Top positive review
A Great Introduction to Manga
on 6 March 2008
This book was mentioned in a recent newspaper article about Manga as being a good pace to start and having started there, I would have to agree. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I already knew the traditional story of Buddha and have read a few of the more popular western graphic novels; Tezuka's 'Buddha' is very different from both.
The bulk of this novel deals not with the Buddha, but with the story of the Pariah Natta and a slave boy Chapra. Embedded deep within the tale is the birth of Siddharta but this forms no more than 10% of the book's 300 odd pages. The story that Tezuka builds around it however, is an extension of a powerful Hindu fable; a fable which forms the prologue of this book. In essence 'Kapilavastu' is about the power of love and sacrifice over tyranny and greed.
The drawings in the book range from the incredibly detailed to the sparse and spartan and some are almost childlike in places. This helps focus the mind and eyes on the important panels, which are loaded with nuance and meaning. The text I found peculiar and entertaining; There are a number of twentieth century references and expressions used which jar slightly against such an ancient story but they are also amusing and this approach is justified.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the first of eight and look forward to reading the others in due course.