7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Enlightened Manga with a Top Notch Graphic Design!,
This review is from: Buddha: v. 1: Kapilavastu (Hardcover)
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. I just thought this was a surprising take on Buddha and his life; not all of it historically accurate but Vertical does put a disclaimer in the book to this regard. It is a fictional way to covey some principles without becoming too much of a moralist tale. You can just enjoy reading it for light entertainment, or ponder the many ideas that are brought up within the story.
I thought this was one of the best Illustrated Graphic Novels I bought this year. I have the complete set of Hardbacks - Volumes 1 to 8. The sides of the volumes when lined up on the shelf show a combined black and white 3-face portrait of Buddha from different phases in his life. You can leave the color wraparound paper on the volumes and still see the portraits. The paperback editions do not have this, nor do they have the same covers as the hardbacks. The Black and White covers for the Hardback edition are stunning when you take the color paper wraparound off.
I recommend you get the first or second run printings. Vertigo put in these print runs a special end paper Graphic Print that is different for each volume. They are enlarged comic panels that tie-in with the story - with different graphic images for each the front and back piece of each Buddha book of the series. This makes the hardback editions a feast for the eyes. Personally I am glad Vertical Publishing took the time to create the style of the Buddha book series. This hardback series shows what a Manga could be like, if publishers made an effort to print the Artwork in a modern graphic style.