Bruce's Reviews > Manga Messiah

Manga Messiah by Hidenori Kumai
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Dec 31, 08

Read in January, 2008

On the whole this is a successful harmony of the four gospel narratives that uses the convention of Japanese manga to produce a graphic novel life of Christ. Biblical citations run along the bottom of each page footnoting the story. However, as with any harmony, some inconsistencies crop up. For example, on page 74 John’s version of the scourging of the temple is presented and then on page 218 a shorter version from the synoptic gospels is given along with the accompanying text, “After entering Jerusalem, Yeshuah once again drove out the merchants and money changers.” An editorial chronology has been imposed to turn four different versions of the story into one. And since one is so different from the other three, the decision was made to imagine two scourgings at different points in history, one at the beginning of Jesus’s public ministry and again at the end. This is a possible, but hardly probable interpretation.

For the most part, these editorial insertions are kept to a minimum. So when these do occur there are all the more startling since the rest of the book adheres so closely to the original texts. Another example is Satan. He first appears as a black shroud with headlight eyes during the temptation in the wilderness and then again, editorially this time, in the same guise in the garden of Gethsemane to taunt Jesus before being transformed into a snake that’s stomped by a purple-winged angel with a green sword, presumably St. Michael.
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