Title: Gandhi: A Manga Biography
Author: Kazuki Ebine
Release Date: September 27, 2011
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography, Graphic
Rating: 4 out of 5
The life of Mohandas K. Gandhi gets the graphic treatment in this manga biography.
“Manga” is the Japanese word for comics, and it’s become the term used in the United States to describe comics drawn in the Japanese style or done by a Japanese author. In this case, Japanese author and manga artist Kazuki Ebine takes on the life of the Mahatma, Mohandas Gandhi, in order to illustrate his life and the principles he lived by.
Gandhi: A Manga Biography sketches out Gandhi’s early life, but the book really starts when Gandhi chooses to travel to England for his education. Ebine emphasizes Gandhi’s doctrine of ahimsa, or non-violence, for political change, and I appreciated that Ebine focused on Gandhi’s time in South Africa just as much as his participation in the Indian independence movement. Gandhi fought for the equality of Indians in South Africa, though this part of his life isn’t widely celebrated or discussed. It is here that Gandhi first put into practice his ideas of political change.
Ebine did an excellent job capturing Gandhi’s spirit in Gandhi: A Manga Biography. Though the reader might not learn as much about him in a graphic biography as one rendered in prose, there is still an exceptional amount of information contained in this biography. In just a few words or phrases, and in Gandhi’s facial expressions and reactions, Ebine teaches the reader much of what they need to know about this celebrated leader.
The drawings in Gandhi: A Manga Biography are beautifully done. The book is in black and white, and I believe this captured the emotions behind the book and Gandhi’s life beautifully. Every picture in this novel tells a story; the level of detail is magnificent, and I was very impressed with how much the figure in this story actually looks like Gandhi. The aging in the book is also incredibly well done; the reader can see Gandhi as a young man and an old man. It’s clear they are the same person, but also easy to tell how much time has passed based on how Gandhi looks.
I really enjoyed Gandhi: A Manga Biography, though I did have one small issue. There are a surprising number of misspellings in this book, especially considering the length of the book. And it wasn’t even names, but simple words, which really disrupted the reading experience. I’m not sure if graphic biographies go through the same editing process as regular books, but this one badly needed an editor’s eye.
Still, Gandhi: A Manga Biography is definitely a book worth reading, especially if you are interested in the life of the Mahatma but don’t want to commit to a full length biography. This will teach you about his life, and while it’s not incredibly detailed, it does a wonderful job conveying the basic information in a creative way.