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Buddha: v. 1: Kapilavastu [Hardcover]

Osama Tezuka
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Nov 2003 Buddha (Book 1)
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.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical Inc.; 1st American Ed edition (1 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932234438
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932234435
  • Product Dimensions: 3.4 x 15.2 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 808,448 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


./'A stunning achievement.' Publishers Weekly

‘If you’ve never tried something like this before, check it out; it’s fascinating stuff. An engrossing read that you’ll get through in no time. And then you’ll want the other seven instalments.’

‘If it weren’t for [Tekuza] and his ripping religious yarns, we wouldn’t have had Akira.’

‘You simply won’t find anyhting else quite touches Tezuka’s innovative use of the manga format, his humour, his intuitive understanding of human nature and his sympathy for the main characters.’
Neo [the UK’s number one manga magazine]

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

All Life is sacred…

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful manga 13 Mar 2006
Was lucky enough to pick up an early review copy of this paperback (and found it much nicer to carry around that the bulkier hardbacks). Far from being an expert, I found this a real cinematic experience and a joy to read. The artwork conveys the drama perfectly - stunningly serene in places and frantically alive in others as Tezuka prove how he came to so revered in this field. And the retelling of Buddha's story had me giggling, welling-up, thinking and completely absorbed in the legend. Anyone who loves anime, philosophy, history and smiling in general will love it and crave the next instalment.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By Helyx
It took me some time to get used to the Japanese sense of humor in this telling of Buddha and his life. At times it is downright awkward when a character from one of Ozamu Tezukas previous works pops up in the tale, or different characters from other eras of history. Once in awhile his own character will walk into the story, as if he were taking a break from drawing to comment as if he were having a conversation with you.

I am puzzled about this translation as well. I feel it leaves out much of the beauty within the Japanese language. I am sure Ozamu Tezuka did not write this coarse. I have other Ozamu Tezuka texts to compare with - and many times I felt there were words and thoughts missing. What helps out is that you are pleasantly distracted by the drawings when you hit the rough spots, where the dialogue doesn't exactly match the images.

I have read many Buddhist texts and if you wanted a basic understanding of some principles of the belief system - then Ozamu Tezuka does hand you some of these precious gems within his unique gift of visual communication. I loved how he did not hide the issues of the real world but used many of obstacles people face in a context that a modern reader could relate to.

I appreciated how Ozamu Tezuka treated Animal life as a part of our life. This was hard at times to deal with. If the death of Bambi's Mother upset you when you were a kid - then expect to be upset again. In this tale you get a harsher take on Animal self-sacrifice; it is hard to accept but it is another way to think about life and death.

There are moments in this graphic novel series where it did give me a chance to just appreciate life. Ozamu Tezuka was a perceptive writer ahead of his time.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars History in manga! 3 Nov 2004
'Buddha' is the story of the Buddha's life, from birth to death, all drawn by Osamu Tetsuka who is more famous for manga such as 'Astroboy' and 'Blackjack'. Although by today's standards, Tetsuka's artstyle seems very simple and a little dated, 'Buddha' is still a stunning and moving story which clearly illustrates the class struggles of India at the time. In this first volume, the Buddha is born and other character created by Tetsuka are introduced in a separate storyline. There is a priest sent to find a being born with supernatural powers, a young pariah thief named Tatta, a slaveboy called Chappa who aims to break out of his class and become a soldier. The story is very long and moving, with lots of interesting characters appearing along the way. If you are a fan of manga, or interested in Buddhism, I would strongly advise you to read this. I will certainly be buying the next volume XD
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enlightened storytelling 8 Jan 2013
By Sam Quixote TOP 50 REVIEWER
I admit I'm not the most enlightened (rim shot - thank you!) guy when it comes to Buddhism, or religion in general for that matter, in knowing its origins, tenets, and so on. But I do have a rudimentary understanding of Buddhism and the Buddha having read Hermann Hesse's "Siddhartha" a few years ago, and because of osmosis through pop culture. Buddhists believe all life is sacred, something about existence being suffering, and reincarnation, with the Buddha as an enlightened chap who figured out everything while sat under a special tree and now lives in space.

I thought reading a book, or the first volume anyway of a series, celebrating and informing readers of the life of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, would leave me somewhat more knowledgeable about the guy and the religion. It turns out that "Volume 1: Kapilavastu", has surprisingly very little to do with the Buddha, with a brief segment of its 400 pages dedicated to the Buddha's birth before turning focus back to the main story...

... which is about a young slave call Chapra who is determined to overcome the caste system into which he was born and become a nobleman. Accompanying Chapra is a kind of wild child called Tatta who doesn't wear clothes and has a weird superpower which enables him to transfer his consciousness into any animal he wishes. There's also a monk called Narradatta who is looking for the "Chosen One" and we see the tenets of Buddhism being formed by his master, the wise saint Asita.

The other big surprise in this book is how nutty the tone of the story is. I expected it to be somber and reverential but Osamu Tezuka isn't afraid to throw in slapstick humour or fantastical flights of fancy, or include action fight sequences.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hardcover Paperback Skillful Means 22 Jan 2012
A few details that I feel other reviews have not covered:

The hardcovers, published by Vertical, when put together on the bookshelf, combine spines to create a really cool image of the Buddha as a young man, as a middle aged man and then as an old man. Inside, the paper is bright and this means that the drawings are pleasing to the eye and easy to read. They have a wrap-around dust jacket that is made to cover only the bottom section of the book. I find these dust jackets extremely irritating, like the publishers couldn't make up their mind.

The paperbacks published by Vertical have the word BUDDHA on the spines in different colours but do not create a composite picture of the Buddha.

The paperbacks published by Harper Collins do create a composite image of the 'three Buddhas' but it does not look as elegant as the one on the hardcovers. Inside, the paper is a little dull (printed on cheaper paper than the hardcovers), but they are fit for purpose.

As a person who is interested in Buddhism, I found this series to be a lovely example of what Buddhists call 'skillful means'. Yes, the story is strongly embellished with Tezuka's own characters and humour, but to say that you learn nothing about Buddhism is simply wrong. In fact, everything in the story lends itself subtly to the explanation of core Buddhist ideas. Tezuka was obviously aiming at the spirit and not the letter of Buddhism and by doing so brings it alive, relating it (despite the many fantastical feats in the storyline) to real human experience.
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