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Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu Paperback – May 2, 2006

Book 1 of 8 in the Buddha Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Vertical; 1st edition (May 2, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193223456X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932234565
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,272 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tezuka, the master of Japanese comics, mixes his own characters with history as deftly as he transfers the most profound, complex emotions onto extremely cartoony characters, and his work defies easy categorization. In Buddha, originally serialized in the 1970s and one of his last works, he lavishly retells the life of Siddhartha, who isn't even born until page 268. Instead, Tezuka introduces Chapra, a slave who attempts to escape his fate by posing as the son of a general; Tatta, a crazed wild child pariah who communes with animals; Chapra's slave mother, who stands by him no matter what; and Naradatta, a monk attempting to discover the meaning of strange portents of the Buddha's birth. Throughout the book, the characters engage in fresh and unexpected adventures, escapes and reverses, as they play out Tezuka's philosophical concern with overcoming fate and the uselessness of violence. Despite episodes of extreme brutality and broad humor, the core of the story revolves around various set pieces, as when Tatta sacrifices himself to a snake to save Naradatta and Chapra's mom. After a moment of intense emotion, the scene is upended by the arrival of a bandit who mocks their attempts at keeping their karmic slates clean. "Why were you all fussing over some stupid trade? Why not just kill the snake and eat it?" The answer unfolds over succeeding volumes. Heavily influenced by Walt Disney, Tezuka's often cute characters may take some getting used to, but his storytelling is strong and clean. Appearing in handsome packages designed by Chip Kidd, this is a stunning achievement.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Infused with humor and history, the epic of Siddhartha is perhaps Osamu Tezuka's crowning acheivement and illustrates why, without irony, Tezuka is referred to as 'The King of Japanese Comics'." - LA Weekly"Buddha is one of Tezuka's true masterpieces. We're lucky to have this excellent new edition in English." - Scott McCloud, author of Understanding Comics"In handsome volumes designed by Chip Kidd, the Vertical books present Tezuka at his best." - National Post

"Buddha is an engrossing tale. The armchair philosopher, the devout Buddhist, the casual manga fan - this book satisfies all with its tale of humanism through sequential art, and definitely earns its place on a bibliophile's bookshelf." -Anime Insider"This is one of the greatest acheivements of the comics medium, a masterpiece by one of the greats.""In Tezuka's world, the exquisite collapses into the goofy in a New York minute, the goofy into the melodramatic, the melodramatic into the brutal, and the brutal into the sincerely touching. The suprising result is a work wholly unique and downright fun." -Time Out NY"Tezuka's Buddha is a striking and memorable confluence of ancient wisdom and contemporary popular art." -Yoga Journal

Customer Reviews

My 14 year old read the book in two days.
Keith M. Ela
I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story, Buddhism, manga, nice artwork, or just wants to read some good life lessons.
allen murphy
Also, I thought the use of words within the drawings, like Kerplunk, etc, were very well done.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Keith M. Ela on December 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Our family read this book and it's companion, The Four Encounters, cover-to-cover, just about non-stop. They were both totally engaging.
As a Buddhist, I was wondering what this treatment of the Buddha's life would be like. This is my first exposure to manga style. My only reference point is comic books. I had enjoyed another "comic book," illustrated treatment of the life of a Buddhist saint, Milarepa. That was well done. I very much wanted a book that would capture the interest of my two children, 10 and 14 years old. It did. My 14 year old read the book in two days. My 10 year old and I read it aloud together.
What is facinating is the way the author creates the historical context using a mixture of historical figures and people of his own imagination. We are given an insight to the caste system of ancient India and the stage is set for the Buddha's questions about suffering, it's origins, and his strong desire to put an end to suffering.
I'd say that this is appropriate for 9 year olds and up. For adults: my wife and I kept reading ahead. It is captivating. It has the air of an adventure story. I also enjoyed explaining and discussing the context of the story with my children.
Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Schumacher on October 24, 2003
Format: Hardcover
PRESENTATION: Top notch, the single most gorgeous manga I currently own. I paid the same price for this that I did for Viz's release of Phoenix: Future, and this is by far a better deal. The cover is durable and is likely to last many years. The paper is heavy stock, meaning it doesn't tear easily and isn't nearly as transparent. The inks are also the darkest I've ever seen in an American manga, making it much closer to what you'd expect from Japanese manga. It's left-to-right reading order, but I don't mind. This book was obviously intended for people who are new to manga, and probably will have no interest in pursuing the genre any deeper.
The only thing that I'm less than thrilled with is the 1/4-sized dust-jacket. I mean, what the heck is that for? A way to make it look colorful on the store shelves?
WRITING: I can't say anything about the translation, as I haven't
even seen an issue of the original, much less read it. However, the writing, in terms of construction, word-choice and grammar, is superb.
Whoever this unnamed translator is, they're my new favorite, replacing Gerard Jones. The writing, as in story, character, pacing, et cetera, is superb. Although part of the plot reminds me a bit too much of Hinotori: Dawn. A few issues later are we going to have one of the character decide they want to be the best sculptor in the world? :)
Also, the story is split up into chapters (I assume linked to how they were originally published), something which was sorely missed in the Hinotori series, which made each volume one long story.
Some people are going to have trouble with the humor, and are
naturally going to assume the translator inserted them, never having read any Tezuka before.
Read more ›
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Terry A. Donaghe on July 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a fan of Tezuka's since I watched the Metropolis re-make a couple of years ago. I had previously tried to get into reading Atom Boy, but it just never clicked with me.
Recently, I got the manga bug and started looking around for stuff to read. Unfortunately, most of the stuff out there is for girls or teenage boys. I did, however, stumble across Tezuka's Buddha, and I'm really glad that I did.
I just finished it this morning at lunch. The artwork is impressive, and the way that Tezuka can convey so much story mainly through the use of pictures is amazing. This book is both light-hearted and dead serious at the same time. The ending is a pretty big surprise and I'm really looking forward to reading the next volume.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Sweet without descending into schmaltzy sentimentalism, Tezuka's Buddha series is a treasure for our time. The plot weaves together the stories of many characters, just as Tezuka weaves together the old mythology with some modern philosophical concerns, the serious ancient philosophy with occasional modern jokes and gags.
The book would have been perfect for readers of all ages were it not for the occasional use of profanity (as magnifiers) and minor cartoon nudity (nothing obscene), to which some parents won't want to expose their young children. Parents should be mindful and prudent.
I hope that other religious traditions will be inspired to produce comics and graphic novels of similar quality.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Pinoco on January 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
One of the rare advantage I've lived in Japan is that I 've read this series including the conclusion many years ago. As a huge fan of Tezuka, Buddha ranks 1 or 2 to me among all of his works.I meant 5 star, not only for this volume but as an entire work. In the middle of this long story, sometimes I felt I couldn't get anywhere, just like Buddha himself must have felt in his journey, which is so real in the sense that you might not get an answer for the questions in life for a long time or maybe never. This is highly entertaining fiction based on the historical events.

I'm not a big manga fan. Manga(comic) was considered pretty bad thing when I was a kid in school and at home. Work and study was the only virtue in Japanese society, many children were forced to study in every awaking hours and didn't have a place to breathe. Sometimes it was the only place I could laugh. (Japanese people don't joke, largely saying) So please understand if you see some silly jokes here and there, that was meant for people who couldn't laugh in their every day life. Besides I love it when it breaks the ice in dead serious situation.

Some people point out about his cartoon-like style. Although more graphical effects and details seem to be being cultivated these days, I like his style of simplicity or "less is more". With only a few line he can express people who is upset, embarassed, irritated, humiliated, devasted and so on. I admire that. But check out his other big hit "Black Jack" for its detail image especially for the surgical scene.

Tezuka is far beyond a cartoonist but a great writer. He was also a humanitarian who loved and tried to save the earth, animals, plants and all the living beings in the nature.
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More About the Author

Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, who authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.

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Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu
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