Any good manga about faith?

I’m reading this manga “Saihate no Paladin” and it really CARES about faith and gods as more than an abstract thing you see in some fantasy media and I realized that I’d never read a manga that had that as a focus.

I was wondering if you could all think of any manga that are really interested in faith. I’d also accept other media but tbh i’m real into manga right now.


I’ll be real: due to my extremely atheistic nature all of the things I enjoy about faith tend to be pretty critical of it, or at least approach it from pretty difficult angles. Waiting for Godot, The Seventh Seal, A Serious Man, The Sunset Limited etc. Even Fiddler on the Roof is at least a little complex with its portrayal. I wonder how much of this has to do with the fact that most religious art is pretty propagandistic (though, there’s a bias for me here secondarily because of awful Christian media in the US.)

In regards to manga, I recollect Osamu Tezuka wrote the series Buddha, if that’s in line with your question! I also just found out there’s a manga adaptation of Nietzche’s The Antichrist, so that’s neat! I honestly need to read more manga fuck

I think “faith” as we would think of it here in the West is a very Abrahamic concept that doesn’t really have an equivalent in Japanese culture or religion. “God’s Plan for us all” isn’t really a thing in Shinto or Buddhism that I know of, neither really is your personal relationship with the Divine. Those deities are more massive aspects of nature who simply exist and don’t demand your love and surrender to their will. (Feel free to point out how I’m wrong, I’m not an expert in Eastern religions.)

So there aren’t that any manga or anime I can think of that are primary about a character’s internal struggle with belief in god or the gods. Even when they dip into Monotheist themes, like in Evangelion, it’s Shinji’s crisis of faith in himself not in a higher power. Shin Megami Tensei treats capital G God as a lunatic tyrant.

But if you want something, The Leftovers. Angels in America. Darron Aronofsky’s Noah. The Stephen King book Desperation. A Serious Man as mentioned before (or a lot of Coen Bros stuff, even Hail Caesar!)

It’s perhaps not quite what you’re after, but you might want to look into Kamichu, which is an anime about a girl who becomes a Shinto god and has to deal with the responsibilities that entails.
(There’s also Kamisama Kiss, which is the same basic setup but more of a traditional shojo manga about how she has to deal with all these hot supernatural boys.)

For more Western-set stuff, maybe look at Maria the Virgin Witch, which is about a Witch during the Hundred Years War who clashes with local lords, mercenaries, and the Catholic church.

I don’t know anything else like Saihate no Paladin (which is really good by the way), but the closest type of thing I can think of is something like Noragami, which is about a minor Japanese god who’s been long forgotten, in a world where faith equals power.

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