You’ve read our articles! You’ve followed our social media! Well, good news, because it doesn’t have to stop there… or at least not anymore!
We are ecstatic to introduce to you the newest addition to the Beneath the Tangles site, our very own podcast entitled The Tangles (available both here AND on iTunes)! As an extension of our blog, The Tangles is another branch to help us achieve our goal of creating a meeting point between anime (along with all connected forms of media) and Christian spirituality. We hope that this will help to continue to foster an open community where Christians and non-Christians alike can engage in conversation about anime, manga, and belief.
The Tangles will update on the last Thursday of every month, and will feature JP (Japes/Japesland) as host, another Beneath the Tangles writer as co-host (rotating each episode), and a special guest speaker.
For our first episode, we are thrilled to have Lauren Orsini, prolific writer and founder of Otaku Journalist, as our esteemed guest, along with Charles/TWWK as co-host. During this hour-long episode, we will be discussing our personal beliefs, current-running anime, Lauren’s new book, Otaku Journalism, and plenty more!
Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed!
Oh, and if you’ve already listened, click here for the video of JP’s blue-haired antics.
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 7:49
Otaku Diet – 8:40
Current Article/Discussion – 23:02
Listener Mail – 51:56
Closer – 1:05:36
Note: Lauren mentions her new association with Anime News Network during the podcast; you’ll be able to find her on ANN within the next several days.
As Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) progresses, so, too, do the relationships in the show. Unlike other series, Ao Haru Ride throws five characters together who are fairly new to each other. There is some history there, but none of these people have been in any others’ social group before. We’re getting to see a quick evolution of a group of friends, and for some, a growth into something further.
Much of the continued emphasis in episode nine is on the love triangle between Kou, Futuba, and Yuri. The familiarity between Kou and Futuba remains, and this worries a jealous Yuri, who thinks that Kou might already be in love with his former crush. So in turn, Yuri tries to get closer to Kou, and perhaps does in some way, though both Futuba and the audience is left in suspense as to what (and what did not) occur.
But even with an emphasis on romantic relationships, the friendships are still an important part of the plot in this series. In this episode, Kominato’s deepening friendship with Kou is on full display, as he aggressively defends his friend when some arrogant former classmates of Kou’s harangue him over a perceived lack of intelligence.
Kou is taken aback by Kominato standing up for him (as much as the “stoic” Kou can be). It’s a powerful witness when someone stands up for you, taking on the potential blame, insult, punishment, and pain to help you. We’ve probably all been in a situation where someone has acted in that way on our behalf; how great it feels to have someone else put themselves on the line for us!
It’s a “Series of Miracles” kind of week here on Something More, as Frank, founder of that blog, is responsible for the majority of this week’s short list of links. Not that I’m complaining, as he’s one of my favorite writers in the blogosphere!
Frank again looks to anime childhood relationships as he discusses a Christian’s relationship with God. [A Series of Miracles]
In reviewing episodes 5 and 6 of Hanayamata, Frank points out the responsibility Christians have in representing their faith and how one might share their faith with others. 
Charles Dunbar educates us about clothing and purification in regards to Shinto rituals. [Study of Anime]
As part of the Something More series of posts, each week Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included.
The tension in Free! has slowly risen all season long, with the stress involving Makoto’s and Haru’s futures even more pressing than the races the show focuses on. It all came to a head in episode nine as Haru has a meltdown, both in the pool and out, as he literally stops in the middle of the race and stands up in his lane, and then yells at Rin afterward.
Haru apparently has no parents, but he’s still felt pressure about his future all season long. Episode nine emphasizes through both current-day dialogue and dream sequences that almost everyone around Haru is reminding him that scouts are watching his swimming, and that he’d better swim well to impress them and secure his future. Haru doesn’t want any of that (or maybe isn’t sure if he does), and succumbs to the pressure of it all.
The episode made me think about my own children and how I parent them. I never intended to be a typical Asian father, expecting straight A’s (or A+’s, rather) and perfect obedience from my kids, but I’ve had to realize that even at a young age, I’ve put a lot of pressure upon them. And for what reason? Basically so that they can have the world at their fingertips, even though that’s precisely what I don’t want for them.
And so, I’ve tried to change my parenting – to be gracious and kind when they don’t accomplish what I hope they will and to really mean it when I say that their “personal best” is more than enough. Even so, it’s difficult, because my experience has taught me that doing your best in school does matter. And frankly, because I’m selfish and prideful, and it’s hard for me to understand that my feelings and thoughts aren’t necessarily God’s way, the right way.
And so, I’m working on achieving some sort of balance in answering the question, how hard should I push my children to succeed?
But as this entire season has shown, there isn’t always an easy answer to this question, though one thing I know is this: however we parent, we must approach our children with a love that’s focused on them and not on what we want of them.
And who knows? Maybe episodes ten and eleven will surprise me and give me an answer. And if it does, I swear, I’ll start telling people that I “only parent freestyle.”
I was just about ready to give up on Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) – or at least blogging it. But then came along episode eight, hitting me right in the feels. Nicely done.
After getting so down on Futuba the past two weeks for her selfish thoughts (though I count myself as nearer her than a more perfect shoujo heroine), I was glad to see her thoughts this week turn toward Yuuri. Futuba was reminded of how important Yuuri is to her, through personal flashbacks and by Shuko (who in this episode made two big steps out of her shell by spending time with the girls and by sharing her crush with them). Out of respect for their friendship, Futuba tells Yuuri the truth – a hard admission, as Shuko points out.
Yuuri’s response is surprising to Futuba, and was a relief to me (the series has stressed me out the last few weeks), as she takes it relatively in stride. Though she cries in the privacy of a bathroom, Yuuri confirms to her friends that she’ll remain true to her friendship with Futuba, even as the two both pursue Kou.
Though Yuuri’s words are admirable, I’ve found myself dwelling more upon Futuba’s thoughts and actions. The latter has two real conflicting thoughts going through her head – her own desire for what she wants and a more altruistic hope that she won’t hurt a friend. And though more than once, Futuba mentions that she might lose a friend, I don’t think that line of thinking weight on her as heavily as her want to keep Yuuri from pain, as this episode demonstrates how much she really cares for her friend.
I have a tendency to shirk away from challenge. Complacency is a hole I feel I constantly find myself climbing out of. If I can avoid it or procrastinate, I usually do. It’s much easier to shove something into a metaphorical box and go watch Youtube videos then actually work through it.
Spiritually in my life, this is something God will tolerate for only so long. As always, God cares much more about me than I do about myself and wants me to have life in abundance, even if that means significant challenge.
There is one scene in Fruits Basket between Kyo and his master/father figure Kazuma that made me think about how sometimes God’s plan for my life and my desire to not deal with challenge, ever, come to a head.
As the cat of the zodiac, Kyo is the most cursed of all of the Sohmas. As part of his curse, he turns into a horrific beast if he doesn’t wear a set of beads and will be confined to a place on the Sohma estate for the rest of his life after high school. He copes with this situation by focusing all of his hurt and frustration on Yuki the rat, the most privileged of the zodiac that was said to have tricked the cat long ago, and keeping almost everyone is his life at a distance.
Kazuma confronts him about this one night.
Kazuma: Is this the way you intend to go on living for the rest of your days? Ears plugged, eyes closed, hiding behind your hatred for Yuki? Read the rest of this entry
Summer Comiket 86 has come and gone. While for last Comiket, I wrote a personalized post about my first experience, this time I decided to take a more streamlined and general approach. Comiket, as most of you probably know, is the largest otaku convention in Japan, and subsequently, the world. With roughly 170,000 people attending each of the 3 days at the convention center Tokyo Big Sight, it makes Anime Expo and Otakon look small in comparison, with its lines, lines, and more lines. As such, it can be a daunting experience for a foreigner to try out, especially when one does not even speak the language. So if you are at all interested in eventually attending, here are some things to consider.