Monthly Archives: May 2011

Someday’s Dreamers ~Summer Skies~ Episode 01: Washing Feet

With a plethora of new shows on my plate this season, and in the middle of The World God Only Knows, Witch Hunter Robin, and Ookiku Furikabutte, you’d think I’d have plenty to watch if I was in the mood for anime.  And so, which of these did I pick last night?

I started a new one, of course. ;)

Someday’s Dreamers is one of those shows I’ve long wanted to watch, despite knowing little of the premise.  The title of the show is about as nostalgic as it can get.  It makes me think there’ll be lots of grassy hills, blue skies, forlorn looks, and school friendships in the story (I’m always looking for a tone emulating that of The Place Promised in Our Early Years).

Unfortunately, I accidentally started watching the second anime series instead of the first.  Woops.  Not the first time I’ve done that.

One episode in, I’m encouraged by the possibilities of this story (and will eagerly anticipate returning to it).  But more than that, I’ve quickly connected with the protagonist, Sora.  She is both very much still a kid (in ways, reminding my of one of my very favorite characters, Shizuku of Whisper of the Heart), while achieving a level of maturity that most adults don’t have (perhaps because of a wonderful mother and probably similar father).  Her maturity is best expressed not so much through words, but by actions which reveal her character.  We might get caught up in the plot of the first episode, but the real purpose behind it is not to present a major plot point (though it certainly provides context for the series), but to show us just who Sora is.

Someday's Dreamers Summer Skies

Art by yu-hi (Pixiv)

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Aniblogger Testimony: Christian, Anime, Blogger

This is the tenth in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith.  Today’s post is by Mike Huang of Anime Diet.  The previous posts in this series were written by Lauren Orisini, R86, Nikko, Arianna, Ed Sizemore, Canne, an anonymous blogger, Annalyn, and Zeroe4.

Hi, my name is Mike Huang, and I’m a Christian. A seminary graduate, in fact. I love writing, reading, theology, long walks on the beach, and anime. That little hobby at the end somehow led to starting a little site with Ray that got a little out of control, and we’ve been here for four years now and have more than a little number of visitors. I’m not currently in ministry but I hope to be one day. I sometimes wonder what those church or hospital chaplaincy search committees would think if they ever find my byline everywhere on Anime Diet. And hear my voice on those old podcasts and convention videos, the one that might have started preaching to them from the Word of God talking about guys marrying 2D characters and how much I enjoyed, against my better judgment, a little STABBITY STABBITY STAB from School Days.

But I am not ashamed, of the Gospel or of my hobby. I love God, and I love my work. The way things have turned out, I think I can say, with the full theological authority conferred upon me as a holder of a “Master of Divinity” degree: God sure has a sense of humor. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Catching Pretty Cure at the Temple

One the most interesting things about religion in Japan is how seemingly contradictory cultural expressions can find their way into religious institutions.  In the past, I’ve mentioned the veneration of Thomas Edison in the country and the temple that is using an anime character as their mascot.  Now, add another interesting combination to the mix, as Mikikazu Komatsu of Crunchyroll writes about a Pretty Cure live show being put on at Bukkoji Buddhist temple, along with other anime-related events as part of the institution’s anniversary celebration and to raise money for earthquake relief.

Pretty cool.

Check out Komatsu’s post for more information:

Pretty Cure Show at Racecourses and Buddhist Temple

Rebuild of Shinji, Asuka, and Rei: You (Can) Hope

For many around my age, Neon Genesis Evangelion was an important series.  Not only was it addicting, but it was breathtaking in so many different ways.  For me, it sealed my love of the medium.  Yet, I wasn’t terribly excited for the Rebuild of Evangelion films.  The first movie was good, but instead of enjoying it, I longed for the depth of the series and became too caught up with comparisons.

Evangelion 2.0, however, is a different story.

Departing significantly from the series, Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance not only brings us new characters and situations, it also changes the tone of the series somewhat.  Despite Justin Sevakis’ comments to the contrary, I found the movie to be brighter and happier than the original.  What struck me was that the characters were no longer almost entirely helpless, victims of circumstance and doomed for their destiny.  Perhaps this shift was no surprise, since Hideaki Anno was dealing with depression during the course of creating the classic series.  Instead, he sends a message that is most unexpected – he tells us that there is hope.

Asuka Langley Shikigami

Art by boyaking(SBF) (Pixiv)

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Fanart: crouching at her door

The deviantART community is home to a large group of Christian artists whose work is influence by anime.  I’ve been blessed to feature examples of work by Beau Soir, sA-oHime, pancake-waddle, GenevieveGT, and ShouYume thus far.  Today, I want to show a beautiful piece by another talented artist, ~Snow-in-Spring.  This wonderful piece of digital art really drew me in – it’s not obviously Christian (an explanation of its connection is below) and it’s quite dark – reminds me a bit of American McGee’s Alice.  I love it, and I hope you enjoy it as well.

crouching at her door by ~Snow-in-Spring

Artist Reflections:

“If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” – Genesis 4:7

For my new years resolution, i decided to finally read the whole Bible. so I was catching up on readings I’d missed for the first 4 days of January and this verse didn’t just jump out at me. it practically jumped and mugged me >=O so I drew this.

(if you don’t get it, the smoke coming out of her mouth is all her wrong doings, ie lying, slandering, gossiping etc which left her heart unprotected. the knife is her willingly destroying herself then… i think you can guess what the black blobs are >_>)

For more art from ~Snow-in-Spring, please visit her DeviantART page.

The Book of Cat With Moon: A Yu Yu Hakusho Redemption Story

When I was younger, I found fanfiction to be more addicting than anime.  I saw various writers (some who were very good) creating awesome stories that beyond what we saw on television.  As the amount of free time I have and my focus in media has changed, I read less and less fanfiction.  Still, when a good piece comes along, especially one that reflects ideas like redemption or transformation, I’ll jump right in.

Today, I’ve included chapter one of a Yu Yu Hakusho fanfic.  I’m not overly familiar with the series, only watching some of it during its original Cartoon Network run, but I can say the writing below is fantastic.  Here are some notes by the author, Kenshin (you can also visit Kenshin’s blog, Heart of Sock):

When I put a link to my fanfiction into a siggy line – I often title it “Tales of Love, Sacrifice, and Sushi.”  My characters and stories are about redemption and reconciliation, but though the themes are there, they are subtle, and leavened with the kind of battles and banter that made Yuu Yuu Hakusho so endearing.

Point to ponder: Whenever an anime character wants to protect someone, he places himself between the person he wishes to protect and the threat—and flings out his arms—in the position of the Cross

Without further to do, here’s chapter one: Read the rest of this entry

Aniblogger Testimonies: Called to Anime

This is the ninth in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith.  Today’s post is by Zeroe4.  The previous posts in this series were written by Lauren Orisini, R86, Nikko, Arianna, Ed Sizemore, Canne, an anonymous blogger, and Annalyn.

When I was growing up, anime was the greatest thing ever. Pokémon was the pinnacle of anime fandom, except in my house. My mother had lived in Japan for a while and had a very negative view of anime. She viewed all anime as being sexually explicate and violent. So my mother did not allow any anime in here house. I learned to love Pokémon through my best friend. Then my family moved.

I didn’t get back into anime tell the same best friend came to visit me and introduced me back into anime. I didn’t fall in love with anime till I saw Code Geass. It captured my imagination. The depth of characters, the amazing art style, the complex story, and above all, the Knightmare Frames all pulled me into the story. I was in love with anime. Read the rest of this entry

Strait from the Heart: Anime Set to George Strait

Today, George Strait celebrates his 59th birthday.  If recognize his name, but aren’t a fan, you may not understand what a major star he was (and is) in country music.  His 57 #1 hits are the most of any singer in any genre ever.  He was most popular in the 80s and 90s, but was still so much of a hitmaker that he was named the ACM’s Artist of the Decade for 2000-09.  Being from Texas (and living fairly close to Strait’s home), I grew up with almost every friend, even those that preferred rap or metal to country, liking the singer.

Strangely enough, as I grew away from country music, I grew into anime.  But today, though I rarely listen to any new country, I still listen to almost as much old George Strait as ever.  His ballads remain heartfelt and strong.  So on his birthday, I thought I’d break the theme of my blog, for just a post, and put together an odd combination – pictures of anime series, characters, and relationships that fit into the lyrics of some of Strait’s songs.

Warning: The following pictures contains spoilers for the series if you read between the lines (or lyrics).

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Madoka, Homura, and a Yuri Embrace of Grace

Weeks past the tweet and blogfest that was Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica episode 12, I felt the need to add one more piece to the already-considerable pile of writings about the finale.  While I’ve already discussed Christian motifs of the episode, and others have commented extensively on its various religious aspects, I wanted to focus on one particular scene in episode 12.  It lasts only two to three minutes, but it’s likely to be remembered by most who saw the show.  Why?

Because it was awkward.

At least it was awkward in that it was unexpected.  The scene I’m talking about is the one where Madoka embraces Homura, with the two clothed in nothing but glittery shadows (you can see a shot of the scene at Ambivalence, or is it ambiguity?).

While the scene projected yuri overtones for the show and the girls’ relationship (forgive me if I’m wrong, but I understand the genre in terms of how John at AnimeNation defines it), I want to focus on the spiritual transformation that occurs within Homura in the scene.  It’s a strangely innocent and pure scene – both girls are in their natural states and it is talk of friendship that dominates, not of lovers. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Serendipitous Serenity

One of the most unique and reviled manga-influenced series of the recent past is Serenity.  Even from the Christian community, the response has been mixed at best.  Since seeing the series on bookshelves years ago, I’ve always been interested in digging in, though I’ve never wanted to put the bucks down to read a series that might not be so good.

Luckily, Taylor Ramage, editor of Caught Up in the Rush, has recently reviewed several volumes of the series.  Though she initially disliked Serenity, she’s warmed to issues following the first one, giving largely positive feedback on volumes 3, 4, and 5.

Taylor’s reviews are linked below:

Serenity vol. 1: An Attempt At Christian Manga

Serenity vol. 3: A Surprising Improvement

Serenity vol. 4: More Improvement All Around

Serenity vol. 5: Okay, Now I Think It’s Good