Monthly Archives: June 2012

Am I My Sempai’s Keeper? Hato and Madarame in Genshiken Nidaime

The other day, I got an itching to pop in my DVD set of Genshiken to feel the camaraderie of one of the great casts of anime characters.  As I watched, I was reminded of Genshiken Nidaime, which I was “meh” about and hadn’t kept track of.  Still, infected by the Genshiken bug, I went back to it and caught up very quickly, becoming absorbed in the story and feeling an affection for the new generation of characters, who I had cared little about before.

Hato Genshiken

This image of Hato may be confusing if you haven’t been keeping up with the manga…

The last few chapters have been very Hato-heavy, as we learn more and more about his personality (explored further in the most recent chapter, for which I’m eagerly awaiting translation and resisting the temptation to read all about at Ogiue Maniax).  In particular, I’m really enjoying exploration of the bond Hato has with Madarame and the empathy he feels toward him.

Hato knows about Madarame’s feelings toward Kasukabe (they eventually have to get together, right?) and is obsessed with the painful longing that he imagines Madarame must feel.  He wants Madarame to be happy, but what can he do about it?

While we in reality live in a world where we value friendship and often see our friends as family, there’s often a curious detachment when it comes to getting involved with others’ personal lives.  While we certainly don’t want to step over boundaries, I’m often amazed how we might feel bad about others suffering, but still leave a situation as is with the idea that the person in need has to deal with his or her own problems.  True, oftentimes, there’s a good reason to let things be – tough love, boundaries, and the feelings of others involved among them.  But sometimes, we’re using these ideas as an excuse. Read the rest of this entry

Persona 4’s “Key Plus Words”: Searching for Truth

Alexander of Ashita no Anime often provides me with thoughtful perspectives on things we’re both passionate about – particularly anime and religion.  Our discussions are interesting because we generally have diverging opinions.  For instance, Alexander is establishing a reputation as the alternative voice in episode reviews (he was disappointed in Sakamichi no Apollon before it was popular to feel this way), while I’m about as mainstream as they come.  Our religious beliefs are similarly disparate – though we both have Christian backgrounds, I’ve clung strongly to my faith while Alexander is now an atheist.

A few weeks ago, Alexander sent me a link to lyrics from “Key Plus Words,” the song used in the ED for episodes 13 through 22 of Persona 4.  I don’t think he’ll mind if I quote something he wrote about it:

This song is very powerful for me because it nearly perfectly mirrors the transition in my life from a confused Christian to a logical atheist.

The lyrics do certainly seem to mirror the journey many might take from starting as a Christian to discovering the truth that, as they might see it, Christianity is false. Read the rest of this entry

Not This Fan’s Service: An Alternate Viewpoint on Code Geass S1 22-23

I avoided watching Code Geass for a long time, partly because I am picky about character design in anime (I happen to like my characters to be somewhat under eight feet tall), and partly because I had watched two episodes without beginning to care about any of the characters. In the end, two things made me change my mind. One came from the preparations I made before creating my anime fanart group at deviantART, in which I learned that Lelouch Lamperouge ranked third in the Anime-Planet poll for character all-time popularity (an influx of votes for Kakashi-sensei has since lowered Lelouch to fourth place). Granted this is not the most scientific poll in the world (nor does it claim to be), but when over twenty thousand named characters got ranked in that poll, scoring so high must mean something.

The other reason I gave Code Geass a second chance was TWWK’s earlier post on this series, in which he was clearly quite exercised, even appalled, at the violence later on in the series. I couldn’t help being curious about the show that elicited this response from him. Of course, since TWWK wrote this essay with a backdrop of real violence happening too close to home, and since he didn’t know Code Geass would go in that direction whereas his post gave me the benefit of being prepared for it, there was no possible way I could react as he did. Still, I am holding off watching the last two episodes in the first season, so as to put myself in as similar a position as possible to TWWK’s when he wrote his post.

(SPOILER WARNINGS for Code Geass, Death Note, and Steins;Gate below!)

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Tsuritama’s Hindu Conch, Tokyo Cathedral Cafe, and Destined to be a Shuu

Mira unpacks the Hindu and Buddhist implications of the conch shell in Tsuritama. [Hachimitsu]

Lacybacula tells us all about a cafe in Tokyo with a unique spin – it’s designed to resemble a Catholic Church [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Zeroe4 calls us the “Shuu’s of the world” as he muses on God-given destinies, including his own  while in Japan. [Zeroe4]

A Day Without Me provides background on the Angra Mainyu from the Zoroastrian religion in her breakdown of Fate/zero, episode 25. [GAR GAR Stegosaurus]

Jason Morehead appreciates the themes in Haibane Renmei as a meaningful series full of spiritual content. [Christ and Pop Culture]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere 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. 

Aniblogger Testimonies: Familiarity of Faith – Where I Connect With Anime

When I first started this blog, a way I connected with bloggers was to ask a number to guest writer for the site.  What came out of that idea were the Aniblogger Testimonies, unique posts where bloggers wrote about the intersection of anime and their beliefs

While the active phase of this project is over, I’m also eager to add to the series.  Today, a frequent commenter on the site and a friend of mine, Sweetpea, is giving her testimony.

Sweetpea is a terrific reviewer.  I recommend you visit her anime/manga blogs, Paper Chimes and Going in Blindly.  Additionally, she recently started a blog about her beliefs, Pagan by the Book.  Sweetpea is also a reviewer for Organization Anti-Social Geniuses.

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I’m a minority in a minority – a Pagan anime fan. Paganism can mean any non-Abrahamic religion, but I’m Pagan as most Westerners imagine it: I worship gods and godesses like Athena and Brigid, I believe I can talk to spirits, and I celebrate Haloween like the day after will never come. However, I don’t wear a lot of black, I don’t own a pet (let alone a cat!), and I don’t dance around naked or cast curses on people. There are a lot of stereotypes out there that mean that even if I come across people that are open to my religion, they still have a lot of misunderstandings and Hollywood-influenced beliefs about it, which can make life both interesting and hilarious as I try to dispel some of the most hilarious and out-there myths. Read the rest of this entry

Untangled: Have you guys heard/watch/considered “Code Geass”?

From time to time, a reader will send us a question about our thoughts on certain series or various ideas related to religion.  For instance, Albert asked about iDOLM@STER, leading to one of our most popular posts.

In an effort to encourage further questions, I recently added an “Ask the Staff” button to our toolbar.

Do you have questions for us in regards to anime or manga?  Christianity?  Religion?  Or anything else in between or all around?  Please feel free to send it to us.

Esther, another reader, recently sent us this query:

Have you guys heard/watch/considered “Code Geass”? I think the ending had a great impact and I also think that it can relate to “sacrifice for a loved one” or just “sacrifice”. It’s a short series with just 25 ep. in 2 seasons. (50 in all) Great action scenes and connections.

Thanks for the question, Esther.

Indeed, most of us have watched (or are in the middle of watching) Code Geass.  In fact, it’s one of Zeroe4’s favorite series.

I’m not as big of a fan.  Well, more accurately, I was a huge fan until one particular scene affected me so deeply (in a negative way) that I dropped the show:

I turned the computer off and proceeded to be angry for days, thinking of little but this episode.  I never did finish the series, and never will.

I’ve read a summary of the ending, though, and I agree with your analysis – maybe one day one of our writers will address this strong connection.

In the meantime, stay tuned!  Your question is very timely because  “The Professor” (R86) is working on a post for the series, which should be going up soon.  Please check it out – he’s a gifted writer and I’m sure you’ll enjoy his thoughts.

And for everyone else, please send any questions you have our way!

Star Tangled Anime Blog

Welcome, readers of Star Crossed Anime Blog!

Your favorite read is competing against mine during this round of the Aniblog Tourney.  Of course I use the term “competing” loosely. -_-‘

I want to encourage you all to take a break, sip your beverage of choice, and browse through this blog.  It’s summertime – where’ve you to go anyway?  Spend a few minutes to look at the unique content of a sites that dives into anime from a Christian perspective.

Wait.  Don’t close that window!

While all the writers here are outspoken Christians, one important goal of this site to create an atmosphere that is friendly and open.  Westboro Digital Church, we ain’t.  We hope to promote discussion and understanding as we examine at ideas like grace, sacrifice, hope, and greed in anime and manga, old and new.

Look, I’ll even make it easy on you.  Here are five posts that’ll give you a good idea of what we do:

I hope you’re captivated.  Heck, I know you are! :P

If you’d like to keep tracking us, click on the Follow button on the right side of your screen or add us to your reader.  We’d love to see you join in the discussion.

Post Rating:  * (Good)

A Heart Matter: Fate/Zero’s Grail and Prometheus’ Black Ooze

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

-   Genesis 3:5

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Prometheus and Fate/Zero (through episode 24)

Even if you’re like me and knew little of the context heading into Fate/Zero, it was portended right from the beginning of the series that the Holy Grail was going to come with strings attached.  And what a string it is – Angra Mainyu, the “destructive spirit,” is contained within the grail.

In episode 24, Kiritsugu, coming to understand the rules of the Grail as well as the evil spirit lying within, chooses to reject it.  In trying to bring peace to the world, he would instead bring destruction to it.

Fate/Zero Holy Grail

Tainted Grail (art by ちご)

The analogy between the Grail and another sacred symbol, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, must be made.  Eve took of the tree and shared with her husband, the two eating from it to become like gods.  Kiritsugu, too, seeks that power – to know the way and create a way to do something godly. Read the rest of this entry

Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, Episode 05: Models and Symbols of Love

Deeply moving and sensitively crafted, Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a wonderful series.  Showing both the good and bad that dwells in our hearts, the series provide an effective framework for discussing love, hate, sin, and the nature of humanity.  Of all the episodes, maybe the fifth presents these ideas and others most strongly, as Mari and the kids find shelter and are attended to by an older gentleman.

Mari and Yuki

Image by つてぃ

Growing Through Pain

A charge often levied at God is this: If He exists and is a good God, why do the innocent have to suffer?  The answer Christians give is that we live in a fallen world; God helps us through pain, but we must endure.  And in fact, it’s through pain that we grow closer to Him.  Understanding the nature of pain and growing through it can be a process, as reflected in several characters in this episode: Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Mathematical God of GitS, Religion in Gundam, and the Good Shepherd in Fate/Zero

Aelysium examines Ghost in the Shell and takes apart a Tachikoma’s theory of mathematics and God. [Anime Elysium]

Rocklobster approves of how religion is portrayed in Gundam oo. [Lobster Quadrille]

Tommy thanks God (more than once) for a great Colossalcon, as he shifts the direction of his blog more toward convention talk. [Anime Bowl]

I believe GAR GAR Stegosaurus is the only blog to really mention the reading of Psalms 23 at the end of episode 23 of Fate/Zero. [GAR GAR Stegosaurus]

Ghostlightning continues his revisit of Cowboy Bebop, detailing why episode 23, involving a religious cult based on Heaven’s Gate, is similar and superior to the Cowboy Bebop film. [We Remember Love]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere 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.