy into the melodramatic, the melodramatic into the brutal, and the brutal into the sincerely touching. The suprising result is a work wholly unique and downright fun." -Time Out NY"Tezuka's Buddha is a striking and memorable confluence of ancient wisdom and contemporary popular art." -Yoga Journal
Time Magazine
Filled with beauty, cruelty, drama, comedy, romance and violence, Osamu Tezuka's Buddha encompasses the entirety of life in a masterpiece of graphic literature. Deeply moral but never moralistic, Buddha merges the delight of cartooning with the epic seriousness of one of the great religions, becoming a thing wholly unto itself. Even if you can't achieve satori with Buddha, you can open up another world. — Andrew D. Arnold
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. (Oct. 2003) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
This excellent book begins an eight-volume hardcover presentation of one of manga master Tezuka's mature works: an epic historical fiction GN based on the life of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha. In this volume, Tezuka weaves the story of the Buddha's portentous birth with the stories of the slave Chapra, rising in the world but separated from his loving mother, and the pariah Tattva (even lower in the Indian caste system than a slave), who has the power to possess the bodies of animals. Any reader expecting a dry biography is in for a surprise: the story is full of action and laced with Tezuka's trademark goofy humor. Tezuka shares nuggets of Buddhist philosophy while also showing a more humanist compassion for the suffering and the downtrodden. Tezuka's figures are cartoony in the style familiar from Astro Boy, but he shows his range as an artist with the book's many realistic and detailed landscapes. There's a good deal of nudity here, all in non-titillating contexts. Appropriate for older teens but probably of more interest to adults; recommended for all collections. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932234565
  • Publisher: Vertical, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Series: Buddha Series , #1
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 278,263
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.95 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.15 (d)

Meet the Author

Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, when he authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Highly Recommended to the Buddhist learner

    Easy to read, and understand. I have read 7 others in this same series since I purchased and read this one and find Osamu Tezuka to be very educational and funny. If you are interested in learning and understanding Buddhism in a interesting and comical sense a must read.

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  • Posted May 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great book!

    I first found this book at a library while looking for anything that caught my eye, and wow what a book it turned out to be, the art alone is worth buying it, let alone the story, which is up there with the best of them.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2003

    best of the best

    This is seriously the best manga I've seen translated and published in American-English ever. It doesn't forget manga-master Tezuka, and the classic Japanese look he created, but the design is informed by the savvy American comix market. Also, as a part-time Buddhist =), I have to say that the messages in this book will resound well to others like me. I cannot wait for the next volumes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2003

    A classic of Japanese Manga and world literature!!!

    This book is an excellent semi-historical account of the Buddha's life by the legendary Osama Tezuka. I'm a bit biased since I've been a huge fan of his for over 30 years, but this work is excellent and I can NOT wait for the rest of this series to be printed in English (I've had it in Japanese for over 10 years and the translation is really helping me out !)

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