Friday, October 12, 2007

Manga Messiah Gets A Response on the Web

On August 24, 2007 Anime News Network posted a news item on Manga Messiah and the Manga Bible. ANN is one of the more important mainstream anime sites, it has a huge amount of information on anime and also features bulletin boards where readers can post comments. So far, the news item about the Bible Manga project has generated 110 posts by ANN members. One of the more prolific posters is a young friend of mine who is a fan of both anime and manga. He is doing a great job of interacting about important spiritual issues, from a Christian perspective.

The posts in this thread (which can be read by anyone, you don't have to sign in) are informative and interesting.

The Original Article on ANN: Christian Manga, Bible with Japanese Artists Announced

ANN Discussion Board Posts: Click Here To Read

There is a well written, review that includes a number of photos of Manga Messiah at a site called Manga Life.

Finally, "independent comics site" has a scathingly negative review that includes the following paragraph: "There are many weird things out there, like pizza with spaghetti topping or movies about killer tomatos. In the comic book world I'd guess that the weirdest thing to date is "Loaded Bible" or "Swing with Scooter." Now, Tyndale House Publishers takes the cup with their newest project, coming this fall: The Manga Bible!"

I will add more links as I find them.


Scot Eaton said...

The Manga Life site hits the nail on the head with their review. They say, "Really, the intended audience is kind of difficult to discern," and then describe how this "authentic" manga really lacks some of the flavors of authenticity. They then point out the over-wordiness and lack of silence that makes manga more dramatic than the average Marvel
or DC comic. Really, when I read it, I felt the exact same thing. It felt like a manga drawn by Japanese people trying to appeal to
Westerners, without any real idea of what it was that drew Western
manga fans towards manga in the first place.

I recently went to a manga workshop at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where this particular manga came up. In a 95% non-Christian group, people pretty much unanimously agreed that though they wouldn't buy the manga themselves, they were glad it existed. The question is "why?" The answer is that they were glad because the Bible-thumpers no longer had any reason to call manga evil. That's
it. That's the only reason people were excited for this title.

Mostly though, I see this title regarded as generally "ho-hum" by
everyone. Nobody really cares about it, except for the outspoken
dissenters who hate Christianity, and the one or two people who posted on Anime News Network who said they were looking forward to it. Yet as a Christian, I almost feel like I'm betraying someone if I speak out against it. Still, after reading it myself, I found it to be completely unengaging, lacking drama, and not artistically pleasing (despite the addition of color). The only safe road for me was to take an apathetic stance on it, hoping that the next offering would be
better and would give Christians and non-Christians alike a compelling reason to pick up the title. As it stands, though this really is a faithful telling of the four gospels, it is little else. It doesn't help the stories come alive, and it doesn't "feel" like manga.

PS: I am "BleuVII" on the Anime News Network forums, so you can hear some further thoughts if you go to the site.

The Aesthetic Elevator said...

FWIW, this month's Wired magazine has an article dealing with manga.