Throwback Thursday| Saint☆Onii-san (Saint☆Young Men) – A Silly and Light-Hearted Take on Jesus and Buddha

Throwback Thursday| Saint☆Onii-san (Saint☆Young Men) – A Silly and Light-Hearted Take on Jesus and Buddha

Hello loves~ This week is my turn for the Throwback Thursday post! I had a whole list of ideas and was struggling to pick which one. In the end I decided to go with something more happy, light-hearted, and quirky! Today I’ll be talking about a series called 聖セイント☆おにいさん/Saint☆Onii-san (Saint☆Young Men)! I do have to warn you that if you’re very religious Christian/Catholic or Buddhist, you might be offended. You may or may not consider this series sacrilegious/blasphemous. So this may or may not be a post for you.

聖セイント☆おにいさん is a manga series by Nakamura Hikaru, also known for his series 荒川アンダー ザ ブリッジ(Arakawa Under the Bridge). It’s been published by Kodansha, and has been running since September 2006. An OVA with 2 episodes came out in December 2012 – August 2013. An animated film was released in May 2013.  Both were produced by A-1 Pictures. I also just learned (like just now) that a live action drama series will be released this year~ It’s being produced by actor Yamada Takayuki of the Yuusha Yoshihiko series.

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PLOT
Siddhartha Gautama became Buddha, the Enlightened One. Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Their teachings made them predominant figures in religion; Buddhism and Christianity respectively. These two deities have decided to go on vacation in the human world. Out of all the places in the world, they’ve chosen Japan.  They’ve rented an apartment in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Japan. The series follows their everyday adventures as close friends and roommates. They’re of course keeping their divinity a secret as they disguise theirselves as mere mortals. However, it’s been rather difficult seeing as they keep unintentionally performing miracles. 

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Again, those of you who are the strict and religious types may not enjoy this. Being Thai, I identify and grew up in a Theravada Buddhist household. If you didn’t know, religion s woven into alot of the Thai culture as well. Though I identify as Buddhist, I’m not a religious practitioner. I also attended private Catholic school for junior high and high school (because my parents thought it offered a better and safer educational environment). Despite being Buddhist, I had one of the highest grades in religion class. They also had me be a retreat leader once (LOL). The point is that my Buddhist background and familiarity with Christianity actually helped me enjoy this series quite a bit. Honestly, this is one of my favorite slice of life series. I won’t lie. I didn’t expect much, nor did I think I would enjoy it. I randomly picked it up on a whim. When people think of religion, they tend to think it’s a very strict and serious matter. However, this series showed Jesus and Buddha as very chill and fun bros.

CHARACTERS

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Jesus. Jesus Christ. Jesus of Nazareth. He’s the Son of God. He was sent by God to lead humanity to salvation. He’s usually portrayed as a strict, but loving God. In this series, he’s actually very chill. He obviously loves the human world and the different things and experiences here. He’s the one to suggest a vacation to the human world. He gets excited about alot of different things and is eager to do typical touristy things. He’s also a bit of an otaku, and has been running a popular blog. He likes to make jokes, and can be pretty oblivious at times. I’d also say that he’s got a childish personality.

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Buddha. Buddha was once an Indian prince named Siddhartha Gautama. He left his cushy and privileged life to live a life of asceticism. He tried various methods, but eventually reached enlightenment. Buddha is also much more chill in this series. Although, he’s probably seen as the more responsible one out of the two. I say that since he’s the one who seems to handle the finances. He’s not as oblivious as Jesus. Although, he’s proven to not be a fan of thrill rides. Buddha’s odd hobby is that he likes silk screening t-shirts. Basically all the shirts he and Jesus wear were made by him.

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Matsuda Sachiyo. She’s the elderly landlady of Matsuda Heights, the apartment complex where the two deities are staying. She’s a rather strict landlady who enforces several rules. Despite being deities, Jesus and Buddha are awfully anxious and scared of her. The landlady does feel suspicious of the two tenants and finds them a bit strange. However, she always ends up chalking it up to the fact that they’re foreigners. Despite misunderstandings and being so strict, she does show kindness to them. She tries to give something in return for the gifts that she’s been given, and has also brought some food for the two strange tenants.

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Again, it’s a light and fun slice of life series. The idea of anything involving religion tends to be that it’s very strict and serious. However, this shows Jesus and Buddha just enjoying their time in the human world and living among the mortals. Rather than a serious side, it shows them being very chill and comedic. It shows their human side.

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There’s alot of comedy in the series. It’s mostly around Jesus and Buddha keeping their divine identities on the down low. They kind of suck at it though since they seem to unintentionally cause miracles and divine incidents. The recurring gags are Jesus’ stigmata acting up, or his crown of thorns blossoming with flowers. For Buddha, he gets his hella Buddha smile. When he says or thinks something very virtuous, he starts glowing. There’s also some ironic gags here and there.

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Here are some hilarious scenes that I loved from the OVA and movie:

This scene kills me everytime.

 

I honestly love the art and animation in the OVAs and movie. The manga wasn’t bad. However, I was really drawn to how A-1 Pictures handled the animation. This is one of the cases where I probably liked the animation more than the manga. The anime retains the art style of the manga. However, it has a cleaner, yet somewhat softer look than the manga counterpart. My favorite thing is the colors. I loved how the colors were handled here. It’s soft, but it pops out. It creates this beautiful, calming, and simple world.


Again, it’s just a simple story of two divine beings trying to enjoy the simple enjoyments of the human world. Still, I love the bromance between Buddha and Jesus. They make quite the duo and seem like such great friends. It shows that we can all get along despite our differences~ I enjoyed seeing these deities do everyday things like go to an amusement park, celebrate Christmas, or just walk around doing touristy things. Like I said, religion seems to have this serious image. It was nice to see Buddha and Jesus as some chill guys and show a human side. Rather than divine beings seeming out of reach, they seemed like typical young guys that you could relate to or be friends with.

I really adored this series. Of course it’s funnier if you’re a bit more familiar with the background and stories surrounding Jesus and Buddha. However, it’s still enjoyable even if you’re not. It’s only unfortunate that there’s only one animated film and a 2 episode OVA. I really wish there was more. If you’re looking for a chill, funny, and light-hearted slice of life, I definitely recommend this one. And you can all bet that I’ll probably be writing about the live action drama one day~ Have you watched the OVA or movie before? What did you think?

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