May 22, 2015
ratchet573 (All reviews)
Saint Young Men has the kind of premise that you just have to watch no matter what you’re a fan of. Jesus and Buddha are roomies, on vacation in the mystical world of modern Japan, and get into all kind of antics? This could either be really good or really bad.

Thankfully, Saint Young Men is a fun, silly, and in no way painful movie. When you think about Jesus and Buddha starring in a movie together, you instantly think low-brow humor. Religious figures in a comedy film tends to lead to derogatory and easy attacks on the characters, sometimes vitriolic rather than intelligent. Saint Young Men is the kind of comedy movie I’d let a four year old watch. The comedy is accessible to everyone, it has humorous but inoffensive takes on Jesus and Buddha, and it winds up having teachable moments.

The comedy itself ranges from person-in-a-strange-place humor to poking fun at certain stories of the duo. The idea that Jesus can’t swim leads to some hilarious references to Biblical events and I found Buddha’s chanting sutras during a scary theme park ride to be one of the highlights of the film. And as our heroes are assimilating to life in Japan, they encounter a variety of entertaining characters. Jesus winds up being mistaken for a Yakuza big wig in my favorite moment, while Buddha is constantly being picked on by a trio of kids who want to poke his forehead.

While this film is good-natured fun, it has a small problem in the fact it isn’t very cohesive. It’s a slice-of-life that doesn’t have a beginning, nor an end, and jumps about. So for those looking for plot, they’ll be let down. Regardless of whether it is glued together well or not, it’s a very small complaint compared to the amount of fun to be had.

The animation is unique and very pretty, giving off the feeling of being a moving manga. The music is also excellent.

What I really enjoyed were the characters of Buddha and Jesus. Both are very silly, caring, and in any other context I’d think they were homosexual considering how blushy and loving they are (which hasn’t stopped people from drawing yaoi of the two). But as caring figureheads of their respective religions, you get a sense of how much they love people and get along with everyone. What’s even cooler is how much you actually can learn from this film. There are actual teachings to be found here on top of giving an overview of different stories of Buddhism and Christianity.

I’m going to give a pretty high score to this film not only because it is fantastic fun, but also because I feel that it handled itself so well and respectfully. I’m not a religious man myself, but I love to see a movie that doesn’t take sides or exclude anyone. It tackles the subject matter with grace and produces one of the funniest anime movies I’ve ever seen.