25 Days of Manga, Day 12 of 25 – Saint Young Men Vol. 3 (Review)

Publisher: Kodansha Comics

Author/Artist: Hikaru Nakamura

Translators: Alethea & Athena Nibley

Letterer/Touch-up: Lys Blakeslee

Editor: Nathaniel Gallant

Cover: Phil Balsman

Genre: Comedy, Fiction

Rating: T (Teen/13+)

Release Date: 09/01/2020

MSRB: US $23.99 / CAN $31.99

Reviewer’s Note: I eagerly borrowed this copy of Saint Young Men Vol. 3 from my local, public library. No review copy was provided. All manga reviews are spoiler-free and image-free unless noted in the review. Opinions are my own.

Here’s something new: I’m reading volume three of something! That something is, of course, Saint Young Men Vol. 3, the third omnbus released from Kodansha. This contains volumes five and six of the manga in one neat, hardcover collection, and goodness: is this a beautiful cover!

I’ve actually been following this manga since the beginning, though I’m sad to say my volume one was lost in transit from Japan to America. Still, when I saw this on my loca library’s shelves, all my woe over this book getting lost went away since, like… new Saint Young Men omnibus! How could I be sad at that?

That being said, I’m ready to dish about the latest antics of Jesus and Buddha, so… let’s get into my review!

Saint Young Men Omnibus Vol. 3 continues Buddha and Jesus’ romp through the streets of Tokyo. In this omnibus volume, we see them visit Tokyo Tower, play some sports, and continue to refine one of their most hilarious hobbies: their two-man comedy act. All this is backset by their fairly mundane life as foreigners in Japan.

This omnibus doesn’t dissappoint: it’s packed with comedic peeks into Jesus and Buddha’s daily life. Whether it’s accidentally ascending to heaven via Tokyo Tower’s elevator, these good boys considering buying a bike, archangels talking about the fact that they don’t poop or the boys getting roped into being volunteer firefighters, you’re in for a real good time with these two goofy gods. Honestly, this series is such a pleasant read every single time. 

It’s also packed with translator’s notes between each chapter, which continues to be a treat, especially since the translators may or may not be compensated for that extra work. I truly appreciate Alethea & Athena Nibley for all the hard work they pack into each set of endnotes. I’m a big fan of their translation work, so I’m really glad to celebrate their hard work.

Saint Young Men Vol. 3 is also also downright hilarious, and had me in stitches! Then again, it’s my kind of comedy, particularly as a slice-of-life manga. I will say that comedy is very subjective: I’m sure that there’s just as many people who don’t find this funny as folks who do. 

Personally, I find Jesus and Buddha hilarious: Jesus is an incredibly playful character, and permanently curious…often to his own hilarious disappointment. Buddha, while frequently serious and more straight-laced, sometimes lets his hair down and has fun as well. They’re the perfect duo to tell this story of two eternally youthful gods spending their gap year in Japan through, and goodness me, I love it!

I also think there’s the realistic aspect of seeing gods placed in comedic situations. That… probably doesn’t sit well with a certain audience. For me, however, I actually find it quite nice to see two world-famous deities placed into the mundane life of living in Tokyo and just…existing. It’s kind of humanizing in a unique way: plus, it’s very, very funny.

This is probably one of my favorite manga. It’s such a joy to see it getting a hardcover print release, as well as an omnibus release. I think I, like so many fans, never imagined this coming West, especially into a country as deeply religious as America. In fact, I think folks expected backlash the moment a very specific part of America heard that there was a comedy manga about Jesus. Thankfully, as far as I know, that backlash never came. 

Ultimately, I’m just glad that fans like myself can enjoy the on-going antics of Jesus and Buddha during their gap year. It’s such a funny series, and one that definitely could go into a few stockings this year. I think there’s a lot of manga fans who would really enjoy having this title in their collection.

Now… onto the next read! (And… probably some more tea, haha.)

TL;DR: Saint Young Men Vol. 3 continues the foibles and good times in this omnibus that collections volumes 5 and 6 of the digital release into one beautiful hardback edition. Whether turning Tokyo Tower into a elevator to heaven, considering getting a bike, working on their comedy, or just foolin’ around in Tokyo, Jesus and Buddha continue to be two of the realm’s most heavenly hilarious characters. They’re great characters to tell this story through, and when paired with Alethea & Athena Nibley’s stellar translation, they ascend to heavenly new heights of comedy. This is definitely another wonderful addition to the on-going story of Jesus and Buddha, and definitely a title fit to stuff someone’s stocking this season.

Read If You Like…
* Monty Python-esque humor
* Comedy in General
* Loads of Translator’s Notes
* Jesus and Buddha, but make them Roommates
* Slice of Life (with gods!)

Rating: 🟊🟊🟊🟊½ / 4.5 out of 5 stars

Bingo Card: A Hot Drink to Keep the Chill Off

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