Posted by psgels on 21 June 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

Ah, Medaka Box can wait. First there is a movie I want to talk about: Buddha. It’s been a while since a movie really made me go “wow”.

Of course, I am a big fan of Osamu Tezuka. Next year it’ll be fifty years since the debut of the anime Astro Boy, and his stories still stand out as unique. Some of the movies and series that are adapted from his works stand among my favorites. The reason why this movie surprised me however was because of how it started; not every adaptation of Osamu Tezuka is brilliant, and a lot of them are either too childish or just too silly to properly enjoy, and the Buddha movie starts as the latter. The opening scene had a point to it, but it’s just so bizarre with some of the weirdest acting by animals that it made a very nasty opening for this series.

And after that though, this movie completely delivers. The storyline really is typical Osamu Tezuka, as it shows a very liberal interpretation of the man who would later be Buddha. The movie has the st-up that many other works by the God of Manga have: many different characters who all have their own stories that sometimes intertwine, a story that only shows its true self once it has been going on for more than half an hour (heck, Buddha isn’t even born yet in the movie’s opening 30 minutes), lots of time-skips and most importantly: tons and tons of character-development.

All of those things make his stories unique, but the character-development really stands out: just about every important character goes through a complete change that is meaningful and well built up. Buddha is no different here. I still can’t believe how much change the creators managed to put in just two hours.

It also shouldn’t be surprised that there are huge Buddhist themes in this movie. Osamu Tezuka has used them in some of his other stories, Hi no Tori notably featured some brilliant insights in both its good sides and bad sides. Buddha meanwhile is a more positive look on the faith, which brings me to what really caught my attention about this movie, because everything else about it is completely and utterly dark.

Seriously, don’t let the looks fool you. This movie is full of abuse, death, pain and suffering. Its characters are constantly struggling to get better lives, only to suffer huge life-changing set-backs. There are some huge karma themes in this movie, as with some of Tezuka’s other works, but I can’t recall any other work that has so many of them. This movie also has some incredible plot twists that just keep pushing this further and further. Serioulsy, this movie is 2 hours long and hardly ever takes things slow. It always manages to find something interesting to throw at its characters.

Toei also put some really good animators on this movie. At first it might not seem that way because there are plenty of rushed and simple shots, but some of the fight scenes have really smooth animation. In particular there is one huge battle scene between two armies that manages to bring every soldier to life, on top of having completely fluid animation that on top of that has some really creative and dynamic animation.

Now, is this the best adaptation we’ve seen from Osamu Tezuka? No, but that’s because it’s competition is just so damn strong: most of these adaptations just seem to fit perfectly into the movie format, while I feel that Buddha was a bit rushed here and there, especially in the beginning, plus some of the acting can get a bit weird at times. Nevertheless, the creativity of this movie is really something to be praised. Best movie of the year so far.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Just keeps the plot twists coming, and manages to weave a ton of different storylines together.
Characters: 9/10 – Amazing character-development, as expected from Osamu Tezuka.
Production-Values: 8,5/10 – The animation is inconsistent, but when it’s good, it’s really good.
Setting: 8,5/10 – Very creative, uses its Buddhist themes really well, but there are also a few things here and there that are portrayed a bit too silly.

Suggestions:
Metropolis
Hi no Tori – Uchuu-Hen
Hi no Tori – Houou-hen

8 Responses

  1. Mr. Mestopheles says:

    I’m still trying to wrap my mind around anyone even attempting to animate this one of his. I had no idea it was out there.

  2. Mike says:

    Isn’t this just supposed to be the 1st in a planned film trilogy adaptation of the manga? I would really like to see it.

  3. Mr. Mestopheles says:

    Where do you remember reading that, Mike? I haven’t seen anything like that…

  4. Souther says:

    As a fan of the Buddha manga, despite not being a huge Osamu Tezuka reader in general, I’m a bit afraid of seeing this because they’ve apparently messed around with the story’s chronology, among other changes. It may be a good movie, but I don’t know if it will be a good adaptation.

  5. Will says:

    8.5 for production value is quite generous.
    Let’s keep it simple: the production value sucked.

    • psgels psgels says:

      I disagree with this. Sure, it indeed was inconsistent and there were some badly animated parts, but the well animated parts really made up for it for me.

  6. gan says:

    Did you watch it subbed or raw? Did any group sub it?

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:18 PM)
    Brits abroad were getting a good deal out of being in the EU though in terms of welfare.
    Leaving is just going to make trading more expensive too.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:17 PM)
    It will be interesting to see this develop and if the sterling will recover/will Britain actually get along on its own.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:16 PM)
    I know I heard that America was re-thinking when it came to how they’d trade with Britain.
    The effect the Brexit has had on the Sterling apparently now makes it cheaper for me to order from the UK.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 10:10 PM)
    @K-off: I’m suspect at France ever leaving (or Frexit as people are calling that possibility), that idea is mainly being hyped by the national front, who while have influence/increasing influence will never be influential enough.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:46 PM)
    the influx of muslims that appear to threaten the liberal society (particularly homosexuals) of Britain and as a result I don’t want to call those concerned about it simply “racists.” It’s a legitimate concern that’s been taken over by racial hysteria, although at the end of the day it’s not worth everything else that comes with leaving the EU.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:41 PM)
    @Kaiser My knowledge of UK politics is relatively shabby, so I can’t speak for everything surrounding David Cameron and Article 50 as far as that’s concerned. But as for immigration, as much as I disagree, I do get the grievances people who voted “out” have for the EU’s immigration policy, namely
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:39 PM)
    Come to think of it, I started using Kaiser as an online alias after hearing the word in a history class when I was 13, Kaiser also happened to be the name given to one of Sigma’s forms in one of the megaman X games which I was really into at the time, there was an old sega game called Ristar where in the Japanese version the villain was called Kaiser.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:36 PM)
    @K-off: As in people were actually voting to leave as a protest, rather than thinking/wanting britain to leave.
    Theres also been a hate campaign going on since the fallout now off Poles being beaten up.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:34 PM)
    @K-off: I hope/assume that you have been following the Brexit thing? Kind of wanted to hear you talk about it.
    Alot of the voting came down to peoples ignorance, racism/anti-immigration agenda, old fashioned nationalists, alot of panic voting too. People are bringing up the breakup of the UK again, I’ve heard theres people who want to re-do the referendum and regret voting Britain out/that they voted to out Britain thinking that wouldn’t happen.
  • K-Off
    (Tuesday, Jun 28. 2016 09:34 PM)
    @Kaiser And I assumed yours was a reference to Mori’s manga.

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