Buddha (vol. 1) and Pop Culture

One of the things that I found most striking about Buddha (Vol. 1) by Osamu Tezuka is the juxtaposition between the story itself and the frequent popular/modern culture references that are made throughout, including the way in which the art style is so heavily reminiscent of Disney’s. It is a testament to Tezuka’s influence that this sort of strategy has been repeated heavily and more frequently in the decades following this book’s release. For example, Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film Romeo + Juliet employs similar strategies of intertextuality, drawing on people’s prior knowledge of genres such as the action film and infusing them with Shakespeare’s classic tragedy. This not only adds to the novel’s overall richness as a text, but also to its beauty in a visual sense. The contrast between the cartoonish stylization of the characters and the beautifully detailed rendering of the landscape creates a striking visual impression on the reader that will not be forgotten quickly.

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