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Buddha, Vol. 3: Devadatta Paperback – September 5, 2006
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Considered the father of Japanese comics, Tezuka is best known in America for the robot cartoon character Astro Boy. His other works are gradually seeing Western light, however, the latest being this ambitious, eight-volume account of the life of Buddha, originally published in the 1970s. In the third volume (following Kapilavastu [tr. 2003] and The Four Encounters [tr. 2003]), young Prince Siddhartha abandons his kingdom and undergoes hardships on the road, accompanied by warrior-turned-monk Dhepa, who puts him through painful ordeals as he begins the search for enlightenment; and the pair meet the peculiar child Assaji, later one of Buddha's first disciples. Tezuka seamlessly combines characters from Buddhist lore with original creations, making moral points with skill and humor. His juxtaposition of broad comedy and often-violent drama, not to mention other manga conventions, may at first put off readers used to comics being either serious or funny, but his storytelling and accessible cartooning should win over most. Tezuka's masterwork is an enlightening demonstration of the limitless potential of the comics medium. Gordon Flagg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A relentless page-turner boasting a cast of hundreds, Buddha: Volume 3: Devadatta concerns Siddhartha's earliest ordeals after he forswears his kingdom to lead a life of ascetic purity...Siddhartha's comtemplative life becomes a swashbuckling adventure." - Newsday
"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." -Artbomb.net"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
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Tezuka continues his fondness for anachronism as a way to speed his plotting and make manifest what he want us to notice. Perhaps I am getting used to it, but it was less bothersome in this book than the last.
Given what little I know of the more traditional saga of Siddhartha, Tezuka’s version is more the author's version than the traditional one, but I trust him to tell a good story and not wander too far from how a Buddist Monk would want to be represented. This freedom allows this story teller to introduce new characters and plot line and maybe make a better story.
For example a reoccurring problem is that of the circle of life. Nature is a violent and arbitrary place. Cute is no protection from the hungry and death feeds life. The nagging question is: What is the proper role of humans in an existence that is arbitrary and violent? Circling back, within the proper human role, what is the proper life for the religious?
The high standarda of the graphic art is maintained. Much of India is lush and beautifully detailed. Poverty is somewhat romanticized.
So far we have the questions. If there are answers we have not yet seen them finalized into the new religion that Siddhartha will call into being as the Enlightened One: Buddha.
The story of Siddharta continues as he teams up with Dhepa the one-eyed Bharmin teacher and Assaji the snotty little boy with great powers. Siddharta develops character as he struggles to understand the necessity of the ordeals Dhepa teaches him. He represents our own doubts and uncertainties that we face on our own spiritual paths, showing us that the great Buddha is as human as you and I. Unfortunately, women keep throwing themselves at his feet - not exactly like you and I after all..
In a long and heartbreaking side story featuring Devadatta, the son of the no-eyed-villain Bandaka, we see how much hatred and rejection a person can handle. Especially entertaining I found the return of Brahmin turned animal Naradatta who teaches Devadatta the circle of life and rules of survival ('The weak perish, the strong survive. Custom for all life. Humans aren't exempt'). Tezuka obviously enjoyed drawing animals of all kinds, interacting with each other and the two humans that returned to the wild. It is in these pages that I understood that I had to finish the whole series - what great pleasure.
The secret to Osama Tezuka's power is his story-telling ability. He tells the tale of the Buddha in Arabian Nights fashion, with stories within stories within stories.
What is remarkable is he is able to do this while entertaining; as readers, we become spellbound by his picture-perfect drawings and fantastical settings. He even brings in occasional modern-day references to add comic relief to the weighty subject. This anachronistic dialogue originally put me off, but has grown on me as the series goes on. Even if you are not a fan of Japanese manga, try this one; Tezuka may win you over.
Many of the messages of Buddhism are present, but take a backseat to what can only be call "soap opera" storylines. Even the parts where Siddhartha are present, feel this way. Even though this is the weakest so far, it is important for the over all series.
The story telling in this volume maybe weak, but Tezuka's creative, and experimentation with page layouts makes this book still a fun read.