We only translated two books and wrote three reviews between translating this book and writing this review, so maybe we can remember enough to have something to say! ...Oh wait, we already do have something to say. We hated it. That's not to say that you will hate it. Our opinion of it was colored by the fact that we had about three days to finish this and a volume of My Monster Secret, and we didn't want to ask for more time because we set the deadline for this one ourselves, and the project manager for My Monster Secret had emailed to confirm at just the right time for us to think that yes we could keep that deadline (you know, the time where we hadn't had all the rush projects come in yet), and this series takes forever to research, and also it's just not our sense of humor, so we had very few positive feelings to spare for it. We did do the best we could on it, though! ...Although there were a few places that had us going, "Nnnnope. I really just can't figure out what they're supposed to mean there." Of course I have now blocked them from my memory, but not to worry--there's a good chance we'll get feedback from an editor clarifying what was going on...you know, so we can fix our incorrect translation. I mean, I like to think we always figure it out in the end, but sometimes we're just not on the right wavelength with the author.
Anyway. This volume starts with the Christmas chapter, and it's funny odd, in that I think the way Jesus acts in this chapter is why I would probably really like it if the character was supposed to be anyone other than Jesus. I really like the concept of trying to prevent someone from finding out about their surprise birthday party while they're surrounded by blatant reminders that it's their birthday, and there are very few people you could write a story like that for. ...Of course, if you invented an entirely fictional world, I'm sure you could come up with a plausible reason for that kind of stuff to happen, like, maybe if it were the birthday of King Richard from Galavant. And I thought it was super cute how Buddha was so thoughtful, and even willing to spend money to make sure this happy surprise was a success. But I just can't get behind the idea of Jesus being that stupid. And I'm not a Buddhist, but from all the research we've done so far, I feel like he would be very kind and generous, and not a skinflint like this Buddha...of course, he's not so stingy in this chapter, but you know what I mean.
We did consider writing a note about the date of Christmas, because we thought members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were not the only people who don't think Jesus was really born in December, but Wikipedia was pretty noncommittal, so we saved ourselves the effort.
Next was the New Year's chapter...they watched 24. That was funny, but I think it would be funny regardless of who was in the scene. Also, it's easy to keep track of time while watching TV shows, because every episode is the same amount of time. We'd probably be annoyed at any characters who had this problem [failing to get to something on time because you were absorbed in a TV show], because we get frustrated watching anyone fail to take the very simple steps to ensure they get the thing they claim they've been wanting pretty badly. The same goes for them not lining up in time to ring the New Year's bell, although in that case, because you never know what you might end up doing at a festival, there's much more sympathy.
Next Buddha gets sick, and I guess this is really the kind of chapter that makes you have to decide to just ignore everything you ever thought about deities, boddhisattvas, whathaveyou. I mean, I just have a hard time believing that people with divine powers would get sick in the first place. On the other hand, Buddha was originally human... I do think there's a certain amount of logic that goes into assuming that Jesus wouldn't know how to nurse someone because He would usually just heal them. He said people get well as soon as He gets close to them, and we weren't sure what exactly that was about, because even in that chapter, he had to actively choose to heal the people at the hospital. It has had me thinking a lot about the woman with an issue of blood, though.
Next is Buddha's diet, and this I think is the chapter that really started to annoy us. I mean, of course we can relate with not wanting to get fat and exercise being more exhausting than it's worth, so that was fine. But when the shirt started talking, making it clear that Jesus was not being honest, I was like, "Okay, we're done." I mean, when you look back on the series, it isn't the first time that Jesus wasn't forthcoming with his feelings, but now that it was obvious... Honesty is one thing that is very important to me, too. But also, it's where we were able to put it into words our major problem with the series, which is that it takes these two religious figures, known for being very virtuous, and puts them on the level of the average selfish Joe. Like it's saying there's no point in trying to be a better person, because not even these people have accomplished it. And we know that's not true, because we know people in real life who are better people than these manga characters. It makes us quite rarful (because we are not that good, either).
Then they go to the park. This chapter drove us nuts, too, because we are so tired of the jokes about not being able to control the miraculous powers. These aren't people who just found themselves with new powers--even in the context of the manga alone, they've supposedly had them for centuries [millennia, in fact]. Why have they not learned to control them? ...Well, I guess you could say that they didn't need to hide them while they were in the Heavens. Either way, I just don't personally think it's that funny. But so as to not be constantly ranting about what I don't like about this series, we did both agree that obviously the chick boats are the best and we don't understand why anyone would not want to rent one, either. And that's the thing--I usually love the kind of character this manga makes Jesus out to be. But it's not who I believe Jesus to be, and the manga also seems to have a bit of an air of looking down on people who think that way--like we're supposed to laugh at him and not necessarily with him. But maybe we're just being overly sensitive.
What was next? Oooohhh yeah, Akiba. I actually liked this chapter well enough, but it got off to a super bad start when it had Jesus worshiping Akihabara. We managed to calm ourselves down on that point, because just because you're really excited to be in a place doesn't mean it's your first God. Of course, soon after that, we had to deal with all of the rice cooker techno-babble, so that did nothing to improve our mood. But as far as the story of the chapter, it was mostly pretty good.
Finally, there was the haircut chapter, and this one was another one that we had trouble with for the same reason as the diet chapter. Honesty is very important to me, so I don't like seeing holy men bending the truth to get out of paying for TV service. Clearly the author of this series hasn't come across the "Render unto Caesar" story in her research. We also find it doubtful that they really would have had all those short hair bits getting all over the place. I mean, yeah, their hair is long, but it's not like they cut it off an inch at a time. You just take the scissors and chop them all off, and then you don't have hair bits--you have long hairs...that Jesus even mentioned giving to Peter, so we know for a fact that he didn't cut in a way that would have left bits. ...Well, maybe he chopped it off and then trimmed it. It's true that, having not had a haircut since shortly after Tangled came out, we're not really qualified to talk about the aftermath of one.
I do think I should say some nice things about the series. I really like all the stuff we're learning about the real Buddha. ...Actually, we started to theorize that most of the "research" for this series involved reading Osamu Tezuka's Buddha manga and watching the Bible stories anime that's attributed to Tezuka. So now we have a recommendation for some potential anime and manga to look into. We do like the art for the series pretty well, too. It was cute when the mothers were talking with Buddha about being worried about kids on the trampoline. And I was mildly amused at the idea of Michael being a cat person. And we were super lucky that whey can be used in making miso soup.
Oh, this series. I feel like I ought to apologize for disliking it so much. We don't want people to hate it just because we hate it--we want them to try it and see for themselves. But the fact remains that it is far from our favorite. We will still do our best to do it justice, though!
Aaaanyway. We don't have any new releases this week, but tune in next week for our review of Fire Force 16! Woohoo!
Today I'm thankful for meeting our work quota, getting to watch the Origins episodes of Miraculous again, being all caught up on Vinland Saga, the nice cool breezes coming through the window, and Page patiently waiting for us to finish at the computer before she inevitably demands that we let her outside again.