Thursday, July 2, 2009

Saint Young Men

Saint Young Men


What if Jesus and Buddha were living on Earth in modern times? What if they shared an apartment in Japan? Saint Young Men is a humorous manga about the daily lives of Jesus and Buddha, with each chapter focusing on some element of modern life, such as Disneyland, rush hour on the train, Christmas, the public pool, carnivals, and more.

In a nut shell

Religion can be funny. The best religion jokes, of course, are the ones that involve a Priest and a Rabbi walk into some place or another. Well, how about a comedy manga about Jesus and Buddha as best buds? Doesn’t sound too funny? Would your opinion change if I said they were living in an apartment together in modern day Japan? Boy, does the hilarity ensue.

The Humor

So what’s the hook? To be honest when I read the premise on OneManga I thought it would probably make a good one shot. You know, one volume maybe five chapters the end. But I thought that would be good enough. I thought it be funny one chapter then I’d move on. I was so wrong. I am chapter 8 and its still funny. Nakamura Hikaru operates the humor on multiple levels. The first level is Japanese popular and regular culture. I grasp some of these jokes mainly thanks to translation notes. The next level is religious humor. This is usually satire on the lives of both Jesus and Buddha. However the funnier moments are when the make commentary on the established forms of their religions. These moments were probably the funniest. The last layer is Jesus’ and Buddha’s interaction with modern society norms. However, these moments usually involve Jesus. Like when he is thought to be a second generation Yakuza boss or when school girls think he is Johnny Depp. For Buddha, its people thinking he looks pretty close to Buddha (go figure) or mistake his hair for a hat or use his ears are straps on a subway.

Art Style

Stand up job, Nakamura Hikaru. The style in Saint Young Men is very light and airy. This suites the manga‘s slice of genre. Jesus’ character design relates more to the rock star personality he’s given. Buddha is depicted in his skinnier form and is drawn as a worrier. The Japan Nakamura depicts is pretty spot on and I conversed with a friend for accuracy. While not photographic rendering of Japan, Nakamura Hikaru does a good job of giving you the slice of life in Japan feel.


Ok. Its kind of hard to judge the characters here. I mean, this is Jesus and Buddha we are talking about here. So its not like we are talking about terribly original characters. With that said I really like the way the two are portrayed. Jesus is the rock star of the duo and apparently the least recognizable at the same time. He has a number one blog on T.V drama, where he uses the online handle of Jesse and constantly turns down Judas’ friend request. He is somewhat self centered, which one has to wonder if that is a commentary on Christianity. And he has a tendency to spend his money frivolously. Buddha is the hard ass of the duo. Depicted as penny pinching and practical, Buddha is the more grounded of the pair. He is regularly recognized as someone who “looks like Buddha” and is always in some impractical situation. The funniest thing about him is the use of his many faces and “Buddha Smile” to get his way.

All in all, Saint Young Men is a relaxed comedy series. There are times the jokes a little bit obtuse. Especially with Japanese pop culture references and jokes about Buddha's life, something we don't learn much about in America. However, there is enough comedy here for everyone. Hence why I am giving Saint Young Men the first
5 out of 5. I like the series that much.

Some Screenshots

Read at

*********I should warn you it has a very irregular release schedule*************

Review Posted by: Sage Gnosis

No comments:

Post a Comment