The artwork falls within animé genre, though with Western influences – think Ghost in the Shell imagery, rather than the large-eyed young girl and boy Pokémon style – and is particularly effective, I think, in conveying both the humanity and divinity of Christ. Elements of it reminded me of the various different Star Wars comics from Dark Horse (e.g. Star Wars Clone Wars anime stuff ). You can download some sample spreads from The Manga Bible web site download area to get an idea of the style.
The (relatively) brief volume covers a considered sampling of the New Testament – some Gospel accounts, bits from the Book of Acts, Revelation and parts of the Epistles. I found the latter particularly engaging. Taking the biographical, narrative and apocalyptic accounts of the NT and turning them into sequential art would seem to me to be easier than translating the various letters. But the bits from the Roman, Corinithian and Galatian correspondence are good, bringing the historical context of their writing and human figures into play with the issues being dealt with.
In an interview at the end of the book that artist, Siku, comments, “I don’t just see God as a shining light thing. I also see him as a dark, brooding force. I’ve tried to inject that into how I see Jesus.” Very much there is a sense (apophatic even) that God here is far more powerful and unknowable that the brief glimpse we get in the Jesus of the gospels – that for finite human beings, the infinite God is also totally other from us, as well as human flesh and blood in Jesus.
As I’ve mentioned before, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but my 9 and 11-year old sons expressed an interest in it, which may indicate a demographic that it would connect with. (There’s a set of youth group studies that uses TMB here.) I’ll pass my copy around to different people to see what reactions it gets. On the whole though, I’m impressed with it (in spite of not really being a real manga enthusiast). I’m looking forward to the Old Testament edition coming out soon.