Anime and Christianity
While many don’t have issues viewing anime, some Christians may. Christians parents, particularly, may find it difficult to give anime a chance, especially when it conveys ideas and plots that are both foreign and devoid of Christianity. Further difficulties arise depending on one’s perspective when viewing media. However, there are very definitive bridges that can be built between anime and Christian spirituality. Today, Chelsea Machiela, whose work I’ve linked to before, delivers a guest post about bringing together the two.
Anime, over the years, has created quite a reputation for itself. As the brush is painted too wide, and lines blur between happy magic and dark witchcraft, many don’t know what to do about the oncoming wave of an anime-obsessed teen generation. For some, that wave is small and harmless, for others it’s a deadly tsunami.
Legalism also sneaks it’s way into the balance. Many of the things, it concludes, originates from something evil. One must not forget that God can redeem anything as His. Many people have fought a winning battle to prove this.
Although it can sometimes be overlooked, there are many Christian references in anime, if not a complete, blown out exhibit. Just like C.S. Lewis’s “Narnia” series, there are some animes that use nearly the same representation.
In Chrono Crusade, all the main characters are Christian. There are lots of Christian references in the plot.
At times, though, we have to identify it ourselves. (Like, when you think about it, Tohru from Fruits Basket, and Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club both were talking to their mothers, whom they identified were in Heaven.)
Like most stories, there is a constant battle between good and evil. It’s not anime, but even the famous Lord of the Rings demonstrates this.
Sometimes we can make light of the stories by relating them to Christianity.
- An act of unconditional love or sacrifice can be related to what God has done for us. (Like when the Third Hokage in Naruto sacrifices his soul to stop Orochimaru and save the village.)
- Wanting to be a friend and role model to an outcast. (Like Tohru from Fruits Basket trying to be a friend to the short-tempered reject, Kyo.)
- And, also, fighting against an inner demon to do the right thing. (Again, in Naruto. Despite his past and his demon, Naruto feels an overwhelming fire to protect those around him, even though they’ve hurt him.)
A good Christian OEL manga to read is Tomo, which is about a Japanese girl, Hana, who comes to America to live with her grandpa. Her grandfather, while teaching her martial arts and the like, also tells her about God. She decides she wants God in her heart as well.
Unbeknownst to them, a secret world is suffering because of a King’s sin. The curse starts turning his subjects, as well as the King, into animals. The King’s attendant, who is evil, is misleading the King every step of the way, making matters worse. As that world starts to interfere with Hana’s, and the danger rises, Hana learns the true meaning of prayer. In a battle of truth and light, she fights to save the world using the sword of the spirit.
Though the story may not be Christian, there are many good lessons to draw from it. Many of these things can be found in the Bible. A word of wisdom from a monk, an undeserving act of love from a stranger….
Our chances to redeem anime have improved. A Bible comic book using the anime style was published a little while ago.
Through people like us, God can redeem Anime, and use it to help others. All we have to do is take the first step, and be an inspiration to others, especially the anime artists themselves. Through this, we can demonstrate how God can use something bad for good.