Monthly Archives: December 2011

Fate/Zero’s Gilles de Rais: Our Double Self and New Year’s Resolutions

…each day I murdered, and I defiled, and yet no divine punishment came.

– Gilles de Rais, Fate/Zero Episode 13

In a series full of interesting characters, I’ve become most intrigued with one of the villains of Fate/Zero, Gilles de Rais.  The last episode of the season brought us deeper into his psyche, as he talked about God, punishment, and justice.  The show suggests that Gilles became angry with God because for all the evil the once-famous soldier and noble did, God did not stop him.

Gilles de Rais

Art by アレげ人類

As I wrote about earlier, the real Gilles de Rais was a notorious fiend who tortured and viciously murdered possibly hundreds of children (or did he?).  Though unlike his anime counterpart, the real Gilles was sure he would be saved by a gracious God just moments before his execution (perhaps the anime suggests that he reconsidered his position about God’s grace in an afterlife?).

Nonetheless, Gilles (both the Fate/Zero version and the real one) presents a common scenario to an almost impossible extreme.  Gilles’ one-time reliance on God did not match his actions.  I would say we all have double selves – we are all hypocrites to some extent, whether it’s only on an occasional basis or frequently.  For Christians, we may say all the correct, Christianese terminology, but our lives don’t necessarily reflect the Christian walk. Read the rest of this entry

Land of Confusion: My First Anime Con Experience

Whew.  It’s done.

I returned home from my first experience at an anime convention (in this case, IKKiCON) with a humongous headache – mostly from allergies, but certainly not abated by crowds and confusion.

That said, I actually had a pretty good time.

First off, let me praise the IKKiCON staff.  I’m planning some rather large events myself in the coming months and I know how difficult it can be; I don’t yet know how hard it’ll be the day of, but it’s easy to see that such a large, complex gathering can be a major headache.  Yet, a number of people went out of their way to assist this little blogger.  In addition, staff was helpful and kind in general and security was surprisingly both staunch and non-invasive.

I didn’t get to sit in on much, but I enjoyed what I saw.  For instance, Johnny Yong Bosch had a one hour panel, and it wasn’t long enough (I could watch him demonstrate the silliness of Dragonball Evolution‘s fight scenes with microphones all afternoon).

Most importantly, I got what I came for and more. Read the rest of this entry

Top Blog Posts About Anime and Religion in 2011: #7-12

Yesterday, I gave numbers one through six on my list of the years top posts regarding anime and spirituality.  It’s been difficult selecting the top posts of the year, though I’ve found again and again, they’re written by my favorite writers in the blogosphere.  These wonderful bloggers seem to be adept at writing about a variety of subjects, religion included.

Art by 泉水真琴

Below are the remaining six of the year, listed in chronological order:

7. Apples and Devil’s Deals: A Religious Analysis of the Apple Scene in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
written by A Day Without Me

Kyouko herself gains knowledge, too, and likewise comes to unhappiness, although unlike her father she is capable of adapting. But she herself takes on the guise of the Snake, at least as things develop, for she offers a literal apple to Sayaka while also holding forth an apple of knowledge as well. Sayaka’s already dealt with one Snake in the grass, and made the mistake of taking the apple from Kyuubey, but tosses the apple back at the second she encounters.

Read the entire post

Read the rest of this entry

On My Way (to My First Con)

It’s been a while now, but there was a time when I was a public schoolteacher.  Some of the kids in my class, particularly the boys, knew that I was an anime fan.  As classes let out one year, two of these boys asked if I could be a chaperone and drive them to a convention in Dallas.  I was excited to go to a convention, but alas, that never happened (almost definitely for the better).  I expected that sometime shortly after that, I’d go to my first con, but it never happened.

Eight years later, I’m headed to my first anime convention.

IKKiCON is Austin’s major anime convention (another is being held soon afterward in the suburb of Round Rock).  I’m not going a long way to attend (it’s being held three blocks away from my workplace) and the staff I’ve spoken with have been very nice.  Still, I’m a bit nervous (despite Hoshi’s advice otherwise).  I may be the writer on this blog with the least con experience, with R86 attending his first this past year and Goldy staffing one in her area.

But mostly, I just feel really strange being a 30-year-old man in this type of setting, particularly in light of recent events and articles.

Luckily, I’m armed with a great set of tips on how to be a “model press attendee” and a list of goals (maybe the biggest of which is to spend very little money – must…save…money).  Due to, well, life, I’ll also only be attending for the better part of just one day.  Best to get my first taste in small portions, I suppose.

I’ll be heading out tomorrow and will let y’all know how it went.  In the meantime, any suggestions, tips, or comments about attending cons might be helpful.

Top Blog Posts About Anime and Religion in 2011: #1-6

Jesus and Buddha

Art by はっさく

New Year’s is often a good time for retrospection – personally, professionally, even regarding one’s hobbies and interests.  On Beneath the Tangles, that means looking at the two major items we discuss: anime and religion/spirituality.  Though all of the writers here are Christian, I’ve also been sure to link to posts that discuss anime and manga in relation to other religions, particularly through the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere posts, which appear here every Friday and on other occasions.

Though I’d love to talk up my co-bloggers, I’ll leave out any of the posts written by staff (well, you can find a few of my favorites here, here, and here).  Instead, the list below is of posts written by other anibloggers involving anime/manga and religion/spirituality.  Numbers one through six are listed in chronological order (seven through twelve to follow tomorrow):

1. Fractale 01: The Looming End of Our Fantasies
written by Ghostlightning

If the Fractale system removes the problem of suffering due to privation entirely, it is arguable that it has done more than God would do for creation. This is why it presents itself (or perhaps there are those who present it as) the operational God of this world. If your most basic needs are taken care of (an income to survive, to participate in the market), then aren’t you free to pursue your dreams?

Read the entire post

Read also: The Ascent into Hell: Infinite Ryvius and School Days (yeah you heard me)

Read the rest of this entry

Fate/Zero’s Blasphemy as Praise, Gnosticism Among Penguins, and Snowy Weather Yokai

I took last week off for Christmas, which means there is a plethora of links to share on Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere today.  I’ll return to the regular Friday schedule starting next Friday.

I was surprised that although this week’s Fate/Zero included a lengthy discussion of God’s sense of justice and His nature, few bloggers discussed the scene.  Draggle examines the idea of blasphemy as praise, while Chikorita157 and Hisui, among other bloggers, summarize Caster and Ryuunosuke’s discussion about God.

Another finale that aired this week was for Mawaru Penguindrum.  Draggle concludes the show with a thorough analysis of Gnostic elements.  Chaostangent discusses certain ideas in the series, particularly the religious element of sin.  Nopy demystifies some of the show’s symbolism, which included some religious elements, like the apples.

Zeroe4 provides his otakucized version of I Corinthians 19-23:

To the Otaku, I became as an otaku (even though I serve Christ first) in order to win otaku.

On his other blog, Zeroe4 brings up Genesis when talking Chobits.

Charles Dunbar profiles the Yuki-onna yokai.

In the way of reviews, Sweetpea dislikes the religious-themed manga, Testarotho and Kuuki found Happy Science’s Rebirth of Buddha confusing.

Bobbierob’s Secret Santa show was Haibane Renmei, and befitting of the series, he writes a bit about the themes of sin and salvation in the angelic series.


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.

Guilty Crown episodes 10 and 11 – Keep calm and be yourself.

Guilty Crown episode 10 summarized in one image

How's that for a Merry Christmas?

Shuu is heavily affected by the death of Jun that he is not able to function. He sees delusions and is even scared of his own shadow. Because of his lack of action, he resigns from/is thrown out of the Undertakers, who then try to get back The Crystal that started it all back from GHQ.

Turns out, things go awry and everything looks pretty hopeless as the Undertakers start losing, the virus starts transmitting through sound waves, and only Gai and Inori are left to infiltrate GHQ while the rest of the Undertakers are trying to hold off attacks.

Oh yeah, but then there’s this guy.

I can't remember seeing this guy before, but he looks pretty sinister. His hair reminds me of Daryl's.

He’s important later. Read the rest of this entry

The Thirteenth Day of Christmas Anime…er, Manga: Mari and Santa

Mari and Santa

The Christmas Story
It’s almost Christmas, but Santa is in a pickle.  You see, the Santa in charge of Japan is a young apprentice who is inexperienced and…isn’t good with kids.  So how will he deal with a 4-year-old girl named Mari who takes him and his injured reindeer in on Christmas Eve?

Ah…a bishie Santa.  Interesting.

Even more interesting is how this one shot goes the opposite direction of another story about Santa Claus, Ken Akamatsu’s My Santa.  Very clean and focused on the Aisheteruze Baby model of “teenage boy takes care of young girl,” the story focuses on a Santa that is trying to cheer up a depressed four year old.  It’s touching and certainly a wonderful little story to end the 12 Days of Christmas Anime series of posts.

Christmas Spirit Score

3 Santa Kero’s out of 4

If This Episode Was  a Christmas Song, It Would Be…

“All I Really Want for Christmas” – Though Mari isn’t an orphan, you’ll understand why I selected these lyrics if you read the manga:

I didn’t come and talk to you ’cause that’s never worked before
And you’ll probably never see this letter, anyway
But just in case there’s something you can do to help me out
I’ll ask you one more time

All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in
A shoulder to cry on if I lose, shoulders to ride on if I win
There’s so much I could ask for, but there’s just one thing I need
All I really want for Christmas is a family

On the thirteenth day of Christmas, anime gave to me
Azmaria’s first Christmas,
a gynoid giving gifts,
nostalgic Christmas parties,
Ami and Taiga singing,
love changing a boy into a man,
three homeless heroes,
a widow knitting scarves,
Rin’s charming grins,
Naru looking pretty,
knitting for a crush,
a Paper Sisters birthday,
and friends for a former emperor.

Mawaru Penguindrum Episode 24: Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!

Kanba and Shouma reindeer

Art by さちゅ

I hope you’re having a wonderful Christmas Day.  I love Christmastime and I can’t deny that a big reason for is because I typically take vacation from work during this time of year.  And the very first thing I did after waking on my first day off was to watch the series finale of Mawaru Penguindrum.  And befitting of the season, it was a religious experience.

While the Buddhist overtones of the episode were strong, as in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, I saw something additional – again as with Madoka, I saw Christ all over the series finale.

How appropriate, then, that my final post on Mawaru Penguindrum is all about the One whose birth we celebrate today.  And although I couldn’t tell you what everything in the episode meant or the how’s and why’s of all that happened, I can tell you that in the end love won out in an episode befitting of the power of the Christmas message. Read the rest of this entry

The Twelfth Day of Christmas Anime: Chrono Crusade

Chrono Crusade
Episode 12: “Holy Night”

Reindeer Chrono

Art by 柚木ガオ

The Christmas Story
Marking the midway point of the series, episode 12 of Chrono Crusade begins with Rosette stealing Azamaria away from Christmas play practice.  There are troubling things going on in San Francisco, and the two will go there along with Chrono, but not before celebrating Christmas with the other members of the Order.  As Christmas comes closer, Azmaria reflects on her painful history with the holiday.  Having never received or given gifts, she seeks advice on what she should give Chrono and Rosette this year.

Come Christmas Eve, Azmaria participates in the Christmas play and goes to purchase a gift she selected.  However, little does she know that the best gifts of all are waiting in store for her.

What a wonderful episode!  From the beginning, the focus is on Azmaria and what she represents.  As Rosette says, Christmas can be a happy time, even for people in pain (and God knows how so many people suffer especially during the holiday season).  Her difficult past and the Rosette and Chrono/Santa and reindeer event remind of neglected children.  I was reminded of Operation Christmas Child, a program my wife and I emphasize at our church to provide gifts for children who’ve never received anything for Christmas.

This was such an emotional and feel-good episode that, despite my hitherto back-and-forth feelings about Chrono Crusade, I intend to watch this specific episode each year.  I should thank Kristin of Girl G33K for recommending it. Read the rest of this entry


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