Sunday, March 19, 2006


Manga continues to sweep across the English publishing world with Harper Collins being the latest to jump on the bandwagon. The lynch pin to their programme must be Osama Tezuka's re-visioning of the Buddha story in 8 volumes.

Told with reverence and wit, he develops what could be dry thesis into an engaging series. There are anachronisms thrown in to the mix and they do jar but perhaps this is a good thing. It stops one blindly following the narrative and makes the Buddhist principles readily accessible to everyday life. Tezuka's narrative bounces along with a wry humour, often expressed in little touches like the animal's expressions.

Equally appealing (though at time incredibly annoying) is the range of characters. (Perhaps its just me but I keep on hearing an American twang on anime overdubs. Sigh.) Each one takes his or her own part and develops it for the duration, usually it seems only over one book. The series looks like it is going to develop in a set of cyclical arcs, each gradually adding to the wider narrative.

Some of the art is cutesy and stylised. One expects it but there are some wonderful little touches that mean it is not cloying. However, it would be nice if the women werent always topless – it gets wearing quite quickly.

I'll certainly be reading more volumes with an eagerness that surprised me. I came to the books with a curiosity about them but have been left sated, though it is the type of satedness which comes after sucking lemons. Refreshing but wanting more.

Aust Gate amazon


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