Saint Young Men
|Saint Young Men|
|Written by||Hikaru Nakamura|
Sum it up in a Sentence:
Buddha and Jesus share an apartment in Tachikawa, Tokyo taking a secret vacation to the mortal plane.
After the hustle and bustle of wrapping up the millenium, Jesus Christ (the son of God) and Gautama Buddha (the enlightened one) decide to take a well earned vacation. Sharing an apartment in urban Japan, Jesus' all-compassionate nature often clashes with Buddha's serious asceticism. The two have various adventures as they handle life in modern Japan, hide their divinity, and deal with the occasional doting attempts from heaven.
Saint Young Men received the 2009 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Short Work Manga.
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You know, you'd think a concept like this would be offensive. Japan has a tendency afterall to take an idea for a plot and run with it, potential offense be damned. Saint Young Men is a rather hilarious and entertaining comedy manga, but at the same time it is utterly inoffensive; it's almost bizarre just how respectful the portrayal ends up being for a gag manga. It's just a story about Buddha and Jesus hanging out, being occasionally silly friends, and having funny antics involving their past lives and their personalities while also dealing with strangeness in modern capitalist and democratic Japan. Young Japanese school girls think Jesus looks like Johnny Depp. Buddha struggles with how all the statues of him are when he's either starving to death or incredibly fat. You have hilarious "Odd Couple" stuff like Buddha trying to figure out how the hell he can throw a surprise birthday party for Jesus given, well you know... Christmas ("And it's not even a Christian country!").
Frankly, it's a hilarious manga that I wish was more popular. If you're a fundamentalist Christian or Buddhist, it may bother you for its levity in its portrayals of such figures, but if you're not you'll pretty much love it no matter if you're Christian or Buddhist or Atheist or whatever. You don't have to know entirely much about either religion to enjoy it either.
TWO THUMBS UP.