Osamu Tezuka's BUDDHA (volumes 1-8)
Review by Dennis D. McDonald
My knowledge of Buddhism and the Buddha is minimal. I approached this 8-volume manga series purely out of curiosity when I saw it sitting on the shelf in the graphic novels section of the Alexandria Public Library.
I’ve now read all 8 volumes. I’m overwhelmingly impressed with the scope, humor, drama, variety, and virtuosic artistry of this massive project.
We follow the Buddha from his childhood through his death. Along the way real and invented characters and spirits populate the tale as we follow a gritty and human story involving a very personal quest that, over time, evolves to influnce the lives of thousands.
The author inserts quirky comments and humor periodically but we never lose sight of the significance of the Buddha’s life. There is really very little philosophy here. We get snippets of moral teachings here and there, but the focus is on the people and their very human foibles — and evils — as we constantly move around the mountainous areas and city-states of ancient India.
Definitely worth the time to read and savor both the story and the pictures.
Review copyright (c) 2010 by Dennis D. McDonald