An extraordinary, talented character that will no doubt be a fan favourite, the impoverished Tata embodies the playful and irreverent creativity typical of Tezuka. He is not only acrobatic and possesses an affinity with animals; he can also astrally project his soul into them and “become” them while his body lies silently nearby. A sort of “mini-Buddha” with all the right abilities but none of the right attitude, Tata is the archetypal orphan, who just cannot seem to escape the misfortune of everyone older than him dying. This was the case with his mother and sister early on, when he introduced Chapra to them promptly after stealing from him. But Budai carelessly sends his army rampaging across Tata’s village, prompting him to attempt revenge with his new friend.
But Tatta is surprisingly cooperative when Chapra changes his mind and decides to break past his caste by rising amongst the Kosalan aristocrat ranks. Tatta remains perpetually young as he, Chapra’s mother and Naradatta wander the land while Chapra becomes a great warrior. But when Chapra and his mother are reunited, Tatta suffers the devastation of trying to save the pair and failing. They die in plain sight, and the broken Tatta realizes he is truly alone.
For all his cheerful, can-do and audacious personality, Tatta is a tragic character. He seems to be that eternal symbol of happy childhood that no matter what misfortunes one suffers, one holds out hope, smiling and laughing and running. But when Chapra and his mother are impaled and fall off that cliff, I think something inside Tatta truly dies as well.
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