Saint Young Men
|Saint Young Men|
Cover of Saint Young Men first volume as published by Kodansha
|Genre||Comedy, Slice of life story|
|Written by||Hikaru Nakamura|
|Original run||2006 – ongoing|
|Original video animation|
|Directed by||Noriko Takao|
|Written by||Rika Nezu|
|Music by||Keiichi Suzuki, Ryomei Shirai|
|Released||December 3, 2012 – ongoing|
|Directed by||Noriko Takao|
|Written by||Rika Nezu|
|Music by||Keiichi Suzuki, Ryomei Shirai|
|Released||May 10, 2013|
Saint Young Men (Japanese: 聖☆おにいさん Hepburn: Seinto Onīsan ) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura. It revolves around Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha as they live in an apartment as roommates in Tokyo. It has been serialized by Kodansha in the monthly seinen manga magazine Morning 2 since 2006, with chapters collected in eight tankōbon volumes as of August 2013[update]. A-1 Pictures adapted it into two original video animation (OVA), and into an anime film which was released on May 10, 2013.
In Japan, the Saint Young Men manga has sold over 9.5 million as of May 2013. Individual volumes of the series has been placed various times in the best-selling manga there; frequently placing among the best-selling of a year. It received a Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize, and was nominated in the Angoulême International Comics Festival. Its film adaptation has been well received by public as well.
Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha, the founders of Christianity and Buddhism, are living together as roommates in a Tachikawa, Tokyo apartment while taking a vacation on Earth. The comedy often involves jokes about Christianity, Buddhism, and all things related, as well as the main characters' attempts to hide their identities and understand modern society in Japan. Each chapter shows how they go about or react to an average day, though they also go sightseeing or visit amusement parks.
- Jesus Christ (イエス・キリスト Iesu Kirisuto )
- Jesus is portrayed as a care-free, generous, and humorous "sei-jin" (聖人=holy man or 成人=adult in Japanese). Unlike Buddha, who is very strict about the relationship between him and his disciples, Jesus is very friendly to his apostles. But because Jesus is even nice to Judas, this makes Buddha worry. The residents of Heaven are overly protective of Jesus and will sometimes attempt to intervene to save Jesus if they hear his cries, even if they were from riding a roller-coaster. As a holy figure, Jesus' head will shine with a halo if he does or says something especially virtuous. Whenever Jesus' emotions are at a high or low peak (due to finding something funny or being scared), miracles may happen unexpectedly. Jesus is a devout follower of drama shows, and reviews them on his online blog. He is voiced by Mirai Moriyama in the anime.
- Gautama Buddha (ゴータマ・ブッダ Gōtama Budda )
- Buddha is portrayed as a calm, rational, and kind "sei-jin". However, he tends to be very tight with money. When Buddha sees things too seriously, he is often "saved" by Jesus’ care-free simplicity. But when the same care-free nature appears as Jesus being an impulse buyer, it often irritates Buddha. When his anger shows, often as a result of Jesus' antics, his head will start to shine with a halo and increasing in brightness until Jesus either calms him down or apologizes. His head can also glow if Buddha says anything especially virtuous, upon which he will have to do something to lower his virtue. Ever since Buddha spent a night in a manga cafe, he has become a follower of Osamu Tezuka's works such as the one about himself. He is voiced by Gen Hoshino in the anime.
- Non-human animals
- Non-human animals (especially cats) of all kinds frequently appear before Jesus and Buddha due to their concerns to help the two holy figures as much as they can, such as shielding them from rain right to the point of attempting to sacrifice themselves as food if the two are hungry, much to the horror of both.
Hikaru Nakamura has started to serialize Arakawa Under the Bridge on December 3, 2004 in the first issue of Square Enix's Young Gangan. Ocasionally, it aroused the attention of a Weekly Morning's editor who wanted to Nakamura to publish a series on the magazine. She accepted it due to her admiration for Kaiji Kawaguchi's works such as Zipang and The Silent Service that were serialized on the magazine. The series' title is derived from a Denki Groove and Scha Dara Parr song called Saint Ojisan (聖☆おじさん). Starting from scratches of two friends wearing casual shirts, she eventually conceived the idea of Jesus and Buddha as everyman people. Nakamura envisioned a comedy manga where the protagonist would be a "very very powerful character", and realized soon a divine character would fit perfect on this premise. She first planned Jesus to be a character in the series, but in order to do the gags work well, Budda was added to the series, Their opposite personalities was influenced by her sister, who is "really manic", and by her sister's husband, who is "more relaxed". By observing their everyday relationship, she saw some pretty funny situations.
Despite the religious references in the series, Nakamura stated she used only her personal knowledgement. Also, some deciption of mordern society's aspects such as yakuza and blogging was not intended to be critical instead they were added only because they fit in the story. Similary, secondary characters were only introduced in the series if a chapter needs a new character to introduce a topic. The theme of a chapter in its turn were created before the situation and gags. However, if she had a specific theme she created several gags then connected them to form a story. On other hand, when creating "a more relaxed chapter", where it does not happen much and we just follow Jesus and Buddha in their banal daily or talking, she wrote it without prepare. Regardless of that, with the help of her four assistants, on the average, she took two weeks to make a chapter.
Saint Young Men, written and illustrated by Hikaru Nakamura, had it first chapter published in the Kodansha's seinen manga mazine Morning 2 in 2006. On September 22, 2011, it was put on hiatus due to Nakamura's pregnancy. After her child born, she returned to serialize the series on March 22, 2012. Its first tankōbon (collected volume) was released by Kodansha on January 23, 2008, and the latest volume, the ninth, was published on August 23, 2013. Also, a guidebook of the series was released on April 23, 2003.
Ed Chavez, editor of the American publisher Vertical, contacted the Japanese licensor of the series to its publishing in the North America. However, the licensor refused it arguing he doesn't want it to be released in America "until the readership changes here".
The production of an anime film was first announced in issue #44 of Weekly Morning. Before the its release, on April 30, 2013, a film's guidebook was published. The film was directed by Noriko Takao, written by Rika Nezu, with characters design by Naoyuki Asano, and music composed by Keiichi Suzuki, and Ryomei Shirai. Produced by Aniplex, Kodansha and Toho, it was animated by A-1 Pictures, and distributed by Toho. It premiered in Japan on May 10, 2013. Its soundtrack was published by Aniplex on May 8, 2013. Later, on October 23, 2013, it was released in DVD and Blu-ray format. In addition to the film, the same staff produced an original video animation (OVA), that was released along with the eight manga volume. A second OVA was released along with the ninth volume.
Saint Young Men received the 2009 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Short Work Manga. It was nominated for the Angoulême International Comics Festival in the category "Best Comic". 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. As of May 2013[update], it has sold over 9.5 million copies. Saint Young Men was the tenth best-selling manga series in Japan of 2009, selling over 2.6 million copies, the sixteenth best of 2011, selling 2.5 million, and the eighteenth best of 2013, selling 2.4 million. All individual volumes appeared on the lists of 50 best-selling manga of the year; one and two placed 48th and 46th respectively in 2008; three and four were the 17th and 23th in 2009; five was the 20th in 2010; volumes six and seven were 14th and 19th in 2011; and eight and nine were 24th and 39th in 2013.
Carlo Santos from Anime News Network 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." Santos praised the fact that the series does not loses its steam as it progress unlike other manga, calling it a "truly 'divine' comedy". On other hand, he criticized it for its art, and questioned its capacity to evolve to something different from "Jesus and Buddha hanging out, while normal people do embarrassing things to them". Santos complained the fact Jesus and Buddha's philosophical differences and personalities are not explored.
Saint Young Men anime film adaptation debuted at number nine in Japanese theaters, grossing ¥49,930,836 (US$491,369) on 75 screens. In its second weekend it grossed ¥34,903,192 (US$346,743) and ranked eleventh at the box office. It decreased a position at the box office during its third weekend, when it earned ¥27,497,830 (US$274,758). The film closed its run with $1,888,062 grossed. Its DVD release ranked seventh on its first week in the list of best-selling anime DVDs in Japan, dropping to the 29th place on the second week it remained in the list.
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