Manga of the Month: Saint Young Men

Saint Young Men (聖☆おにいさん) by Hikaru Nakamura

Sometimes comedy that has gone completely off the map is the best comedy of all. Saint Young Men follows the misadventures of Jesus and Buddha who have come to Japan and have taken an apartment to get away from their boring lives. If that doesn’t sound like a bizarre one-shot webcomic the internet would make up, then you aren’t well versed enough.

Saint Young Men is absurdist at full-throtle though when looking at manga-ka Hikaru Nakamura’s work on Arakawa Under the Bridge, one knows she’s had a lot of practice. Jesus and Buddha are experiencing the modern world in a new way and they are both kind of spazes for obvious reasons. They also have an odd couple relationship that gets them angry with each other and living together. Exploring the outside world is just as entertaining like when Buddha melodramatically laments that everyone is obsessed with his “fat period” when seeing all the statues about or the fact that when Jesus gets upset his stigmata acts up. This story pushes the limits of comedy combined with religion and the insignificance that worship can play in modern society.

So now I’ve got two wishes, 1) for this to be licensed of course and 2) for it to be turned into a delightful anime.


Ongoing Investigations: Case #048

I picked up a copy of No Girls Allowed from the MoCCA Arts Fest. After hearing a bit about it online, I was pleasantly surprised to see the artist there selling copies along with some of her other work. The price was less than the intended amount and how could I resist an anthology of real cross-dressing women throughout the ages. I had also not heard of many of them which is certainly a tip of the hat to the book. Eventhough all the stories are written by the same author and then drawn by the same artist, some are much better than others. The story of James Barry a female doctor was by far the most developed and Esther Brandeau was also good while Ellen Craft seemed to have the least fleshing out leaving you wanting. The stories are made for a young audience and I think that is important to know going in. Overall, I learned a bit and was also entertained so my 8 bucks was well spent.

Disappearance Diary is an autobiographical manga by Hideo Azuma, the man often considered the the father of lolicon. He tells stories from four very different times in his life. We see him when he was homeless, when he worked as a pipe-fitter, when he worked as a mangaka, and when he was in a rehab clinic. Hideo gives us a sneak peek into his life during many times in which he was at his lowest. He mentions right off the bat that he is going to focus of the humorous and interesting parts of the bad times. It helps keep what would otherwise be a bleak and depressing manga enjoyable and lighthearted. Overall the aim of the manga is to entertain you while showing why he had to run away from being a mangaka and what the results of the decisions he made were. The art is simple and cartoony which has a distinctly retro feel. Disappearance Diary shows you that you can tell a powerful story (and a true story) while still being fun and light. This is an amazing manga that everyone should read. As a side note, the more I learn about manga the more I have to tip my hat to any mangaka. The lifestyle seems amazingly harsh. Even if I had the skill and opportunity to be one I’m not sure I would have the strength. I recently found out there is a sequel called the Depression Dairy. I am curious to pick that up as well.

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