Monthly Archives: November 2011

OEL Manga Review: Many Are Called

Many Are Called
Story by Gabrielle Gniewek
Art by Sean Lam
Published by Manga Hero

A common criticism of the Bible is that it is dull and unable to capture the attention of modern audiences.  But what if a writer and artist created a compelling parable of a Bible story, imitating the manner in which Jesus also told parables?

‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’  But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’

Matthew 25:11b-12 (NIV)

In a kingdom of medieval/fantasy feel, but featuring anachronisms like WWII era planes and machine guns, a prince goes to retrieve his exiled love to bring her to their wedding.  But despite an escort of well-trained female fighter pilots, his quest won’t be easy – both at home and abroad, he faces challenges by those who would rebel against the kingdom, including a mysterious man who could bring down an entire kingdom.

The story above isn’t particularly new, but its arrangement in Many Are Called, Manga Hero’s latest OEL manga release, is unique. Read the rest of this entry

Worshipping Haruhi…and Other Things Your Heart Desires

I’d been waiting weeks and even months for this.  As I drove to my friends house, I was a bit nervous and excited.  Truth be told, aside from my wife, this would be only the third time I’d ever watched anime with a friend.

A couple of months ago, I was talking to this friend about anime.  During college, we’d talk anime quite a bit – he helped me really get into it, providing me with direction over which series to watch (I wouldn’t have watched Maison Ikkoku, now one of my favorites, without his suggestion).  But now, like so many of us, he’d grown tired of the medium, watching hardly any anime the past several years.

In the course of our conversation, I mentioned The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and was shocked to find out that he’d never seen it.  I thought that certainly, if any series could help an anime fan recover, it would be Haruhi.  And so, when the time came, I brought my DVDs over for a mini-marathon of what is possibly my favorite series.

Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

Art by 小黒鲁加

This whole series of events got me thinking back to much-repeated words of wisdom in Sunday sermons – wherever your time/wallet/energy/etc. is, there your heart is, too Read the rest of this entry

Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 20: Himari and Shouma, the First Man and Woman

Mawaru Penguindrum continues to deliver week after week, defying conventions on the way.  Among other things, episode 20 was a beautiful episode about romantic fate.  The flashback to Himari and Shouma as children is both touching and difficult to watch.  There’s little as heartwarming as watching two kids love on a stray kitten (and little as heartbreaking as watching a beloved taken away from a child).

Himari, Shouma, scarf

A purple and yellow scarf of fate; the fruit of good and evil (art by ほっとなコーンスープ)

The allusion in this flashback is also powerful and quite clear – it’s to the Garden of Eden and to Adam and Eve.  As the parents scheme, Shouma wanders off.  The parents’ meeting with other followers of the “Kiba” organization can allude to two things: first, it’s the birth of the survival strategy that will ultimately lead to the sarin attacks, and as such, it’s a genesis – the beginning.  The giver of the apple, which I presume to be Shouma’s father and/or mother, also takes on the role of Satan.  As he twists minds and hearts in his speech, he also lures Shouma into what is ultimately a painful fate. Read the rest of this entry

Himari’s Will, Passion of the Anime, and Guadalupe of Narutaru

Draggle discusses Himari’s comments in episode 19 of Mawaru Penguindrum about not amounting to anything in terms of free will.

Omo uses The Passion of the Christ to illustrate a point about how viewers watch anime.

Katie reviews chapters two and three of amateur Christian OEL, Send Me an Angel.

Animekritic briefly mentions an allusion to Mary (mother of Christ) in his recent post on Narutaru.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere 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.

Happy Thanksgiving, Anime Fandom!

Art by 嵐空

Happy thanksgiving, anime fans!  Before you dig into that turkey and watch television (football for me…Guilty Crown for you?), I hope you’ll think about all the things you are grateful for.  So hey, to get the turkey rolling, we’ll start our lists of thanks:

R86: I’m thankful for friends, family, and colleagues who support me. I’m thankful for a job, period, in times like these. I’m thankful for websites and a readership like this one, because of which I’ve learned (counter to all my expectations) that I am not going crazy, and that there are other adults who see deep and sublime themes in anime. I’m thankful for the opportunity to express sometimes what I see in anime at this blog. And I’m thankful to God for not only creating the universe and everything in it, including me (which alone would be enough to make him worthy of my worship), and not only sending his Son for my sake and others’, but also showing sovereign concern about every aspect of my life.

Goldy: I’m thankful to be where I am in my life right now. Each year I never think I’ll make it further along or be able to grow and learn anymore, but somehow God gives me the chances I need to continue on. I’m thankful to know many fellow anime fans that have such varying tastes and preferences; it allows me to explore more in the anime genre by seeing how different series (that I may have never thought of watching) positively impact my friends. I’m thankful for my school, as annoying as it can be sometimes, because it has great professors in the area that I study, and outside it as well. I have yet to have a “bad” professor. And most of all, I’m thankful for all my family and my friends, who all remain close to me even though some of us live far away from each other. And to God for sending his Son so that I and others may be saved and have the hope to keep moving forward.

Lynna: I’m thankful for a lot of things so I’m not sure where to start. I’m very thankful for my family and friends, who are always supporting me and cheering me on. I’m thankful that I’m able to share my writing and my ideas on this wonderful blog. I’m thankful for all the wonderful things that have happened this year, and all the new experiences I was able to have, as well as the old ones.  I’m thankful that I can go to school and get an education, even if sometimes I whine and complain about homework XD I’m even thankful for things like homework that are hard, because they make me into a stronger person. But most of all, I’m thankful for for Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, and his great love for us.

TWWK: I’m thankful for all the blessings in my life.  Though being a parent is hard, I love my kids to death and I’m so thankful for my wonderful wife.  I have a wonderful extended family too, flaws and all.  I’m thankful for my workplace – directors, coworkers, and employees.  I’m thankful for my church family, especially my small group.  I can’t begin to state how thankful I am for Jesus.  I’m thankful for the great group of co-bloggers that have joined the site, who (maybe unbeknownst to them) have helped me from getting burned out while pushing me to become a stronger writer.

And finally, I’m very thankful for all the readers of Beneath the Tangles – visiting, occasional, and especially the loyal ones, who keep me on my toes and encourage me consistently.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone!

Chihayafuru (midway pause) – We will meet each other as we pursue our dreams.

Even in the age of passionate gods and miracles, unheard of was such burning autumn red as drenches the Tatsuta river. – Chihaya’s card

As we cruise by the halfway mark of the anime season, I reflect back at the anime I’m following and why. Guilty Crown just out of pure interest in story, Un-Go for the characters, Fate/Zero because of Rider, but out of all of choices, Chihayafuru was one of the titles on the bottom of the list.

Frankly, all the information I heard about it was “It’s about a girl who really likes this traditional Japanese card game.” Yes, passing on that to a guy pulling voids out of people.

Though, thankfully, many of my friends were more ambitious than I and took the chance to watch it and after much convincing, I finally watch the first episode, and I promised it would be only the first episode. 2 hours later, I was fully caught up and wishing for more.

Read the rest of this entry

Penguins at Jesus’ Arrest, Tabuki as Judas, and a Proliferation of Christian OEL Manga

Draggle sees Momoka of Mawaru Penguindrum as a Christ figure with disciples, including Tabuki as Judas.  Roghek responded to that post with one of her own, discussing the episode in terms of the Biblical ideas of sin affecting future generations.  Draggle then wrote another post focusing on our attitudes toward victims and again quoting scripture.

Continuing with Mawaru Penguindrum, Vucubcaquix sees parallels between the characters in episode 18 and similar individuals in the Bible, writing that Tabuki resembles a different disciple, Simon Peter, when he cut off the servant’s (the Takakura children) ear, after which Jesus (Momoka) rebuked him.

Zeroe4 has been accepted into a YWAM program which will send him to Tokyo.  Congratulations!

Katie reviews a ton of self-produced Christian OEL manga, including Dear Emily, Thy Name, Fleeting, Burn, and Send Me an Angel (Vol. 1).

Alafists posted a beautiful night time picture of a Buddhist templte, the Kiyomizu-dera.

Ard Vijn of Twich reviews Angel Beats, emphasizing the religious framework of the story in his review.  In fact, Angel Beats! is getting a lot of run this week, with Miette-chan posting about a Tenshi figure, and the Seventh Style website discussing OST themes from the show and detailing Tenshi’s guard skills.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere 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.

ARIA: Finding Joy

That weird thing she's holding is a Martian cat...Yes, I know, they are very strange-looking cats.(credit goes to カムイ)

Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

When I read my first slice-of-life manga, I was shocked. I had always thought that one of the most important things about manga was having a good, complex plot. It is important, but not always necessary.

ARIA is about a girl named Akari Mizunashi, who hundreds of years into the future travels to Mars, which has been terra-formed and re-named Aqua, to become a female gondolier in the city of Neo-Vanezia. From the first chapter, I was captivated.   Everything was so peaceful and calm. It was almost as if I was right there, amid the bright-red leaves of autumn, rowing a gondola. The conflicts were minor, the action was trivial, but it all seemed so real, so peaceful, and so beautiful I couldn’t stop reading it. Part of what makes this possible is the heroine of the manga, Akari. Read the rest of this entry

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 18 and a Painful Response

I don’t think sad and painful things are pointless.  If that’s fate, then they must happen for a reason.  I will accept it and become stronger.

As Mawaru Penguindrum marches toward its fateful conclusion, one of the most interesting developments has been the change in how the audience views the show’s characters.  Episodes 17 and 18 certainly showed this, as we see the real Tabuki beneath his cheery and clueless exterior.  But the character change that most stands out to me is the one who ended episode 18 with a few powerful words – Ringo, the girl who went from crazy stalker to possibly the show’s most normal individual.

Art by 修行中のさるお

Her words at the end of episode 18 resonate loudly.  The previous 22 minutes have been intense – the most intense episode of the series so far.  Ringo stands at opposition of two of the characters in the center of the episode – Tabuki feels an overpowering sense of injustice and the need to correct that (though he does otherwise at the last second); it is unfair what has happened to Momoka and he can’t move on.  Likewise, Shouma, with his injured brother and sister in his arms, feels a sense of helplessness and pain:

How did this happen?  Why?  We never asked for anything special. Read the rest of this entry

Loving God in Macross Frontier, a Loving God in Angel Beats, and God in a Visual Novel

When I was still in love with God / I never expected such a farewell to come.

The lyrics above come from the song, “Diamond Crevasse,” in Macross Frontier.  Animekritic does his usual wonderful job of analysis, discussing the possible theological meanings of the song in his breakdown of episode 6 of the series.

Kiddtic defends the end of Angel Beats!, and briefly discusses the idea of God in that series’s world.

2DT quotes the gospel in his discussion of Un-Go and human morality’s relation to artificial intelligence.

Kokoro Hane updates us on her progress on a visual novel about Christian anime fans which she is finishing up.

Nu’s tongue is set firmly in cheek as he states that Japan proves that God exists.

The Mecha Guignol provides some information about the Honto ni Atta! Reibai Sensei series, which focuses on a teacher obsessed with the occult.