In the sixth volume of manga visionary Osamu Tezuka's Buddha
, the devil Mara possesses the bandit Ananda, half-brother of Devadatta, in an effort to eliminate the Buddha. A ruthless killer who is impervious to physical harm, Ananda will retain the devil's favor only if he spurns his love interest.
When Ananda and his bandit buddy attack the Fire Shrine of the Brahmin brothers Kassapa, it is none other than the Awakened One who happens by. Buddha must confront his eternal enemy, Mara, before he can open the eyes of arrogant priests and hardened criminals.
Osamu Tezuka (1928-89) is the godfather of Japanese manga comics. He originally intended to become a doctor and earned his degree before turning to what was then a medium for children. His many early masterpieces include the series known in the U.S. as Astro Boy
. With his sweeping vision, deftly interwined plots, feel for the workings of power, and indefatigable commitment to human dignity, Tezuka elevated manga to an art form. The later Tezuka, when he authored Buddha, often had in mind the mature readership that manga gained in the sixties and that had only grown ever since. The Kurosawa of Japanese pop culture, Osamu Tezuka is a twentieth century classic.