The Eisner and Harvey Winner In this fourth volume of the award-winning graphic novel biography, Buddha slowly discovers that his destiny lies in a path not readily available to him. With fellow ascetics Dhepa who has complete faith in the purifying quality of painful physical ordeals, and Assaji, who can predict everyone´s death to the hour, Buddha travels through the kingdom of Magadha into the Forest of Uruvela, where The Middle Path and Enlightenment wait beyond a series of death-defying trials. Awake under the Pippala tree... Osamu Tezuka´s vaunted storytelling genius, consummate skill at visual expression, and warm humanity blossom fully in his eight-volume epic of Siddhartha´s life and times. Tezuka evidences his profound grasp of the subject by contextualizing the Buddha´s ideas; the emphasis is on movement, action, emotion, and conflict as the prince Siddhartha runs away from home, travels across India, and questions Hindu practices such as ascetic self-mutilation and caste oppression. Rather than recommend resignation and impassivity, Tezuka´s Buddha predicates enlightenment upon recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering one´s life sensibly. Philosophical segments are threaded into interpersonal situations with ground-breaking visual dynamism by an artist who makes sure never to lose his readers´ attention. Tezuka himself was a humanist rather than a Buddhist, and his magnum opus is not an attempt at propaganda. Hermann Hesse´s novel or Bertolucci´s film is comparable in this regard; in fact, Tezuka´s approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humor.