Review: Gandhi: A Manga Biography by Kazuki Ebine

 

Title: Gandhi: A Manga Biography

Author: Kazuki Ebine

Publisher: Penguin

ISBN: 978-0143120247

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The life of a true twentieth-century hero told in a vibrant graphic novel format.

Through his quietly powerful leadership and influential use of nonviolent resistance in India’s struggle against the British Raj, Mahatma Gandhi became one of the most revered figures of the modern era. While history has recorded Gandhi’s words and deeds, the man himself has been eclipsed by maxims of virtuosity that seem to have little resonance in our everyday lives. In Gandhi, the third volume in our exciting new manga biography series, created in conjunction with Emotional Content, Kazuki Ebine combines a gripping narrative with stunning illustrations to share Gandhi’s inspiring and deeply human story with a whole new generation of readers.

Developed in conjunction with Emotional Content.

Review:

This book was so disappointing!  I do enjoy learning more about history and historical figures, so I was intrigued to see that Penguin is releasing a series of manga biographies.  I found the first two that I read interesting, but Gandhi is so marred with typos and awkward dialog that I just could not get engrossed in this book.  The pacing is also problematic, but I will be fair and say that it would be very difficult to pack all of anyone’s life into a 192 page graphic novel.  I felt that both The 14th  Dalai Lama and Che Guevara suffered from pacing issues as well, but not to the degree as in Gandhi.

From the beginning of this graphic novel, the jumps in time are abrupt and confusing.  Gandhi accomplished so much during his 78 years that it is impossible to squeeze all of his character building experiences and the many issues he stood for in the pages allotted.  I feel that book needed to be much longer to truly do justice to Gandhi’s life.  As presented here, details of his personal life are scant, leaving me to wonder about how his family influenced his actions.  They are figures more on the periphery of his life, and I was never given a clear picture of who Gandhi really was.  This version of his life is like reading the Wiki about him – while all of the key moments of his life are briefly touched upon, there is no depth given to any of them.

With the many typos encountered in Gandhi, I was also disappointed with the presentation of the book.  The dialog is so stilted and awkward that it was difficult to read, and it never held my attention for more than a few pages at a time.  The art is adequate and communicates the emotions and difficulties Gandhi encountered during his life, but, like the script recited by the characters in the book, the illustrations are also stilted and awkward.  There is no sense of movement or energy from any of the drawings here, which added to a very bland reading experience.

If you are interested in seeing Gandhi’s life unfold through the pages of a graphic novel, check this book about of your local library.  With the many flaws contained in this book, I find it hard to recommend a purchase.

Grade: D+

Review copy provided by publisher