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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our family read it non-stop, cover to cover
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...
Published on December 26, 2003 by Keith M. Ela

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I really did want to like this series ...
... and I was certainly entertained by it, for the most part. But the endless fight scenes, involving Tezuka's invented characters (such as Tatta) get very dull. The cute cartoon jokes (cameos by Tezuka, references to Western cartoons etc.) for me undermined the effort of immersing myself in his world. But what *really* bothered me was his depiction of the Buddha's...
Published 20 months ago by RDG


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81 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Our family read it non-stop, cover to cover, December 26, 2003
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
5.0 out of 5 stars My two cents..., October 24, 2003
By 
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. It also occurred to me that only the really great writers are the ones who even attempt to play with anachronism like this. The only other people besides Tezuka I can think of who do this sort of thing well are Shakespeare and Chaucer. (Well, aside from Disney animated features as of late).
Buddha only manages to get himself born in this volume, so the plot centers around characters whose overall relevance we have to wonder about. Some character I thought were going to be very important to the story didn't survive the first volume. (Speaking of Buddha, I thought his pre-Enlightenment name was Gautama?)
ART: The usual Tezuka mixed bag. A bizarre mixture of natural artwork which wouldn't look out of place in the Louvre, and then you have something which looks like the work out of Carl Barks or Walt Disney (though, I might point out, having a far greater "freedom of space" than any western comic artist has yet managed to achieve).
There's quite a bit of nudity, as could be expected. Combined with the "Eastern spiritualism", it's enough to give the people at Focus On The Family a heart attack. Expect to see this book burned in the Bible Belt soon.
OVERALL: I'm not lying when I say this is the best single manga I've ever read. As much as I like Hinotori, it's always a big spotty for me, since I don't think I agree with what Tezuka is ultimately trying to say. This being an historical account and not the Buddhist equivalent of the Left Behind novels, I'm more apt to accept it on its own terms. Highly recommended for everyone, even and especially those who aren't fans of manga.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow - I was amazed!, July 8, 2004
By 
Terry A. Donaghe "TAD" (Phoenix, AZ United States) - See all my reviews
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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
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done!, April 19, 2004
By A Customer
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep reading, you won't regret it!, January 12, 2005
By 
Pinoco "searcher" (Massachusetts, USA) - See all my reviews
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Osamu Tezuka tells a spellbinding tale, April 3, 2004
By 
William Ang "whang80" (Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Malaysia) - See all my reviews
As a practising buddhist as well as a manga fanatic I was thrilled to see this volume from the grand master of japanese manga, Mr Tezuka.
The book's quality is impressive and stands out from other mangas, probably due to the weighty subject matter. The 1/4 dust jacket isn't really meant to be a dust jacket, most japanese manga and cds come with it I guess to splash some contrast as the cover is black and white.
Overall all I can say about the story is that Tezuka has taken the well-publicised and documented life of the buddha and made it his own. He is, above all a story teller and relating the life of the buddha as it really happened is a task for a historian, not a comic-book artist. Like Peter Jackson and his Lord of the Rings, Tezuka has done his research extensively, but added his own scenes and subtracted others to fit his vision.
In my opinion it shouldn't really be used as the definitive on the Buddha's life, but rather as an artist's interpretation, and a masterful one at that. A must for any Buddhist or anyone interested in Buddhism or anyone who just wants another point of view about life in feudal India.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and concrete introduction to the Buddha, February 23, 2007
By 
Greg (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (Paperback)
The Buddha series of graphic novels by Tezuka aims to explore the Buddha and his life and present the basic message of Buddhism in a way easily comprehensible to a modern audience. To this end, this series of novels is in my view outstandingly successful.

To a Westerner, approaching Buddhism as either a religion or as a philosophy is often difficult. Unlike Western philosophers, whose works are generally written down and presented in a fairly logical and systematic fashion, or the holy scriptures of the Judeo-Christian Bible, the works of Buddhist literature and philosophy are vast and often unsystematic, at least to the Western mind, and diffused across a very wide and diverse range of different schools, from Thai Theravada Buddhism to Chinese Dzochen and Tibetan Buddhism to Japanese Zen Buddhism.

This set of graphic novels aims to place the Buddha in a concrete historical context, and narrates the life of Siddhartha Guatama from his childhood to his enlightenment experience to his mature years of teaching and preaching Buddhism to his death.

Throughout the story of the Budda's life, Tezuka introduces many fascinating and interesting characters that the Buddha meets, including bandits, prostitutes, slave girls, members of the royal court, nobles and priests, warriors, philosophers and sages, Kings and Queens, and ordinary people living painful lives of suffering, hardship, and injustice. Into this chaotic world Buddha's message of peace, compassion and liberation from the state of suffering are introducted, along with his often difficult life which involved many painful and agonising personal choices on the road to enlightenment.

This book would be valuable reading to anyone studying Buddhism or interested in this great world religion, and would also be a useful text for religious education classes, particuarly those in high school and for younger readers, who will delight in the colour and humour of many of the stories and characters. But for adults, this series also offers a refreshing perspective on the profound philosophy of the Buddha and its beauty in the face of a world which seems to often be indifferent and full of agonising suffering and injustice, until it is transfigured from within through compassion and kindness to all beings that exist in the universe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional storytelling in the Tezuka style, December 7, 2009
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This review is from: Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (Paperback)
Many people are most familiar with Tezuka through his 1960's anime TV shows, Astro Boy or Kimba, the White Lion as those are the works that received the widest world distribution. Those shows were inventive with strong references to Disney but also a jarring sense of anarchy. Many of Tezuka's manga stories are the same plus he frequently breaks the fourth wall especially during scenes of high drama with goofy comic slapstick or having his characters tear up the comic panels to express rage. What I found amazing was that unlike others authors Tezuka didn't feel that he needed to change his style when tackling the story of Buddha and this takes some getting used to. In later volumes Tezuka actually puts himself into the story questioning the liberties he's taking.

After I got past the anachronisms (characters referring to modern products) and the attempts to use modern idiom (example: the use of the phrase "my peeps"), it was hard to put the book down. In fact I read a volume a day. Tezuka draws the way he feels like and that means that the characters range from classic semi-realistic manga to Japanese comic style to pure Disney (especially the crocodiles) all against realistically drawn backgrounds. The female characters are almost always drawn half-naked, just like Indian sculpture and paintings from that period. It may be a little hard for the Western senses to have semi-naked women involved with serious religious discussion but that's our problem not the story. The dialog is in the percussive manga style but the ideas of Buddhism are there and you can follow the road of Buddha's conflicts as he reaches his final philosophy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I liked this entire series, a fresh view of the life of the Buddha, July 3, 2006
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I am Buddhist, so I may have a biased opinion about this series. I honestly am not a big comic book/manga fan, but this series caught my interest. I ended up buying the whole 8 book series and very much enjoyed reading them. These books are not for young children, as there is definitely adult themes, language and drawings of violence and sex in them. These books are not for people looking for serious Buddhist dialogue either, but they are fun and a new and interesting way to view the life of the Buddha. I originally got them for myself and will keep them to share with my children when they get in the mid to late teens. They are worth a read and I recommend them to all interested in the Buddha's life, but from a fresh and not so serious point of view.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful medley of the sacred and the humorous, July 23, 2004
By 
Jack "Painter" (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
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I was blown away by the illustrations in this book when I began to read it. Also, I thought the use of words within the drawings, like Kerplunk, etc, were very well done. I still can't completely reconcile the beautifully rendered background to the simplistic cartoony figures... but I know it comes out of Disney, which came out of Windsor Mccay. The characters are introduced beautifully, and I still havent read beyond this volume so I am curious what will transpire in the pages ahead.

It is clear that Tezuka has been doing this for a long time. His pacing is believable and his facial expressions are convincing. Any critique of the work or the artist can only come from personal tastes. My tastes give this four stars out of five because I'm judging it against all literature I've read. It gets five stars in an arena with just other comics. If nothing else, it was highly ambitious for Tezuka to follow through with this daunting epic.
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Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu
Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka (Paperback - May 2, 2006)
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