In Osamu Tezuka’s Buddha (Volume 1) involves the character of Tatta, a boy of the lowest class in society to the point of being barely considered apart of it. It is revealed throughout the story that Tatta has some extraordinary powers and morals. His ability to transfer his soul into the bodies of animals, and his personal philosophy surrounding the equal value of all life seem to be driving themes for the action and substance of Tezuka’s work. What can not be taken seriously is Tatta’s personality. To a degree it is understandable that because he is a child he acts like one, but Tezuka goes beyond that.
In aiding Chapra to save his mother, Tatta only does so if Chapra gives up his (minimally) higher standing in society. Tatta could have gotten the mother back simply by returning what he stole but he goes to even more trouble because he resents Chapra. While Chapra and his mother are not exceedingly happy with their standing in society, that is the only way they can support themselves. Tatta’s choice to help them was a way of not feeling guilty about Chapra’s mother being sold off, or it was simply naivety that drove him to the conclusion that Chapra and his mom would be better off not in that class in society.
His naivety is showcased again to a flaw when he explains why he is sacrificing himself to the snake. Instead of killing the snake, he decides to kill himself in order to trade the snake for eggs because it follows his philosophy of all lives being equal and that no life is his to take. He is swallowed whole by the snake, when a rider on horseback comes by and kills the snake with an arrow. Tatta is then saved and they all eat the snake. The only person (presumably) with the unique power to control the body of animals kills himself instead of killing the snake because they are blindly following their strict religious principals. The scene showcases naivety of Tatta in that he is unable to fully consider the circumstances and only the personal rules he has set for himself. He will not take the life of another soul that is not his to take but he does not consider that in doing so he diminishes the chances of survival for the mom and the monk. He not only kills himself in committing that action, but he risks the lives of those around him. When the rider comes and kills the snake, it is almost comical how swiftly the problem is avoided and everyone is fed.
While at the surface the purpose of the story seems to be in promotion of Tatta’s ideals, Tatta’s personal characteristics and naive actions seem to also pose him in a negative light. Do you thinkn a character with different traits that are more redeemable would have been more effective at showcasing these views? Or are these views what Tezuka wants to praise at all?