Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Guide (No, Two!) for Jumping into Haibane Renemi

As I worked through the hustle and bustle of my first anime convention, I was tempted to buy a variety of items, but I held back.  I kept my eyes on the prize: an inexpensive box set of Haibane Renmei, a series currently licensed by FUNimation, but out of print.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an expensive copy, much less a cheap one.  A few days after posting about my experience, however, Don of Zoopraxiscope graciously offered me his copy.

Rakka

Artist unknown

And so, especially in light of my disappointment in this season’s anime, I’ve carved aside some time to rewatch Haibane Renmei.  While I may not post about the series this time around (or I may – the show left a profound impact on me and led to one of my favorite posts here on the blog), I did want to give first-time watchers (or second or third timers) a couple of links that they might use while following this series: Read the rest of this entry

Claymore, Episodes 3 and 4: Sinners and Saints in the Holy City

My very favorite manga is the violent series, Claymore, about women who are half-demon (yoma), engineered to destroy other demons.  It may seem an odd pick for me, but the last few years I’ve been engrossed in it like I’ve been with few other manga.  But it wasn’t until recently that I decided to march through the entire anime series on which it is based.  And although I previously noticed Teresa’s similarity to John the Baptist and Phantom Miria’s to Jesus, it also wasn’t until now that I saw additional spiritual connections, thematically and symbolically.

In episodes three and four, Clare is dispatched to the holy city of Rabona, where claymores, among others, are too impure to enter.  There, she must fight a yoma who has been killing priests and guards within the city’s cathedral.  As she battles the yoma alongside two distrustful guards, Clare exhibits characteristics of Christ, particularly when she falls to the enemy at the end of episode three.  The director of the show purposely makes this connection as Clare is pierced, panning to stain glass depicting Jesus being pierced in His side as well. Read the rest of this entry

So Long, Farewell, We’ll Miss Ya: Eight Great Posts from 2DT

On Tuesday, 2DT, writer-extraordinaire, announced that he was discontinuing his blog.  Although it’s sad to see a popular blogger move on, it’s not unusual, right?  You’d think so – which is why I was surprised at the sense of melancholy I’ve felt the last few days.  2DT has been an encouragement to me, but the reason for the tinge of sadness goes beyond that – upon reflection (and digging through the many past entries on 2-D Teleidoscope which were written before I followed blogs), I realized why: never again would I read a new post by the best blogger on the Internet.

One can separate bloggers into three categories:

  • Bloggers: These writers conform well to the opinionated tone of the anime blogosphere.  They are the largest subset (perhaps 90%), but like all three, there are only a handful of great ones.  I could break this category down further, but I’m too lazy to. -_-‘
  • Academics and Reviewers: I place these two in the same category because their writing is entertaining more on an intellectual level.  Their work often takes some research and isn’t often dependent on the newest, hippest trend or show.  Again, there are only a few great ones.
  • Authors: These writers are a pure joy to read.  Each post is a tiny piece of literature – something to savor and enjoy.  These are the writers whose work I try to set aside for a quiet time, so that I can read and take in every word.  This is the smallest group and every member is a great one.

There are two bloggers I qualify as authors – one is on hiatus.  And the other just retired.

On a less significant (and more selfish) note, Beneath the Tangles’ is the worse off for 2-D Teleidoscope’s end.  I frequently linked to his blog (and he was kind enough to link to me from time to time).  If one thing defines 2DT, besides the wonderful tone of his posts (compassionate? intelligent? clever? whimsical? All of the above.), it’s his willingness to write about any topic, no matter how taboo.  Sometimes, that means his post are a bit not-safe-for-work, and sometimes it means he’ll tackle an issue few do in the anime blogosphere: religion.

It would be too difficult (and off-theme) for me to give a complete list of my favorite posts, but I can mention eight of my favorite 2DT posts that tackle religion and spirituality.  He touches on a variety of topics, from the occult to Christianity to Buddhism.  Have a read – and while you’re there, take some time to savor the writing of a man whose writing will be dearly missed in the aniblogger community: Read the rest of this entry

Gnostic Haruhism, Buddhist Church of Madoka, and an Animevangelist

In his unique style, Monsieur LaMoe discusses how karmic religions intertwine with Aquarion EVOL.  I admit, he lost me before I was halfway through.  I did enjoy his pronouncement of Maaya Sakamoto as an “animevangelist,” however. [Anime Diet]

The author of the new Cyberpunk Otaku blog posts a bit about her religious beliefs. [Cyberpunk Otaku]

Zeroe4 reviews the first season of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya and ends with some thoughts about humanity trying to become God. [Zeroe4]

And speaking of Haruhi, Kuro examines the paths that she and Madoka of Puella Magi Madoka Magica have taken to become “goddesses” of their respective fandoms. [Kansatsu]

Super-chill video blogger, Code+, gives his take on the generally negative presentation of priests and the Christian religion in anime and manga (warning: some foul language). [CodeArchives]

On Day 18 of his Twenty Days of Haibane Renmei series, John Samuel mentions creator Yoshitoshi ABe’s though process in creating a series that has such a strong religious theme, but lacks a purposeful theology. [Pirates of the Burley Griffin]

I haven’t paid attention to Shakugan no Shana, but judging by Guardian Enzo’s post, there are apparently religious/philosophical themes at play in the series. [Lost in America]

Sweetpea616 gives a mediocre score to Broken, one of the better known, self-published Christian OEL manga. [Paper Chimes]

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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.

Anime, Manga, and Comic Book Nun Giveaway Winner

Beneath the Tangles’ first-ever contest in now complete!  I drew a winner of the Chrono Crusade DVD set and Warrior Nun Areala manga, comics, and graphic novels in the most sophisticated way possible – slips in a plastic (not red Solo) cup:

Entrants in "The Lottery," er, the Hunger Games, er, the contest

Read the rest of this entry

My Soul, You’re Beat! Goodbye to Angel Beats and Chrono Crusade

Buh-Bye (and good riddance?)! Art by はとむら

More than a review or analysis of Angel Beats! and Chrono Crusade, this post is an update to those who may have been following my posts about the series.  To my relief, and possibly to your own, I’ve decide to discontinue my projects on these two shows.

For Angel Beats!, I’d planned on posting an analysis of each episode.  In fact, I’d enjoyed doing this, commenting on a variety of topics through episode 7:

Unfortunately, as I did when originally viewing the series, I started to run out of steam this second time around. Read the rest of this entry

First Impressions – Senki Zessho Symphogear: Your voice is your weapon.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I’m late out of the starting gate this season for anime. My options on new shows to follow this season slowly deteriorated as the weeks went on with disinterest, especially since I’m still trying to speed through Bakemonogatari in order to see Nisemonogatari, Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki is not being deep enough to blog about, and Black★Rock Shooter is not coming out until next month.

Therefore, I opted for something that I didn’t have high expectations for, Senki Zessho Symphogear, and took a chance watching it.

This Suite Precure/Vocaloid/Strike Witches type anime created by Satelight (Shugo Chara, Fairy Tail, Moretsu Pirates) seemed like it would only be an advertisement for music singles. While it is that definitely (the music in this series is fantastic), the story is actually good. So far, at least. And the fanservice, while obviously there, is not as overwhelming as I expected it would be. Read the rest of this entry

Anime in Pakistan, Called to Anime (and Missions), and Review of a Sci-Fi, Religious, Japanese Classic

Ash reviews the Japanese science fiction classic, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights, released last year by Viz Media.  Much of the review is spent discussing the importance of Christianity and especially Buddhism to the plot. [Experiments in Manga]

Aniblogger Zeroe4, who’ll be starting DTS training for his mission to Japan in the next few months, explains what “DTS” means, along with other terminology.  He also talks about the connection between anime and his call to missions. [Called to Anime]

In another post, Zeroe4 compares himself to Mashiro Moritaka (Saikō) from the manga, Bakuman, discussing his own anime-related goal and it’s relation to Christ. [Called to Anime]

The Express Tribunes interviews Pakistani artist and musician, Daniyal Noorani, whose music, set to animated videos and discussing volatile subjects like religion and international relations, has gained attention and acclaim.  Among the tidbits he mentions are his anime-style series in Pakistan, accompanying this comment [The Express Tribune]:

Anime is very popular in Pakistan and there’s a demand for it here.

David Alvarez provides a thorough rundown of SacAnime 2012, including snippets of an interview with Christian voice actor, Vic Mignogna, in which he thanks the Father [Sacremento Press]:

God has been so good to me that I can hardly stand it.

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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.

Drive-by “Fruits Basket,” part 1: An Incurable Curse and an Incurable Optimist

When you went on road trips as a family, was your father like mine, the type that Dave Barry described as thinking that “seeing” a certain landmark meant “driving past it at 70 miles per hour”?

One of the very few manga series I’ve read from beginning to end, Fruits Basket by Takaya Natsuki is a skillfully woven tale of a family with an ancient and terrible curse, and a girl who dares to become a part of this family in spite of their problems and hers. The wonderful and miraculous things that happen to the entire cast through the presence in its midst of a girl who will not and cannot stop hoping for the best, would take at least two dozen essays if I wished to go into detail. Therefore I will try a different approach. In perhaps five or six essays, I wish to guide us through the 23-volume manga series of Fruits Basket, pointing out some of the landmarks as we drive past them at 70 miles per hour. I can promise you that many details will be skipped, including your personal favorites. Maybe this isn’t all bad, since the amount of damage I do by spoiling the story will be minimized.

(Nevertheless, SPOILER ALERT just in case!)

In many ways, my approach is so laughable as to be personally embarrassing. Reading this manga changed my life, and here I would dare to offer the Cliff’s Notes version of the Cliff’s Notes version? I would risk making light of the unacknowledged God in manga who breaks fictional generational curses, when there is a real God who breaks real curses in real people’s lives? It is a fair point. And it is a risk I am willing to take, because the story of Honda Tohru and the Sohma family is too important not to tell. I will be open and frank about my agenda: my hope is that dealing with this masterpiece in this way will encourage some of you who haven’t read the manga to do so, even if you’ve watched the anime version. Collecting all 23 volumes of Fruits Basket is a considerable investment, of both effort and money, but it is worth it. There is something for everyone in this series, but if you will trust me with the controls of this car, I will do my best on our road trip to whet your appetite. And although it will take us a while to get there even at our rate of speed, the ending of this story is glorious. Read the rest of this entry

The Great Chrono Crusade and Comic Book Nun Giveaway

Several months ago, I started watching Chrono Crusade, which portrays a young nun and a demon as they try to stop other demons in 1920s New York City.  To celebrate my decision to finally post my final thoughts on the series, I’ve decide to give away the review copy of Chrono Crusade provided by the lovely folks at FUNimation.

But wait, there’s more! Read the rest of this entry