A Manga Masterpiece: Osama Tezuka’s ‘Buddha’
I stumbled upon ‘Buddha’, Osamu Tezuka’s lavish manga retelling of the life of the Buddha, while on an internet trawl for graphic novels. At the time, the name Osamu Tezuka didn’t ring any bells, but after a bit of digging, I discovered that I’d come across his work many times. Tezuka is an artist, writer and animator, and is highly respected worldwide for his manga, and has been called the ‘Walt Disney of Japan’. He has produced over 170,000 pages of comic art in 700 different manga titles, as well as working on more than 70 animated films.
I tend to try and resist buying manga as I don’t have the commitment, finances or space to collect 50 plus volumes of a single story. However, ‘Buddha‘ is not only considered a masterpiece, but is an eight volume affair, so won’t take up too much shelf-space, and the books can be bought secondhand for a reasonable amount. I’ve now read the first two volumes ‘Kapilavastu‘ and ‘The Four Encounters‘ and have enjoyed them immensely. There are some kooky characters to counter the more serious life story of Siddhartha, and the illustrations are vibrant and dynamic. It’s a fun way to fill in the gaps in my knowledge of the birth of Buddhism, as well as an engaging read, full of wonderful illustration, high drama and slapstick comedy. I’ve heard there’s also an animated film version which I’m desperate to see, but I’ll work my way through the books first – if I can hold out that long!