Jesus and Buddha are enjoying their vacation in Japan. From visiting amusement parks and festivals, to engaging in common activities like going to flash sales and visiting the local bathhouse, they are determined to make the most of their time off while keeping their true identities under wraps. But life is not always a bed of roses, even for the Enlightened One and the Son of God. Buddha has become the target of a trio of pint-sized bullies, and Jesus is mistaken for the son of a yakuza boss!
I thought that this would be a funny and insightful comedic commentary that cunningly toys with the philosophies and concepts of Buddhism and Christianity. But it's just a collection of lame gags based on some superficial inferred characteristics and superpowers of Buddha and Jesus as they're trying to keep a low profile among mortals. And they act in a pretty immature and unenlightened fashion considering who they're supposed to be.
What I Liked: Great soundtrack fits the mood of the movie and is dramatic when needed. Consistent and colourful animation. The children, of all characters, are expanded upon and fleshed out. Interesting interpretations of religious figures. The dynamic between Jesus and Buddha is well done, it's fun watching them bounce off each other. Gen Hoshino and Mirai Moriyama are brilliant as the Enlightened One and the Son of God.What I Didn't: The festival section drags its feet a little. Most of the "researched" religious jokes that make the manga brilliant are absent.Final Verdict: Saint☆Young Men is a fluffy little buddy film about Buddha and Jesus taking a vacation to Japan's capital. A quirky (and possibly offensive) concept, sure, but the movie treats both religions with respect while treating the audience to some clever humour and heartwarming interactions between the two leads. On my Favourite Anime of All Time list.
As always, this is for the sub.Saint☆Young Men hillarious. There's a lot of puns, for example, when they are buying tickets to enter the theme park: "Adult (entrance) fee" = 成人料金 [seijin Ryōkin] sounds like "sage/saint (entrance) fee" 聖人料金 [SEIjin ryōkin]. This particular pun is well translated to "adult age" sounding like "adult sage," but many of them are hard to get across with the same humor in English. Without a good command of Japanese you might be scratching your head. Even being fluent there were many things, like famous Japanese buddhist sayings, that I had to look up. Having said that, I found the movie to be much more forgiving in this regard than the OVA.The premise itself is crazy, so I could forgive the characters not acting as one would expect—for example Buddha wanting 「仔犬と一緒 」("Together with Puppies") for 3DS. By definition a buddha no longer desires. Suspending disbelief though, both Jesus & Buddha have been shaped into great, lovable characters. Give it a shot! 👍
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