Nov 22, 2008
Archaeon (All reviews)

a) Easily offended
b) Studiously religious in either Christianity or Bhuddism
c) Consider any humour about religion or religiousicons to be blasphemous
d) An idiot who won't get the joke

Moving on swiftly......

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. That's what this manga is. Very, very, wrong, but in such a deliciously divisive, amazingly anarchic, furiously funny, and exceptionally entertaining way.

Saint Young Men is a manga by Nakamura Hikaru that was serialised in Kodansha's Morning 2 manga magazine in 2007.

Okay, the basic concept is that after the turn of the millenium, Jesus and Buddha decide to take a break from the heavenly lifestyle (and ensuring the world didn't end), and return to earth for a while on an extended vacation. They end up sharing an apartment in Japan, and are slowly becoming familiar with the vibrant new world of the 21st century.

The story is basically slice of life, but with a very surreal, and very humourous difference. Don't expect this to be anything like YKK, Aqua or Aria. This is a devilishly different slice of life manga, and because of it's twisted take on such iconic figures, it may offend a number of people who read it. Thankfully, I'm not one of those people as I'm not easily offended and I like my humour to be a little more warped than normal.

The art style is very clean, and quite detailed. The backdrops, scenery, towns, etc, are all very detailed and well drawn. The character designs are very well done, although Buddha and Jesus are fairly limited design wise (Jesus wears a crown of thorns and Buddha's hair is like a statue's). Even with this though, Nakamura has managed to breathe life into the characters, making them by turns inquisitive, caring, joyful, terrified, etc, etc. The characters display awide variety of emotions that are easily readable without any text or sound effects - a testament to Nakamura's ability to draw exressions.

As far as character's go, one would think that Jesus and Buddhawould be fairly limited. Not so! They are comedy characters par excellence, and the two mesh extremely well as they spend their days just loitering around and generally hanging out. The side characters haven'tall been introduced yet though, so I can't comment on them, but the two main characters are strongenough to drive the story forward without the need for support.

This is a great series to read if you're bored or justlooking for something new and funny. It is to manga, what Gintama is to anime, and the manga pays homage to Gintama by lscattering references here and there. Osamu Tezuka's Buddha also gets mentioned, ironically enough.

It's rare for me to rave about a manga or anime, but this is one of the few occasions where I'll make my judgement based on 3 chapters. This is an exceptionally funny take on the slice of life genre, and even though it may offend some people, I would heartily recommend it to anyone.

If Jesus and Buddha were as cool in RL as they are in the mange, then we'd all be following them already :)