Tezuka Osamu no Buddha: Akai Sabaku yo! Utsukushiku (Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha: The Red Desert! It’s Beautiful)
Studio Tezuka Productions
Source Material Buddha (manga)
Source Material by 手塚 治虫 (Tezuka Osamu)
Running time 111 minutes
Once again, two great legacies converge in this anime film trilogy adaptation of Tezuka Osamu’s manga series, Buddha. First, as a disclaimer, I feel the need to note that while I have a huge fascination with the worlds of both Tezuka and Buddha, I have only been exposed to one associative work for each, the two being Tezuka’s renowned Astro Boy and Hermann Hesse’s (quite) irrelevant Siddhartha. Nonetheless, Astro Boy aside, I do think that Hermann Hesse’s novel and this film have corresponding portrayals of the path of the enlightenment and all the suffering that comes along with it. For the most part, this portrayal of suffering is all I have to talk about in this miniature review, since I find myself agreeing with a certain user’s review on MAL, in which he criticized this adaptation quite harshly. Many things about this film just weren’t as compelling as they could have been. A pacing too fast that most happenings (including numerous deaths) seemed underwhelming. A soundtrack that was not too prominent. And animation that was far too shy in visual appeal. In terms of recommendation, I would only suggest this adaptation for those who have a really preferential involvement in the story of Siddhartha. In high school, the main reason I had selected Siddhartha to read out of all the novels our English teacher let us decide from was because it was noted to be a strict narrative. Something that didn’t promise literary genius, but something that promised a story. And that story was an enchanting journey of experiencing an assortment of life’s grandeur and strife. Again, I felt a glimpse of this insightfulness in Tezuka Osamu no Buddha: Akai Sabaku yo! Utsukushiku. While the presentation was not enough to compel me, the narrative itself remains potent enough to leave me in a lingering state of reflection. How saddening it was that Chapra and his mother had to die in such a horrible way. Is it reasonable for Migaila to stay so amiable towards Siddhartha after being beat and having her eyes burned? Is Siddhartha really on the path of
attaining earning enlightenment or was he just privileged and blessed since birth? Great stories have characters that the audience can relate to, whether literally or metaphorically. These thoughts and wonders I have will resound in my mind for far longer than the duration of the movie’s ending theme. In that respect, this adaptation does quite well.