“Redemption” – Deathbed (manga) – 5/10 Candy Canes

To himself everyone is immortal; he may know that he is going to die, but he can never know that he is dead. ~Samuel Butler

Genre: Christian/ Drama

Review Status: Complete (1 Chapter/ 1 Chapter)

Licensed: This manga is available for online viewing here: http://www.christianmanga.com/smf/index.php?action=gallery&g2_itemId=4302 , though not published. Technically, it is licensed in the US.

Art/Animation: Rough, sketch-like. It isn’t bad for a basic outline.

Summary: A man is dying. Can his soul be redeemed before the end?

Review: The problem with this one-shot is that it’s so short. I can tell that there’s more to the story- or if there isn’t, there should be.

A man is dying. What of isn’t important. However, what is interesting is that he mentions that he can’t end it sooner himself. Why is that? Is he paralyzed and unable to pull a trigger or tie a noose? Is he under constant surveillance for something? There is no good explanation given for his being unable to commit suicide- especially since at that point, he’s not a believer. It also is odd that he can’t drink or smoke- there are patients who decide that, if they’re going to die they might as well do what they want. Would there be a bad reaction with the medicine?

A month passes (it just skips from the beginning of the month to the end- no interim of possible last-minute medical treatments or continuations of them, which could annoy many who have had to deal with the prolonged passing of a loved one. Especially when he apparently knows that at the end of the month exactly, he’s going to die. Anyone who’s had to deal with this knows that people don’t die on a schedule). He’s in the depths of despair and remembering the wife that he loved, thinking that God is cruel for letting them both die.

This is where the shortness of the manga becomes an issue. He’s told that “if he believes in God, he can see his wife in Heaven”. Well, we’re never told that she was a believer. And his conversion is very simple- “you don’t really die because God says so”. If it were that easy, then most people on the deathbed would convert. So where are the arguments that people who reject God on their death beds go? The ones that she uses are not real arguments- they’re ones that Christians who have never dealt with non-believers like to use and then scoff at the non-believer’s stupid arguments. This might be due to the length of this, since it’s hard to fit in sold theological reasoning in ten pages.

Having viewed only two of the mangaka’s (Calbhach) works, I can’t decide whether she’s writing purely for a Christian audience or whether she seriously expects non-believers to be moved by her work. I am leaning towards the former, as she draws manga that would only appeal to Christians that had never come across anything but the Christian stereotypes of non-Christians and how conversion and belief works.

With this, though, she has an outline for a potentially interesting, deep philosophical conversation about God and Jesus and heaven.

Overall, while I am better inclined towards this since it takes a more realistic/believable premise than her other work (Heaven Bound), it fails to be anything but mediocre.

Recommended: 5+, since the man is dying. Parents or older siblings would want to read it with their kids and talk about it afterward.

Other titles you might enjoy: Shinigami no Ballad (anime or manga)
Tokyo Godfathers (anime)
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou (manga)
The Emblamer (manga)
Kino’s Journey (anime)
Haibane Renmei (anime)
Ikigami (manga)
Watashitachi ni Shiawase na Jikan (manga)


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hope_In_Song
    Dec 19, 2010 @ 23:53:49

    It is difficult to make Christian manga, but hopefully Cal-sama will learn as she goes along, and God will help her. As a Christian mangaka myself, I am aware how hard it is, especially when trying to appeal to a non-believing audience.


  2. Sweetpea
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 00:34:07

    I realize. And honestly, this wasn't a bad attempt. It just hit against a wall with how short it was- I do believe that if it had been longer, than it would have been better than it was.


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