Saint Young Men, a popular manga series starring the two religious figures, will make the jump to live-action next year.
For North American audiences, the idea of a comedic story about the mundane misadventures of Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha living as roommates might seem strange, perhaps even offensive. In Japan, however, an unlikely living arrangement between the divine duo serves as the premise for a long-running series of comics by artist Hikaru Nakamura.
The series, which has proven an unlikely critical and commercial success since its creation over a decade ago, started serialization in 2006 and has since yielded 13 complete volumes, as well as several anime adaptations, including an OVA series and feature film both released in 2013. Jesus and Buddha are both presented as easy-going, good-natured young men with ordinary interests like shopping, blog-writing, as well as frequent difficulties with their strict landlord.
The story revolves around the two heavenly beings as they attempt to navigate the typical challenges of mortal existence during an earthbound “vacation” in Tachikawa, a rather ordinary suburban area in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The series draws much of its humor from its matter-of-fact treatment of the two super-powered entities living a low-rent existence in a cheap, flop-house apartment, and includes plenty of observational humor about contemporary life in Japan.
You can watch the trailer of the theatrical version of Saint Young Men here:
▼ Buddha and Jesus: BFFs.
The two roommates get into many hijinks together, but basically demonstrate the kindness and compassion they’re both traditionally known for. While the series won’t likely win many converts amongst the devoutly religious set, a passing familiarity with some of the protagonists’ past exploits certainly adds to the humor. Animals constantly flock around Buddha, causing the pair trouble since they’re staying in an apartment building whose strict and nosey landlady strictly forbids pets of any kind. Jesus, meanwhile, inadvertently causes a scene by turning water into wine at the local bathhouse.
▼ Buddha assailed by his feathered-friends.
The announcement of the live-action adaptation was teased in a full-page ad featuring Jesus in a recent issue of Kodansha’s Morning Two magazine, which serializes the comic. Additional details weren’t immediately clear, but it seems additional information will be shared in the magazine on December 22nd.