Saint Young Men is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura. Its plot involves Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha who are best friends on a vacation. They are living as roommates in an apartment in Japan after looking all over the world for a holiday destination. This Saint Young Men Review is a look into how these great figures would act if they were here right now. Also, do read my other review on Words Bubble Up Like Soda Pop Review which I think is another terrific anime on Netflix.
The Anime has two episodes (that I know of) and a Movie. I watched them all in one go, as I could not get enough of it. But before I go a little deeper about this wonderful anime, I would like to thank the Neotakus team who showed me the way to this anime and led me to enlightenment.
First, let’s talk about the anime design of their characters and BG. The sketched look that the anime has is brilliant. It really made the anime funnier, and it made the characters believable. It really feels like I was transported into the creator’s head. The fact that the protagonist of this anime is Jesus–the son of God and Buddha- the enlightened one, it was necessary for the design team to really think about the style of the animation and kudos to them, they did it. Basically, they made Jesus and Buddha believable.
Have you heard the Joan Osborne Song “What if God was one of Us”. This song came to mind when I was looking at this anime. And I think as I’ve listened to this song a hundred times before, I have tried to imagine how would god live life on earth. This anime captured perfectly in my opinion a concept of how god/s would have behaved on earth and their adapting to human life.
Saint oniisan, I believe, is one of the best anime comedies that I have seen. It did not feel too intense and had a very relaxed tone to it. I think even a non-anime viewer would enjoy this.
As a Christian myself, the jokes, I thought were perfectly blended. They weren’t offensive and were quite family friendly. In the anime, the explanation of how modern baptism came to being had me rolling on the ground. There was a hilarious bit when Jesus was boasting to Buddha how some girls in the supermarket thought he looked like Johnny Depp and Buddha wanting the same appreciation also went but people just thought of him as Buddha. He was happy though.
The only boring bit of the anime was the kids and their obsession with hitting Buddha. But apart from that, the struggle of this weird pairing on how they go about or react to an average day and try to enjoy their vacation is packed with hilarious dialogues and witty jokes. Since both of them have to hide their identities but would have a halo glowing above their heads when they do or say something virtuous makes it especially funny. This also means when they have to say or think something un-virtuous because it goes against their nature and they both fear what the Bigger Guy upstairs would do. Apart from the big boss man, Jesus and Buddha fear only one other person, their landlord and there are a few funny scenes about that relationship too.
Saint Young men is a very funny and witty anime. I cannot speak on it further without revealing the wit within the anime so I will leave it to everyone to enjoy it themselves. It may also be a hit and miss to some especially if they’re a religious nut, as they may not get the humour behind it or if they take offense to the idea and concept of the anime. But in my opinion, it is hilarious and well written without being aggressive or judgemental as it pokes fun at religion without actually being offensive.
It is a pretty chill, good-natured kind of comedy that is refreshing and original. And I look forward to more of this type of comedy anime.
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Feature image: Saints Young Men. (c) Hikaru Nakamura/ Saints Young Men Production committee