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Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (Buddha #1)
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Book Club Reading Discussions > 2nd Optional Book Club Discussion: Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka - August 2012 (may contain spoilers)

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Sérgio | 453 comments Hi everybody. This is the topic for our 2nd Optional Book Club Discussion for August 2012, Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu by Osamu Tezuka.


The discussion will occur during this whole month of August.


If your post will contain spoilers, then please type SPOILERS in capital letters at the top of your post (or use the html code for spoilers) so that members who are still reading or have not yet read the book can avoid critical details that can spoil their reading.


Enjoy our optional book club discussion everyone.


Vincent | 10 comments I have known about Osamu Tezuka like I've known about Hayao Miyazaki. However, unlike Miyazaki (where I've seen all of his movies subbed and dubbed), I haven't until recently actually sat down and read a Tezuka manga. I've been reading Black Jack so it is serendipitous that the optional discussion is Buddha.

Is anyone else in this group reading Buddha and is familiar with the mythology/folklore/religion? How closely does Tezuka's version parallel the original story? Are you enjoying the book?

I am half way through and am enjoying the story. But I have questions like the one above.

There's also a sense of nostalgia for me seeing the exaggerated facial features and wild hair styles.


message 3: by Amanda (last edited Aug 01, 2012 09:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amanda Newhouses (eldatari) | 7 comments I just finished the first volume, but I'm not very familiar with the mythology, but I know that the characters of Chapra and Tatta were created by Tezuka for his version of story, and without spoiling any of the story, they obviously figure very large in this first volume.

I was familiar with Tezuka going in to the book, through Astro Boy, but I've never actually read any of his work. I really enjoyed it, and it's obvious that his art style was very influential in the world of manga and anime. :)

I would also be curious to know if anyone has any insight on how Tezuka's story matches up to the conventional history of Buddhism. Reading this book has actually made me very interested in learning more about the philosophy/religion!


Abhisek Roy | 7 comments Amanda wrote: "I just finished the first volume, but I'm not very familiar with the mythology, but I know that the characters of Chapra and Tatta were created by Tezuka for his version of story, and without spoil..."


I actually finished the entire series last month. If you want to know how it converges to that history, you need to read the other parts. What I liked in this book is his unconventional take on the story.


Abhisek Roy | 7 comments Vincent wrote: "I have known about Osamu Tezuka like I've known about Hayao Miyazaki. However, unlike Miyazaki (where I've seen all of his movies subbed and dubbed), I haven't until recently actually sat down and ..."

You can read Siddhartha. Quite helpful!


Vincent | 10 comments @Abhisek Thank you for the recommendation. I saw your comment to Amanda. Based on it can I assume that Tezuka's version departs from the story? I only have a pedestrian knowledge of Buddhism and Siddhartha.

@Amanda I'm about half way through now and really like the story. Tezuka was a good storyteller. Prior to reading Buddha, I was reading his Black Jack series. Have you finished this book yet? Will you pick up the second? Or another Tezuka book?

@Abhisek have you read any Tezuka prior to the Buddha series? If yes, which book and how do you feel it compares? Also, without giving anything away, how do the rest of the books in the Buddha series compare to this one? I couldn't help myself and picked up the first three volumes but couldn't justify buying the entire series.


Amanda Newhouses (eldatari) | 7 comments Vincent wrote: "@Amanda I'm about half way through now and really like the story. Tezuka was a good storyteller. Prior to reading Buddha, I was reading his Black Jack series. Have you finished this book yet? Will you pick up the second? Or another Tezuka book?"

I think I will take Abhisek's suggestion, and read the rest of the Buddha series. I'm definitely interested in reading more Tezuka... would you recommend his Black Jack series? I'm not familiar with it.

I'm also interested in checking out Hesse's Siddhartha that was recommended to you. First I have to finish our main group read and A Dance With Dragons, though!

Abhisek wrote: "I actually finished the entire series last month. If you want to know how it converges to that history, you need to read the other parts. What I liked in this book is his unconventional take on the story. "

I'm definitely going to read the rest! The only problem is that I'm having some trouble tracking down copies of the books... the clerk at the book store told me they're out of print, but helped me track down a copy of this first volume. I'm hoping that over the next few weeks, I'll be able to find copies of the others. :)


Nathan Herald | 23 comments @Amanda I think I will take Abhisek's suggestion, and read the rest of the Buddha series. I'm definitely interested in reading more Tezuka... would you recommend his Black Jack series? I'm not familiar with it.

Black Jack is a phenomenal series. It does a great job of blending real medical advancements with fantasy and Japanese folklore. Some of it gets a little far fetched, but for the most part, it is vintage Tezuka. It can get a little graphic at times, but it seems to be more clinical that horrific.

On a side note, I did read Siddhartha way back in high school on a lark (so I'm really rusty on the specifics), and this first book in Tezuka's series doesn't seem to have much to do with Herman Hesse's novel. However, since this is only the first book, I imagine Tezkuka is laying down a foundation for the subsequent books where he hews a bit closer to historical documentation.

When it comes to Tezuka, I've read a lot of his works, and it's extremely difficult to find a book that is not enjoyable.

@Amanda (again) I'm definitely going to read the rest! The only problem is that I'm having some trouble tracking down copies of the books... the clerk at the book store told me they're out of print, but helped me track down a copy of this first volume. I'm hoping that over the next few weeks, I'll be able to find copies of the others.

Have you checked Amazon.com? I just did a search for Tezuka and found quite a few titles, some under a dollar (shipping will ruin that though). It also looks like they're getting ready to re-release A Message to Adolph and Barbara.


Abhisek Roy | 7 comments Nathan wrote: "@Amanda I think I will take Abhisek's suggestion, and read the rest of the Buddha series. I'm definitely interested in reading more Tezuka... would you recommend his Black Jack series? I'm not fami..."

@Nathan: Yes. The first book is only the foundation of the epic biography.

Amanda wrote: "Vincent wrote: "@Amanda I'm about half way through now and really like the story. Tezuka was a good storyteller. Prior to reading Buddha, I was reading his Black Jack series. Have you finished this..."

@Amanda: I think you can find them in Amazon.

Vincent wrote: "@Abhisek Thank you for the recommendation. I saw your comment to Amanda. Based on it can I assume that Tezuka's version departs from the story? I only have a pedestrian knowledge of Buddhism and Si..."

@Vincent: No the main story is not different from the actual one but Tezuka introduced a lot of characters into the story. That makes the books interesting. I'll tell you to go through the rest of the series. It gets better in the 5-7th parts. I'm reading the Black Jack series now. Amazing it is.


Vincent | 10 comments @Abhisek. Thank you for the advice and info. I finished the first book this morning on the train. I've read Volume 2 of Black Jack and have been reading Volume 9. I concur. The stories are amazing. I'm going to start Buddha volume 2 shortly.

@Amanda. I bought the first three volumes at Strand Books in NYC (http://www.strandbooks.com/product/th...). But I saw them at BN.com for $10.25 (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/buddh...). I bought from the former because I could pick them up. The $10.25 deal is only for online orders.

@Nathan. I agree. Black Jack is amazing. You mentioned you've read a lot of Tezuka. Is there a series you would recommend as being the definitive one? The one that someone like me who only knows him in passing should read?

@Abhisek, @Amanda, @Nathan, and anyone else with an opinion, what do you think of the humor Tezuka employs in his storytelling? Did it make the story more enjoyable for you? More readable? Or did it distract? Take a look at this Publisher Comment that Powells Books includes in their description: http://www.powells.com/biblio/2-97819.... Do you agree?


Nathan Herald | 23 comments @Vincent Tezuka never stuck to one specific genre, but Black Jack and Astro Boy are very indicative of his ability. Astro Boy occasionally becomes indicative of the time (playing to stereotype), but is definitely worth a look. However, if you can find it, his book Clockwork Apple is a collection of short stories that cross all sorts of genres that really shows off his dexterity and mastery. It is next to impossible to find however, Amazon doesn't have a record of it, but I know you can find digitized copies on-line.


message 12: by Terry (last edited Aug 06, 2012 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Terry | 3 comments Possible spoiler - I enjoyed the entire Buddha series greatly, and while I think Tezuka leaves the core story and related legends pretty intact, he works to make it accessible to modern readers. He seems to use humor and everyday common people as devices to this end, but often the artwork, philosophy and grand storytelling are just magnificent.

Apart from Buddha, my favorite Tezuka includes the Adolf series and Phoenix vol. 4, "Karma" -- great stuff.

If you have a hard time finding copies, don't forget to check your public library. Ours has a pretty good collection of Tezuka titles.


Vincent | 10 comments Nathan wrote: "@Vincent Tezuka never stuck to one specific genre, but Black Jack and Astro Boy are very indicative of his ability. Astro Boy occasionally becomes indicative of the time (playing to stereotype), bu..."

@Nathan, thank you for the suggestion. Happily, I managed to find a few online sources for Clockwork Apple. I'm looking forward to reading it.


Vincent | 10 comments Terry wrote: "Possible spoiler - I enjoyed the entire Buddha series greatly, and while I think Tezuka leaves the core story and related legends pretty intact, he works to make it accessible to modern readers. H..."

@Terry, thanks for the suggestions. Have you read Black Jack? I have been reading them out of order and am noticing the "little piggies" (the tattoo at the bottom of Chapra's foot from Buddha) popping up in Black Jack too. I wonder if they occur in Phoenix too.


Abhisek Roy | 7 comments Vincent wrote: "@Abhisek. Thank you for the advice and info. I finished the first book this morning on the train. I've read Volume 2 of Black Jack and have been reading Volume 9. I concur. The stories are amazing...."

I love Tezuka's sense of humour. It's hard to deal with a biography of a person like Buddha. Tezuka did a great job with those small comic reliefs. It actually makes the book more enjoyable.


Nathan Herald | 23 comments @Vincent: @Terry, thanks for the suggestions. Have you read Black Jack? I have been reading them out of order and am noticing the "little piggies" (the tattoo at the bottom of Chapra's foot from Buddha) popping up in Black Jack too. I wonder if they occur in Phoenix too.


As it turns out that little piggy character is considered by many fans to be the real character of Tezuka's stories.

(From Wikipedia - Osamu Tezuka's Star System)

Hyoutan-Tsugi: Also known as Gourdski, it is a gag character, a small pig-faced patchworked gourd creature that puffs out smoke. Osamu Tezuka draws him a bit everywhere as a joke, sometimes even making a character's face looking like it. Appears in almost all of his works, even in the 2009 CGI animated movie where he appears on a billboard. Some fans affectionally call it the real star of Tezuka's series.

From what I understand, Tezuka would sometimes put him in a panel to indicate the previous panel was a joke or comedic bit.


Amanda Newhouses (eldatari) | 7 comments @Abhisek, @Nathan & @Vincent - I assumed that Amazon.ca was giving me the best prices for Marketplace items, but they're definitely cheaper on Amazon.com. Good call! I'll also check out if Barnes & Noble will ship to me up here, because $10.25 is a great price. :)

@Vincent - I really enjoyed the humour. To me, it definitely added something more to the story. I think it's important to be respectful when dealing with religious and philosophical storytelling, but there's plenty of room for humour (view spoiler). Even some humour that I could see some people considering over the top was good, in context -- (view spoiler).


Amanda Newhouses (eldatari) | 7 comments Terry wrote: If you have a hard time finding copies, don't forget to check your public library. Ours has a pretty good collection of Tezuka titles.

Great advice... I'm kind of a book hoarder, so I think I'll buy Buddha as I go along, but I'll definitely look for Tezuka's other works at the library. :)


Cyndi (BookChick64) | 90 comments I have to admit that the manga/anime style was a bit off putting for me. However I did get used to it and got into the tale.

I am not familiar with Buddhism/Siddhartha past A general sense. This work made the origin tale accesible and informative. I, too, plan on continuing the story.

Now on to the main group read...finally ready at the library.


Vincent | 10 comments Cyndi wrote: "I have to admit that the manga/anime style was a bit off putting for me. However I did get used to it and got into the tale.

I am not familiar with Buddhism/Siddhartha past A general sense. This..."


I had the same problem even though I found the style enjoyably nostalgic and retro. It was hard to get into at first but it grew on me as I read.


Vincent | 10 comments Nathan wrote: "@Vincent: @Terry, thanks for the suggestions. Have you read Black Jack? I have been reading them out of order and am noticing the "little piggies" (the tattoo at the bottom of Chapra's foot from Bu..."

Amanda wrote: "@Abhisek, @Nathan & @Vincent - I assumed that Amazon.ca was giving me the best prices for Marketplace items, but they're definitely cheaper on Amazon.com. Good call! I'll also check out if Barnes &..."

Thanks for the information, Nathan. It helps as I read his other works.


Cyndi (BookChick64) | 90 comments It's nice to find an agreement, I felt almost disloyal when I included that in my post.


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Books mentioned in this topic

Buddha, Vol. 1: Kapilavastu (other topics)
Siddhartha (other topics)
A Dance with Dragons (other topics)
Major Barbara (other topics)
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Authors mentioned in this topic

Osamu Tezuka (other topics)
Hermann Hesse (other topics)