Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol. #05 - Mother Teresa -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C+

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  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: C-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: All
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 152
  • ISBN: 1-56970-972-6
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol. #05 - Mother Teresa

By Sakura Eries     March 29, 2007
Release Date: April 04, 2007

Edumanga (aka: Atom Pocket Jinbutsukan) Vol.#05 - Mother Teresa
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Masahide Kikai / Ren Kishida
Translated by:Kumiko Yuasa
Adapted by:

What They Say
Winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, Mother Teresa devoted herself to help the poor. Answering a calling from God, she opened a home in Calcutta, India, where she and her fellow nuns took in and cared for dying and desperate Indians. Even after her death, many still continue her never ending quest of providing for the basic needs of human beings.

Join Astro Boy and his friends as they learn of true dedication, of "loving thy neighbor" and of sacrifice to the worthy cause of humanity.

The Review
"Mother Teresa" is the fifth installment of DMP's Edu-Manga educational series that highlights the accomplishments of various historical figures. In the center of the front cover is the Nobel Peace Prize winner wearing her characteristic white and blue sari with an Indian child in her arms against a plain white background. However, the color of Mother Teresa's eyes is wrong. The color picture shows her with blue eyes, but according to my coworker's wallet sized color photo of Mother Teresa, her eyes were brown. To the lower right are an obviously inspired Astro Boy and Uran. Above is the Edu-Manga logo in brown, which consists of "Edu-Manga" in prominent capitals, and Astro Boy with a smaller bubble of text "GOOD FOR THE BRAIN" above it. Below is a brown purple bar with the publisher's and series logo. The title is in block capitals to the left, and author / artist credits are in black capitals to the right.

The back cover features the Edu-Manga brown logo on top. Below the logo is "Mother Teresa," which is straddling the brown background of the top and white background below so it looks somewhat awkward. In large bold font is the story summary arranged around a center illustration of Uran, Astro Boy, and another of Astro Boy's friends kneeling, presumably praying. The inside front and back covers contain information about the Edu-Manga series.

The binding and materials are satisfactory. The print job is crisp, and the black-and-white reproductions of pages originally done in color aren't overly dark as they often are. Extras consist of DMP ads, Astro and the Doctor's Q&A, and a reference timeline table of Mother Teresa's life.

This is one of those manga which looks as if the artist put the absolute minimum effort into production. The shoujo style character designs lack detail. Chibis aren't used in this manga, but in several places, facial features are half drawn or completely omitted, seemingly due more to a lack of effort than to convey any sort of emotional impact. Backgrounds are extremely simplistic. Kishida more often than not relies on uninteresting crosshatched or gray screentones to fill up the backdrop in lieu of actually drawing one, and the backgrounds that are hand-drawn are less than impressive. Instead of being depicted as a scene of grandeur, the presentation of Mother Teresa's Nobel Prize at Oslo University looks like a bunch of blobs with stick figures.

The editing job for this Edu-manga was extremely disappointing. In addition to a number of grammatical and spelling errors sprinkled through the text and dialogue, the Aegean Sea was misspelled on the map on page 6 and Pope Pius XII was misspelled "Pope Pio XII" in the timeline of Mother Teresa's life. In the Q&A section, Astro Boy is referred to as "Atom"; while this is a reference to his Japanese name, most Americans won't know how "Atom" is related "Astro Boy." There's also a footnote for the definition of "Christian" that appeared several pages after the first mention of the word, and another footnote on page 6 that repeats a sentence.

Just about all the story takes place in Eastern Europe or India, so Japanese honorifics aren't really an issue. This volume uses the same formatting used in previous Edu-manga with all of the Q&A and timeline text in capitals and sound effect translations placed next to original Japanese sound effects.

This manga is a graphic biography of Mother Teresa that is "hosted" by Astro Boy. The story unfolds when Astro Boy and his friends go to a photo exhibition of Mother Teresa. This naturally leads to a conversation about her life.

Five chapters follow, detailing the life of Mother Teresa. The first chapter tells of the early years of Agnes Gonxa Bojaxhiu, the Macedonian girl who was later to become known as Mother Teresa. Chapter 2 focuses on the resistance Agnes encountered in making real her dream of becoming a nun and going to India. Chapter 3 describes her first years in India and the events that led to her leaving her assigned monastery for the slums of India. Chapter 4 describes her work and the formation of the "Missionaries of Charity," which eventually created such establishments as the Home for Dying Destitutes and Orphanages for Homeless Children. Chapter 5 details the impact that Mother Teresa had upon the world and her continuing legacy. At the very end of the manga are four pages of Astro and the Doctor's Q&A and a time line of Mother Teresa's life.

Of the lives highlighted in this series, Mother Teresa's is the most recent. While most of today's young readers were born after Mother Teresa's passing and won't remember her, their parents and grandparents will remember this woman whose life inspired people of all races and faiths around the world. Personally, I remember her as a remarkable person of faith, whose life truly embodied the love and compassion of the God she served. Perhaps the fact that her legacy is so fresh in collective memory is the reason why this graphic biography allocates so many pages to Mother Teresa's formative years. Two chapters (pages 6-57) are used to depict Mother Teresa's life before she becomes a nun. Meanwhile, only six pages are used to illustrate Mother Teresa's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, and her numerous activities as a world spokesperson for the poor and helpless are limited to a few brief highlights in the final chapter. The Q&A section however does try to cover portions of Mother Teresa's work not included in the illustrated portions of the manga.

The manga does a decent job of telling the story of her early life (although it does get overly sentimental in spots), and it clearly conveys the importance of God in her life and His connection to her amazing ministry to the poor. However, I do strongly disagree with one portion of the Q&A section on page 141, which poses the question, "Did Mother try to spread Christianity?" The reply provided is "No, no," which is then followed by an explanation of how Mother Teresa respected all people and all religions, and did not discriminate among the poor people that she was serving. There may be something lost in the translation, but the way the question is worded and answered is misleading. Mother Teresa did serve and love people regardless of race or religion, but it's incorrect to conclude that her nondiscriminatory service equated to indifference about the spread of her faith. Mother Teresa assuredly did not fall into the category of the fire and brimstone evangelist often stereotyped in both Japanese and American media, but, though she didn't force her faith on people, I think anyone would find it difficult to believe that she never shared her religious beliefs with an interested listener. Even the manga states that she considered her ministry not "mere charity work" but obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ. In addition, she openly attributed her work to God. So, in the sense that she served in the name of Jesus Christ, I would consider that her means of spreading the word about Christianity, even if it was in actions rather than words. After all, regardless of whether or not they chose to accept her beliefs, thousands in Calcutta, who may never have heard of Jesus Christ otherwise, at least learned about him in the context of Mother Teresa's purpose for living and working among them.

This title is appropriately rated for all ages.


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