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Saint Young Men

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Saint Young Men
Saint Young Men Vol01 Cover.jpg
Cover of first volume as published by Kodansha
聖☆おにいさん
(Seinto Oniisan)
Genre Comedy, slice of life
Manga
Written by Hikaru Nakamura
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Seinen
Magazine Morning 2
Original run September 22, 2006 – ongoing
Volumes 11
Original animation DVD
Directed by Noriko Takao
Written by Rika Nezu
Music by Keiichi Suzuki, Ryomei Shirai
Studio A-1 Pictures
Released December 3, 2012 – ongoing
Episodes 2
Anime film
Directed by Noriko Takao
Written by Rika Nezu
Music by Keiichi Suzuki, Ryomei Shirai
Studio A-1 Pictures
Released May 10, 2013 (2013-05-10TJapan)
Runtime 90 minutes
Anime and Manga portal

Saint Young Men (Japanese: (セイント)☆おにいさん Hepburn: Seinto Oniisan?) is a Japanese slice of life comedy manga series written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura. Its plot involves Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, who are living as roommates in an apartment in Tokyo. It has been serialized by Kodansha in the monthly seinen manga magazine Morning 2 since September 2006, with chapters collected in eleven tankōbon volumes. A-1 Pictures adapted the manga series into two original animation DVDs (OADs) and an anime film which was released on May 10, 2013.

In Japan, the Saint Young Men manga has sold over 10 million copies. Individual volumes of the series have frequently appeared on lists of the weekly and annual best-seller manga in Japan. It received a Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize and was nominated at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Its film adaptation has been well received by the Japanese public.

Overview[edit]

Jesus Christ (イエス・キリスト Iesu Kirisuto?, voiced by Mirai Moriyama in the anime[1]) and Gautama Buddha (ゴータマ・ブッダ Gōtama Budda?, voiced by Gen Hoshino in the anime[1]), the founders of Christianity and Buddhism respectively, are living together as roommates in an apartment in Tachikawa, part of the suburbs of Tokyo. While taking a vacation on Earth, they attempt to hide their identities and understand modern Japanese society. Each chapter shows their lives during an average day, when they are sightseeing, drinking beer, blogging, or playing video games.[2][3]

While Jesus is portrayed as an impassioned person for his love for all (even for shopping), Buddha tends to be calm and thrifty, and also likes manga.[2][4] The comedy often involves visual gags and puns, as well as jokes in reference to elements of Christianity and Buddhism; for example, Jesus creates wine from water in a public bath and Buddha shines when excited.[2]

Production[edit]

Before writing Saint Young Men, Hikaru Nakamura was working on Arakawa Under the Bridge, which started to be serialized on December 3, 2004, in the first issue of Square Enix's manga magazine Young Gangan.[5] It attracted the attention of an editor of the magazine Weekly Morning, who wanted Nakamura to publish a series for the magazine.[6] She accepted the offer because of her admiration for Kaiji Kawaguchi's works, such as Zipang and The Silent Service, that were serialized in Weekly Morning.[6] The series' title is derived from a song by Denki Groove and Scha Dara Parr called "Saint Ojisan" (聖☆おじさん Seinto Ojisan?, literally "Saint Old Man").[7] Starting from sketches of two friends wearing casual shirts, she conceived the idea of portraying Jesus and Buddha as average people.[6]

Nakamura envisioned a comedy manga in which the protagonist would be a "very very powerful character", and realized a divine character would fit this premise.[8] She first planned Jesus to be a character in the series, but to make the gags work well, Buddha was added to the series. Their opposing personalities was inspired by Nakamura's sister and her sister's husband; by observing their relationship, she saw some amusing situations.[8] She also saw a resemblance between her version of Buddha and Osamu Tezuka's version.[9]

Despite the religious references in the series, Nakamura stated she used only her personal knowledge and some aspects of modern society, such as yakuza and blogging, which were not intended to be critical but were added because they fit the story.[8] Similarly, secondary characters were only introduced in the series if a chapter needed a new character to introduce a topic. The themes of the chapters were created before the situations and jokes. However, if Nakamura had a specific theme, she created several jokes and then connected them to form a story. When creating a simpler chapter as compared to the more elaborate, thematic ones, she wrote without worrying about creating jokes and situations in advance. With the help of her four assistants, on average she took between ten days and two weeks to make a complete chapter.[8]

Media[edit]

Manga[edit]

Saint Young Men, written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura, began its serialization in Kodansha's seinen manga magazine Morning 2 on September 26, 2006.[10] The series was put on hiatus between September 22, 2011, and March 22, 2012, because of Nakamura's pregnancy.[11][12] Its first tankōbon (collected volume) was released by Kodansha on January 23, 2008, and the eleventh volume was published on February 23, 2015.[13][14] A guidebook was released on April 23, 2013.[15]

The series has been translated in other languages, including Chinese by Tong Li Publishing,[16] French by Kurokawa,[17] Italian by J-Pop,[18] and Spanish by Norma Editorial.[19] Ed Chavez, editor of the American publisher Vertical, contacted the Japanese licensor of the series to request its publishing in North America. The Japanese licensor of the series refused to allow it to be published in North America, because it was thought that Americans might take offense to it.[20]

Volume list[edit]

No. Japanese release date Japanese ISBN
1 January 23, 2008[13] ISBN 978-4-06-372662-6
2 July 23, 2008[21] ISBN 978-4-06-372720-3
3 March 23, 2009[22] ISBN 978-4-06-372784-5
4 October 23, 2009[23] ISBN 978-4-06-372842-2
5 May 24, 2010[24] ISBN 978-4-06-372906-1
6 December 24, 2010[25] ISBN 978-4-06-372962-7
7 October 21, 2011[26] ISBN 978-4-06-387026-8
8 December 3, 2012[27] ISBN 978-4-06-387168-5
9 August 23, 2013[28] ISBN 978-4-06-387232-3
10 May 23, 2014[29] ISBN 978-4-8124-5333-9
11 February 23, 2015[14] ISBN 978-4-06-388434-0

Anime[edit]

The production of an anime film was first announced in issue No. 44 of Weekly Morning.[30] Before the film release, a guidebook to the film was published on April 30, 2013.[31] The film was directed by Noriko Takao and written by Rika Nezu. Its characters were designed by Naoyuki Asano and the music was composed by Keiichi Suzuki and Ryomei Shirai.[32] The film was produced by Aniplex, Kodansha and Toho, was animated by A-1 Pictures, and distributed by Toho.[32] It premiered in Japan on May 10, 2013.[1] Its soundtrack was published by Aniplex on May 8, 2013.[33] Later, on October 23, 2013, it was released in DVD and Blu-ray formats.[34] In addition to the film, the same staff produced an original animation DVD (OAD) that was released along with the eight manga volume.[32] A second OAD was released along with the ninth volume.[35]

In an interview with NHK World, the staff for the anime noted that they wanted to stay loyal to the artwork of the manga while creating the movie.[36] They decided to focus more on the art and character designs, and decided to give it a "sketched" look, instead of the traditional "bold, dark lines" typically used. All the shadows were colored by pencils, sometimes even scribbled to make sure that the "sketched" look came through. Like the manga, the anime film also recreates various attractions of Tachikawa, including the Showa Memorial Park.[36]

Reception[edit]

Manga[edit]

Saint Young Men received the 2009 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Short Work Manga.[37] The 2009 edition of Takarajimasha's guidebook Kono Manga ga Sugoi!, which surveys people in the manga and publishing industry, named it the best manga series for male readers.[38] It was nominated for the category "Best Comic" at the Angoulême International Comics Festival.[30] As the result of its popularity, issues of Morning 2 started selling out on newsstands; because of this, in May 2009 Kodansha began making the magazine available online the day it is published.[39] It has been among the top 20 of best-selling manga series in Japan in 2009, 2011 and 2013.[40][41][42] All individual volumes appeared on lists of the 50 best-selling manga of their respective year in Japan.[43][44][45][46][47] By May 2013, the manga had sold about 10 million copies in Japan.[36] The manga was also displayed at the British Museum in 2011.[36] In 2014, The Daily Dot reported a growing Western fandom that spread various Tumblr GIFs of the series.[4]

Comics writer Paul Gravett chose it as one of the best comics of Japan in 2008,[48] while writers Shaenon Garrity and Jason Thompson elected it as one of the most wanted titles for licensing in 2010.[49] Japanese manga critic Kaoru Nagayama has noted that the manga is "fun to read" and commended Arakawa for keeping Jesus and Buddha faithful to their real character—of kindness—even when confronted by evil.[36] Carlo Santos from Anime News Network criticized it for its art and questioned its capacity to evolve into something other than "Jesus and Buddha hanging out, while normal people do embarrassing things to them". Santos complained that Jesus' and Buddha's philosophical differences and personalities are not explored. However, Santos praised the series' comedy, noting its simplicity and saying, "its brilliance comes not from purposely trivializing two of the world's great religions, but by highlighting the quirks of the secular world when these famous religious figures are placed in it". According to him, the series does not lose its capacity of making readers laugh as it progress, unlike other manga.[3] Jolyon Baraka Thomas of The Guardian praised the constancy of "visual gags and puns", and wrote: "Her story is not an introduction to abstruse religious doctrines, nor does it feature much overt commentary on the role of religions in contemporary society."[2]

Film[edit]

The anime film adaptation of Saint Young Men debuted at number nine in Japanese theaters, grossing ¥49,930,836 (US$491,369) on 75 screens.[50] In the subsequent weekends it decreased on its placement from nine to eleven,[51] and then to twelve,[52] closing its run with ¥300 million yen ($1,888,062) grossed.[53][54] Its DVD release ranked seventh on its first week on the list of best-selling anime DVDs in Japan, dropping to twenty-ninth place on its second week on the list.[55][56]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Saint Young Men Anime Film Slated for May 10". Anime News Network. November 17, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d Thomas, Jolyon Baraka (December 22, 2010). "What would Jesus and Buddha do … on holiday?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Santos, Carlo (April 27, 2010). "Little Twin Stars - Right Turn Only!!". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia (January 10, 2014). "The Internet is obsessed with an anime about Jesus and Buddha as roommates". The Daily Dot. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ "創刊号【2004.12.17号】 | バックナンバー | ヤングガンガン" (in Japanese). Square Enix. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c "Manga no Hi Part 1". Archived from the original on July 2, 2008. Retrieved July 22, 2015.  Also included: Part 2 (Archived from the original on May 27, 2008) and Part 3 (Archived from the original on July 2, 2008).
  7. ^ Rockin'on (Tokyo: Rockin'on inc.). November 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Nakamura Hikaru - Interview" (in French). Manga-News. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
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  10. ^ "モーニング2 vol.1". Morning (in Japanese). Archived from the original on July 10, 2007. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Saint Young Men Manga Put on Hold Due to Pregnancy". Anime News Network. August 22, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Saint Young Men Manga to Resume in March". Anime News Network. February 21, 2012. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b 聖☆おにいさん (1) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on November 8, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  14. ^ a b 聖☆おにいさん(11) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved April 12, 2015. 
  15. ^ 聖☆おにいさん コミックガイド [Saint Young Men Comic guide] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ 《聖哥傳》中村光 (in Chinese). Tong Li Publishing. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Les Vacances de Jésus et Bouddha - T1" (in French). Kurokawa. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Saint Young Men 001" (in Italian). J-Pop. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Las vacaciones de Jesús y Buda" (in Spanish). Norma Editorial. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  20. ^ Thompson, Jason (October 14, 2010). "Jesus - Jason Thompson's House of 1000 Manga". Anime News Network. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
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  23. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(4) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  24. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(5) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  25. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(6) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  26. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(7) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  27. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(8) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  28. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(9) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved December 10, 2014. 
  29. ^ 聖☆おにいさん(10) (in Japanese). Kodansha. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  30. ^ a b "Saint Young Men Comedy Manga Gets Anime Film". Anime News Network. 2012-09-26. Retrieved September 26, 2012. 
  31. ^ アニメ映画『聖☆おにいさん』公式ガイド [Anime Film "Saint Young Men" Official guide] (in Japanese). Kodansha. Archived from the original on November 7, 2014. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  32. ^ a b c "Saint Young Men Manga's Anime DVD, Film Staff Revealed". Anime News Network. September 26, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  33. ^ "ミュージック | 聖おにいさん" (in Japanese). Saint023.com. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2013. 
  34. ^ 聖☆おにいさん [Saint Young Men] (in Japanese). Aniplex. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  35. ^ "聖☆おにいさん9巻、映画のその後描いたアニメDVD付きも" [Saint Young Men Vol. 9, also anime DVD drawn after the film]. Comic Natalie. August 23, 2013. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  36. ^ a b c d e "Saint Young Men! Creator's Interview". Imagine-Nation. Episode 10 (in Japanese). May 21, 2013. Event occurs at 11:30 AM (EDT). NHK World. 
  37. ^ "13th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize Winners Announced (Updated)". Anime News Network. April 19, 2009. Retrieved March 7, 2010. 
  38. ^ 注目映画紹介 :「聖☆おにいさん」 イエスとブッダが“奇跡”的な笑いを繰り広げる. Mainichi Shimbun Digital (in Japanese). May 11, 2013. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  39. ^ "Morning 2 Mag Posted Online for Free on Shipping Date". Anime News Network. May 21, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  40. ^ "2009's Top-Selling Manga in Japan, by Series". Anime News Network. December 4, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  41. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series: 2011". Anime News Network. November 30, 2011. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  42. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Series: 2013". Anime News Network. December 1, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  43. ^ "2009 Japanese Comic Ranking, #1-25". Anime News Network. December 3, 2009. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  44. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Volume: 2010 (Part 1)". Anime News Network. November 30, 2010. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  45. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Volume: 2011". Anime News Network. November 30, 2011. Retrieved November 12, 2013. 
  46. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Volume: 2013". Anime News Network. December 1, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  47. ^ "Top-Selling Manga in Japan by Volume: 2014". Anime News Network. January 2, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  48. ^ Gravett, Paul. "PG Tips No. 24: The Best of 2008 Part 3 - An International Perspective". paulgravett.com. Archived from the original on September 15, 2009. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  49. ^ Aoki, Deb (2010). "2010 Comic-Con Best and Worst Manga Panel". About.com. Retrieved August 5, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Japanese Box Office, May 11-12". Anime News Network. May 19, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  51. ^ "Japanese Box Office, May 18-19". Anime News Network. June 2, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  52. ^ "Japanese Box Office, May 25-26". Anime News Network. June 9, 2013. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  53. ^ "2013年 日本映画・外国映画業界総決算". Kinema Junpo (1656): 198. February 2014. 
  54. ^ "2013 Japan Yearly Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 13, 2013. 
  55. ^ "Japan's Animation DVD Ranking, October 21-27". Anime News Network. October 29, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 
  56. ^ "Japan's Animation DVD Ranking, October 28 - November 3". Anime News Network. November 5, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013. 

External links[edit]