Tuesday, November 25, 2014

On the Coffee Table: Kazuki Ebine

Title: Gandhi: A Manga Biography
Writer and Artist: Kazuki Ebine
via Amazon
Mahatma Gandhi was, without question, one of the most extraordinary people in world history.  Through nonviolent civil disobedience, he led his nation of India to independence from the mighty British Empire and inspired activists in similar causes around the globe.  His life is well documented in both print and film, certainly a worthy subject for a manga biography.

Unfortunately, I don't feel Ebine's book quite makes the grade.  The artwork is fine but the text falls short.  I was glad I knew a fair amount about Gandhi's life before reading the book otherwise I think I would have been confused often.  The translation from the author's Japanese is a bit awkward at times, too, which doesn't help.

Perhaps the medium is the problem.  There's a lot to cover in a person's life.  Sometimes a sequential art biography works: Louis Riel and Buddha are both excellent.  Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story, on the other hand, felt too thin, much like Gandhi.  I wouldn't even say Gandhi offers enough to pique one's interest in learning more.  Maybe it's just biographies that are tricky, regardless of the means of delivery.  I'm confident there are better books out there for exploring Gandhi's life, even better ones for appealing to a younger audience.  These days, the 1982 film would probably be rated PG-13 for its violence but if you can get past that, it provides a terrific overview of the great man's story.


  1. An English translation of a Japanese comic about an East Indian would probably be challenging.