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Manga / Buddha

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Buddha is a manga by Osamu Tezuka. It is an eight-volume, highly embellished account of Siddhartha Gautama/Buddha's life, incorporating many fantasy elements and re-interpreting several legends about Buddha's life.

Some of the other major characters include Devadatta, who was Raised by Wolves, Tatta, who was born with the power to transfer his mind into animals, Migaila, a former bandit turned good, Yatala, a Gentle Giant (only once you get to know him), and Ananda, Devadatta's half brother, another bandit-turned good.


This manga provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Buddha chooses two monks as his successors, and they both die before he does. A case of Real Life Writes the Plot, since this is true to historical accounts.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Ahimsa dies just as he learns to forgive monks.
    • Also Devadatta, despite being the opposite: he dies while still being unable to forgive Buddha and his disciples.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Possibly the reason Lata is attracted to Ananda.
  • Anachronism Stew: "Where did you find that [radio], you anachronist!?"
  • Attempted Rape: Ananda foils Lata's attacker.
    • In an inversion, a jealous Brahman sends a lady to pretend to be Buddha's lover and accuse him of womanizing.
    • Buddha is again the victim of this trope when the drug-addled Visahka keeps trying to have sex with him.
  • Bald of Evil: Devadatta, despite being a disciple of Buddha initially.
  • Bald Woman: Lata, on taking vows to Buddha.
  • Blindfold Of Power: Migaila
  • Advertisement:
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Tezuka makes several appearances, even apologizing for it.
  • Chick Magnet: Buddha himself, much to his dismay.
  • Creator Cameo: See Breaking The Fourth Wall above, and Who Writes This Crap below.
  • Cute Mute: Lata In the beginning.
  • Death by Childbirth: Maya, Buddha's mother.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Chapra, who is the focus in the beginning and doesn't live past the first volume.
  • Deconstruction: The series takes a look at how Buddha left his life as a prince to become a ascetic, with it showing how while what he did was apparently necessary, he still left his father and grandmother, his wife, his unborn child, and his kingdom behind, which his father did not take well because there are personal and political consequences for a prince abandoning his royal duties.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A conversation between Tatta and Yatala ("You're the first guy I've met who gets who I feel." "My thoughts never understood. I talk to you. I feel you understand.") reads like a Coming-Out Story.
  • Eye Scream: Migaila has both her eyes burnt out and Dhepa does the same to one of his own.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Naradatta. Tatta is one as a child and Siddhartha becomes one.
  • Gonk: One shows up once in a while. There are even gonk elephants!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The very first occurrence of the manga. The reasons for one doing this kickstart enlightenment.
  • Intimate Healing: Mouth-to-mouth transfers of medicine and water.
  • Jerkass: Bandaka is awful. Greedy, arrogant, rude, spiteful, Jerkass Bandaka. Princess Yashodara even says to herself, "If [I have to marry Bandaka], I'll kill myself." Years later, when she does, she threatens to.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Ananda, Buddha is challenged to burn a stack of logs without touching them. As he refuses to, not wanting to show off, Ananda comes running up with a torch: Buddha's follower burned them. So Buddha passes the trial - and then everything goes up in flames. Nice job burning it, Ananda.
  • Noble Bigot: A few characters are very racist/caste-ist due to India's caste system, but they're not all evil.
    • Not that it excuses comments like, "We oughta crush her under the elephant's foot!" "Now, now. She's just a stupid slave, hardly better than a beast." It just explains them.
  • Purely Aesthetic Era: The characters make anachronistic references for humor.
  • Reused Character Design: It's Tezuka, what do you expect? Look for Tezuka himself, Shunsaku Ban as a bounty hunter, Hosuke Sharaku, Saruta, and a cameo by Professor Ochanomizu.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Chapra attempts to protect his mother from a spear attack with his own body, which only results in both of them being run through together.
  • Shout-Out: The numerous, humorous anachronisms include Yoda, ET, and a character turning into Black Jack for a panel. Lampshaded with, "You thought I was Black Jack? Wow, you must be really out of it!"
  • The Speechless: Lata. Migaila for a bit.
  • Tragic Villain: General Budai whose efforts to protect his adopted son through ordering to have a person killed end up giving him the exact opposite results of what he wanted.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: After a particularly silly bit of slapstick involving Buddha getting hit by a large stick, Tezuka pops up to declare this to be "not a serious story" in a fairly angry fashion.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Much to Asaji, Buddha,and Bimbisara's dismay.


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