Daydream Sanctuary Features

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Flavors: Saint Young Men

Saint Young Men
(Saint Oniisan)
by Nakamura Hikaru
Saint Oniisan is slice-of-life or divine-life, tale of Jesus and Buddha as they try to experience the modern world, in this case, Japan. The manga places a funny twist on religion, attitudes, culture and customs in Japan through the eyes of Jesus and Buddha.
You see Jesus and Buddha experiencing Asakusa, public baths, theme parks, and the internet. Throughout the manga, we get a little history of their divine greatness only to see their apparent insignificance in modern Japanese society. Suffice to say, before people can recognize that they’re actually Jesus and Buddha, people think of them as someone who looks like Johnny Depp or a guy with a button on his forehead. For real. (Baka-Updates)

Any manga that will have something to do with religion stuff will ALWAYS capture my attention. The idea of Jesus and Buddha living in the modern world seemed really interesting! So of course I gave it a try~

Since this is a gag manga, read it for the entertainment, not for SRS BSNS. Extreme religious fanatics will totally not appreciate it. It had been TOO ridiculous at times though, but this manga had really really been very hilarious! Haha!

My favorite part is when a mafia dude had mistaken Jesus for a fellow mafia member because of the scars in his body! Their conversations made it even more convincing that Jesus was some kind of "mafia boss". The other guy thought that he's a mafia guy that got betrayed (by Judas) and was sentenced by the government (religious leaders) but got out of jail (raised from the dead) after three days! Bwahahahaha! I love it when actual religious events had been associated or interpreted differently to something really silly~

But this series had not exactly been an intelligent gag manga most of the time. I mean, not all comedy parts here have actual connections to the religious backgrounds of the two characters. Like, come on, why the hell is Buddha here a manga otaku?! And Jesus a cosplayer? It's hilarious but it's just too . . . bizarre . . .

The main characters have not really been in-character in my opinion. I get it that this is a gag manga, and their personalities don't have to be 100% accurate to the religious people they represent . . . but still! They're religious figures! Try to be as close to the original people as much as possible. Buddha wishing to have animals become mean to him just felt so wrong . . .

So yeah, I'm not totally impressed with the characterizations since it didn't feel like "Jesus and Buddha living in the modern world" but more like about "two idiots who happen to have the appearances and similar backgrounds with Buddha and Jesus doing really stupid things". The two main characters here also seem like Japanophile tourists. They had been into cosplaying, manga drawing, going to Japanese festivals, craving for Japanese food, etc. That's just . . . duuuuh. Is Japan that addicting?

But not all the silly stuff here had been that bad. I like the idea of Jesus not being able to swim. There wasn't any mention in the bible that he swam, and baptism doesn't require swimming. It's funny that the references on the scene of him walking on water and the miracle of making a path from a big body of water to emphasize more that Jesus doesn't exactly swim on water. Haha! It's not religiously accurate of course, but the references used to make that joke was really good, in my opinion. Haha!

Another thing that amused me so much with this manga is the Death Note reference! Wahahaha! this series is such a parody! I hope it makes more parodies aside from religion-related ones~ And also the part with Buddha complaining that his images are usually of him looking fat and Jesus complaining his images usually being bloody and depressing. Haha! I like how the manga had made fun of those common yet unquestioned/mysterious practices in religion. Haha!

This manga had been really funny, but some are a little bothersome or disturbing. Like, I think I saw a scene of these two holding hands. Is this manga gay? I don't think so, or maybe it was just for comedy . . . but still!!! And Jesus also does . . .glomping . . .WTF?! I am disturbed and amused at the same time . . .

Overall, the story idea had been really unique! It may be pretty controversial, but this is a gag manga, and hilarious insanity has no bounderies. Wahahaha! Though I think it would be more interesting if they use Mohammed as Jesus' partner in this series instead of Buddha, or perhaps make them a trio. Islam is a famous . . . errr . . . rival of Christianity. So I wish the mangaka used him instead, but what we have so far is not that bad.

Though there are some parts that got me really impressed, overall I didn't find it that exceptional. I wish most of its jokes had actual religious connections, but most of them are just simply dumb. Too bad it didn't seem to be as good as I expected it to be, but it had been a fun read and I really like it!

I don't think people who are picky on art will appreciate this though. Much more on religious zealots (such idiots will think this manga is blasphemous . . . *faceplam*). But if you get entertained on really ridiculous stuff and want to try out a series that is different/unique, then I highly recommend this~

Sapphire Pyro
READ: 1 volume out of 1 scanlated volume of a 2 volume ongoing manga
VERDICT: Following but Non-Priority
Has religion stuff? Plot seems crazy yet interesting? I'm IN!
It's crazier than I expected; but not as impressive as I expected.
It was really hilarious though! I'm amused~ I like this manga a lot~
There was an error in this gadget