The Catholic Man is back to blogging after receiving many cool Catholic products. Well, this may not really be Catholic, but more Christian in general. It was a great experience for me reading The Manga Bible kindly sent to me by Penguin, Random Books publishing and it is a Bible that I do recommend for teenagers who do not want to read the full Bible.
The Manga Bible: From Genesis to Revelation is (as the name suggests) a Bible in the Japanese manga type of art. I am sure many readers know about this unique type of art. It is very popular among teens, especially asian teens (please correct me if I am wrong!). The front page says the concept art was by Siku and the script was
written Akinsiku. According the About the Authors page, Siku “is one of Britain’s leading comic book creator/conceptualists… he worked for Marvel UK and COM X and has been credited on a number of computer games, such as Evil Genius.” Siku also studied at Yaba’s School of Art, Design and Printing and the London School of Theology. Akin, the script writer on the other hand is a Nigerian who became obsessed with Japanese animation and kung-fu movies. He enjoys drawing and gets “paid to draw ugly pictures, write ugly stories and make TV ten hours a day.”
My first impression of the book was that it was thin to what I thought it was going to be. I had the chance to look at The Action Bible once at a bookstore and it was 752 pages. However, The Manga Bible is only 200 pages (in Bible stories, not including the appendix). Also, I expected that since it was a manga bible, the spine would be on the right like most Japanese manga books (if your read manga, I’m sure you’ll know what I’m talking about. The book itself is like any standard softcover book, left side binding… The pages are in black and white print just like most Japanese manga book. One thing I have to point out is how the margins are not wide. A small part of the pages on the binding are cut off. I had to force it to open flat in order to comfortably read it. I recommend that the margins be layout so that there can be room for the binding itself.
Now to the content itself. At least the subtitle, From Genesis to Revelation was sort of true. After finding out the book was only 200 pages, I knew there were some shortcuts. The book is based on the New International Version (NIV) translation which according to Catholic Answers is a dynamic translation which makes sense why it is used in this Bible meant for youth. However, it is not a Catholic translation, or at least not an approved Catholic translation (except for the Psalms) according to USCCB. There is no Imprimatur to it either but since it is a very basic Bible, it does not seem to cause harm to Catholics (please report any error to TCM Reviews if there are any in The Manga Bible). The book is divided into different sections based on the book of the Bible. It is narrated by certain characters. For example, the first part of Genesis was told by Moses to the Israelites as they were on the journey to the Promised Land. Quite an interesting script. The illustrations are filled with life I have to say and has that authentic manga effect on the reader. It is like reading a story. There are also citations to the actual Bible passage after each story through the “Want to Know More?” box.
However, I do have to comment on how the Bible is missing several important stories such as the sermon on the mount and certain parables from the New Testament are also missing, particular that of the lost sheep and the lost coin. The story of the prodigal son was
struck through and renamed, “the unforgiving brother” which was quite interesting. There were some parts where I expected more action such as that of the story of Jonah and the Crucifixion which did let me down.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale
Overall, The Manga Bible has its pros and cons to it. I did have higher expectations for a bible called The Manga Bible. I expected much more action and the inclusion of more Bible stories. However, for a beginner’s bible, it is fine. It may help youth start to read the Bible.
From this book on, all of The Catholic Man reviews will also be available on GoodReads!