Monthly Archives: November 2010

Finding the Invisible God in…Serial Experiments Lain

Twitter can be a wonderful tool.  It’s great for networking, establishing relationships, and finding out about news and new ideas.

It can also feed a blog.

A few weeks back, Otakurean, Prede and I were tweeting, and Otakurean mentioned that the father in Serial Experiments Lain was symbolic of God.  I was confused at first – although the show was once one of my favorites and still one I admire greatly, it’s been almost 10 years since I’d seen it and I’d forgotten much.  Wasn’t Lain symbolic of God?  And wasn’t the father just a creepy dad?  It wasn’t until after I rewatched the final episode that I got the connection.

Lain Iwakura

From the Abe Yoshitoshi Artbook via Danbooru

Of course, Serial Experiments Lain is apt for discussion in a variety of arenas – media, technology, culture, society and relationships in addition to religion.  Although I’m sure it’s been discussed to death, I can’t help but write about a connection between the show and Christian spirituality that stood out dramatically.  In the final episode of the series, Lain embodies the role of Jesus Christ when He is at the Garden of Gethsamane, hours before His execution. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Giving Thanks

Autumn anime

It’s tradition to say (or pray) what you’re thankful for on Thanksgiving.  It’s no surprise that anime bloggers would write about anime they’re thankful for.  Wintermuted at Anime Diet recently gave a great list of streaming classics to be thankful for, followed by another excellent list of streaming anime.

I’ve thought of doing something similar, but my haughty attitude has me thinking, “Thankful for anime?  Come on…” 

At my church, I recently concluded a weekly class on prayer, and my last lesson had to do with thankfulness.  We closed the class simply by giving thanks to God, and not making any requests.  I think about the bigness of God and His awesomeness, and I feel that giving thanks for something trivial like anime is ridiculous.  If you look as Jesus’ prayers, He never prays about trivial things – everyday things, yes, but not trivial.

But like I said, I was being haughty.

Anime, to most bloggers and many viewers, is more than just entertainment.  It’s meaningful, heartfelt and an expression of who they are.  For me, it’s less so, but I’m still thankful, because these past few months, I’ve been able to blog about it and have connected with people.  I’ve made friends in a variety of settings because of anime.  I’ve been able to share my thoughts through the medium.  And I think I’ve gained a lot of insight into the human condition and into how many young people feel these days.  It’s been a blessing.

So what are you thankful for?  Anime?  Why?

Oh, and returning back to Anime Diet, I’m thankful for one more thing – that because of the posts, I found out that Hulu is streaming His and Her Circumstances (Kare Kano), a show I dropped many years ago, but have always wanted to try again. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: What Price Fandom?

A question nagging my heart lately is one that every fan faces at one time or another with serious contemplation, a passing thought, or somewhere in between.  I’m talking about the question of whether or not it’s right to watch fansubs.  Arguments are strong on both sides, and to tell the truth, I haven’t sat down and worked through this issue myself.  I also don’t want to to be influenced much by others’ opinions, coming to my own conclusion without outside bias.  To me, it’s a heart matter – a matter of character and deciding to follow through what I believe in.

However, it can also involve other considerations.  I ran across an interesting post by Ed Sizemore, a reviewer at Comics Worth Reading.  On his personal blog, Sizemore discusses the idea in terms of fandom.  The posting also has spiritual inclinations, has he discusses the idea of love, partly in terms of the famed I Corinthians 13 definition (on a side note, this is my favorite chapter from the Bible and the one my pastor discussed at my wedding).

It’s an interesting article and one that I think will ruffle some feathers.  Please take a read:

An Eddy of Thought: What Price Fandom?

Sprituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Jesus and Buddha are Roomies

Lisa Katayama wrote a post about Saint Young Men, a manga series depicting Jesus and Buddha as modern day roommates – an interesting concept, to say the least.  I’m sure there’s a mixed bag of good and offensive in the series.  One line in the Tokyomango post makes me go “BAH,” however:

Jesus is a lavish spender.

Jesus continuously spoke about living a life without earthly riches, he criticized those who sought earthly gain, he praised the poor woman who gave up what little she had to God, and, here’s the big one, Jesus was homeless.  In Luke 9:58, Jesus says:

Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.

I know this is no historical narrative.  I know it’s entertainment.  But it would be nice to see such an interesting concept present Jesus with some more-than-skin-deep parallels to the historical individual.  Eh well, I hope for too much, I suppose.  And I’ve got admit…I’m intrigued.

Read the entire post at Tokyomango.

NIS Licenses Working!! (or, Let’s Eat at Wagnaria!!)

Working!! is coming to America.

YES!

Working animeRobert’s Anime Corner Blog covered NIS America‘s announcement that it has licensed Working!! for release in March.  I’m really excited!  From what I gathered, the buzz for this show was low when it came out, so I had doubts it would ever reach our shores.  The show, about a group of workers at a family-style restaurant, is terribly charming.  I’m not sure what led me to watch it in the first place, but I found myself wanting more and more to see each new episode, and I was sad when its ended. 

To add to this great news, the release will apparently be similar to NIS’ awesome Toradora! releases this year.  Yep, a cool boxset-type-dealy with hardcover artbook!  The only strange thing for me is the name change; NIS will release is at Wagnaria!! (the name of the restaurant).  Ehh…doesn’t quite roll of the tongue.  Perhaps this change was made because if you google “Working,” it’s difficult to find information about he show since it’s such a common word.

Inami Working

Artist: Pixiv Member 14574128 (via Danbooru)

As for it’s connection with spirituality (after all, my blog is about anime and Christian spirituality), there’s nothing obvious in the show.  However, for all the unhealthiness of the primary relationship that develops, there’s really a sense of I Corinthians 13 love in it – patient, kind, forgiving, protecting and, in an interesting manner, pushing away evil.

Definitely consider checking this series out if you haven’t already.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

More information:
Working!! Wikipedia page
Official Wagnaria Website

My Experience with a Voice Actress…or, Get Over Yourself, Minorin!

I feel as if I’m a semi-dormant volcano, ready to boil over and explode any time – not in anger, but in want of venting.  I hesitate to blog about it, because I don’t want the subject of this frustration to become known, but I do think maybe this is the best medium for me to let out my feelings.

When I first started this blog, not too long ago, I sent out an interview request to my very favorite voice actress.  The interview, I felt, was going to be terrific if she accepted, since her interests deeply coincided with the very purpose of my blog.  I didn’t expect an answer, but I got one almost immediately – and it was a YES!  I was estatic, on cloud nine, and all that jazz.  You can ask my wife – I was in a really good mood for at least a week.  Luckily, my work was going to lead me near where this actress lives twice in the coming weeks – PERFECT.

Ready to interview…GO!

Minorin Toradora

Artist: Ikeda Jun (Courtesy of E-shuushuu)

I wrote back and she was slower in responding, but she did say she would get back to me once her schedule was more set.  Weeks passed without a response.  I sent one more email as my first trip approached; she didn’t respond.  Well…”that’s okay,” I thought.  I still had one more opportunity.  I wrote again.  Again, no response, and like an autumn wind carrying away the leaves of a live oak, my chance at doing a live interview has floated away as I went on my second trip. Read the rest of this entry

OreImo Episode 07 and “The Line”

As I watched the 7th episode of OreImo (Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai) the other day, I felt a sort of uneasiness throughout.  The episode was just as good as others so far.  But…I just couldn’t get comfortable enough ti simply enjoy the show.  I tried not to think too much as I watched and it wasn’t until the end of the episode that the reason for my discomfort hit me on the head.

Episode seven was flirting with crossing the line.

You know, the line.  That invisible mark where one turns off their television or computer.  The place where one sighs and leaves a series behind.  The imaginary point where we move on to another series, like I did after the bloodbath episode of Code Geass.

Kirino OreImo

Source: Pixiv Member 14563677

The line is where we decide a show is no longer worthy of our attention.  And I’m not talking about the quality of a show.  I’m strictly discussing the point in which our morals, sensibilities, values, beliefs, conscience, religion – whatever it is – takes over and tells us that we won’t take anymore.

Truth be told, nothing in this episode was repugnant.  In fact, some of you right now are thinking, “Why the heck would this guy stop watching OreImo because of this episode?”  Well, first of all, I haven’t decided if the show has crossed that line for me yet – you see, lines are often blurry and not always straight-edged and bold.  And secondly, I might stop watching because this was the first episode for me where the point was clearly to establish the beginning of a romantic relationship between Kyousuke and Kirino. Read the rest of this entry

Ebert Posts an Anime-Style Short

Although my this is off-topic for my blog, I would be remiss not to post about this super cute anime-style short created by three students at National Taiwan University of the Arts.  It’s really terrific and has Peanut-esque (in music and characterization) and Miyazaki (in animation and creativity) elements to it.  It is lovely.

I found it via a Roger Ebert tweet.  Ebert, by the way, continues to be the greatest friend to anime in America.  Oh, and he frequently posts about being a lapsed Catholic; perhaps that’s my spiritual connection in this post?  He, in turn, found it on “Higher Than the Sun.”

Christian Fanart: sA-oHime

Christians often say that their belief is not compartmentalized.  It runs through every part of their lives and affects all that one does or thinks.  The following drawing, by the wonderful Filipino artist, sA-oHime, shows nothing with Christian overtones, but the verse reflects how faith and life are inextricable.

sA-oHime Art

Artist Reflections:

I thank GOD above all.That’s my goal, to make a lot of drawings having verses so that i am not just able to showcase my gift but to spread my faith as well. I have it in anime style since it’s the style i think i’m better at and as i noticed, there are only very few who uses anime and manga as medium of sharing the faith. I’m really glad that so far, I’m able to do it. Well,I think that’s what inspired me to draw it, my goal that is.

For more of sA-oHime, please visit her deviantART profile.  She is accepting commissions.

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Symbolism of God and the Cross in Gundam Unicorn

Many of you have probably already read Ghostlightning’s latest post, but I though I’d mention it anyway.  He discusses an episode of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn, in which a character, Minerva, draws some interesting parallels between character situations and God and Christianity.  Ghostlightning’s analysis advances the ideas further.  It’s quite an interesting read, and suddenly has me reinterested in trying to again dive into the overwhelming Gundam universe.

The Colonization of Space That Wasn’t: Gundam’s Universal Century as Editorialized by Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn 02