Tezuka evidences his profound grasp of the subject by contextualizing the Buddhaís 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, Tezukaís Buddha predicates enlightenment upon recognizing the interconnectedness of life, having compassion for the suffering, and ordering oneís life sensibly. Philosophical segments are threaded into interpersonal situations with ground-breaking visual dynamism by an artist who makes sure never to lose his readersí attention.
Tezuka himself was a humanist rather than a Buddhist, and his magnum opus is not an attempt at propaganda. Hermann Hesseís novel or Bertolucciís film is comparable in this regard; in fact, Tezukaís approach is slightly irreverent in that it incorporates something that Western commentators often eschew, namely, humor.