Gandhi: A Manga Biography

Sunday, April 29, 2012  By  Emily Serven     No comments

Most people know who Gandhi is, but they don’t know much beyond the fact that he used peaceful protest and sat on beds of nails. Many people don’t know that he spent time protesting in Africa, or that he lived in England for some time to become a certified barrister. The manga starts out with a young Gandhi in school, and covers his entire lifetime until death. The author makes him out to be just a normal person, like we all are, something that makes Gandhi’s character more relatable, as well as make for some inspiration.

The writing is easy to read and explains things to the reader easily in case they don’t know what something is. A good example of this would be explaining the caste system in the book. Since Indian society, especially back then, hinged on caste, the book explains it in the dialogue for 5 pages so the reader has a sense of what it is. It’s certainly entertaining to read, and is educational as well since it’s an accurate retelling of Gandhi’s life. It’s also much easier than reading a history book, so if someone’s in a rush with a project or just not feeling like reading a history book, they can read this and get the same amount of information. Something key is that the manga lays emphasis on are the times where there’s injustices and prejudices in Gandhi’s life, something that is clearly an influential factor in his life’s work.

The art is in black and white, manga style, and is easy to look at. All the lines are solid. Different lighting effects are added at certain times too, emphasizing on darker situations, or more cheerful situations. This lighting applies to both scenery and people. The layout of the panels makes sense and flows well, which makes it easy to read. There aren’t any recurring motifs in the manga, or from typical mangas either, which may be a good thing considering Gandhi didn’t have any involvement with Japan and the fact that it’s meant to be slightly more serious and not have those types of art exaggeration.

Age and Warning Info-
This manga is excellent for all ages, as it teaches us about an important historical figure in an easy to read fashion. The only warning is that there’s some violence here and there, someone beating up Gandhi, the coughing up of blood, and scenes of the protests, but they’re greatly scaled down to allow any age to read them .

Some related titles include those that are also in Penguin’s Manga Biography series, Che Guevara and The 14th Dalai Lama.

Gandhi: A Manga Biography
by Kazuki Ebine
ISBN: 9780143120247
Penguin, 2011

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