Monthly Archives: December 2012
Last year, I gave my 12 favorite posts about anime and religion to end the year. And though I had to leave out a number of great article to fit within that number, I was generally happy with the list. This year, I just had to expand my list to twenty to match the volume of great content being written by anibloggers.
Yesterday, I gave numbers 1-10; here are the remaining ten, in chronological order:
11. Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: Christianity in Anime
written by Lady Saika of Lady Geek Girl and Friends
A particularly strange case is that of Saiyuki – the story is based on a a founding myth of Mahayana Buddhism, for cripe’s sake, and the main character is a Buddhist priest, but in the anime at least, we see statues of the Virgin Mary protecting a town from demons in a way that nothing Buddhist can.
IKKiCON, the largest anime convention in the Austin area, is concluding today, and I think most of the attendees are probably leaving feeling happy with the guests that showed up, the artists and vendors that were selling, and the assortment of interesting panels – all of which were, to me, as good or better than last year.
This was only the second con I’ve ever attended, so I’m still quite a newbie (contrast Tommy, the con veteran who blogs at Anime Bowl). A without a real agenda like last year, when I primarily visited to conclude my interview with Caitlin Glass, I felt quite detached from the proceedings. But because of that, I perhaps had a perspective unlike many others – from the outside looking in.
I Don’t Belong Here
I dressed for the con like I would on a regular workday, and largely because of that, I was the oddball at the proceedings. As I walked by Haruhi Suzumiya, Vash the Stampede, and lots of Hetalia characters whose names I didn’t know (strangely enough, I spotted zero Sword Art Online cosplayers), I probably looked the part of press, which I technically was, but…well, I’m a blogger, not a reporter.
My age also certainly played a role. I’m 31. Most of the people closest to me in age at the con were either organizers or parents walking their children around.
The end of the year means retrospection and of course, “best of” lists. During my time in the aniblogosphere, I’ve been blessed to read hundreds and hundreds of wonderful posts, and though I don’t visit aniblog sites as much now as I did in the past, I still read articles related to anime and religion each week. We present them on Fridays as part of the now-named Something More series.
Though I have a great collection of co-bloggers, I’ll leave staff-written post out the following list. Instead, the list below is of articles 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. We are the pirates who don’t buy anything
written by Tommy of Anime Bowl
In summary, I think that the small percentage of Christians who are anime fans and the large percentage of fansubbers who steal anime are two numbers that go hand-in-hand. Sure, there are Christians who watch fansubs, I know that I did for an arc of Bleach before giving up the crime for good. But I don’t think these statistics are any coincidence; instead, I think it’s something to ponder.
Read also: A Culture of Hate
It’s a Wonderful Life. Charlie Brown Christmas. Polar Express. Love Hina.
Yes, you read that right. Among all these classics, I include Love Hina among my required Christmas viewing every year. The Christmas special for the show is my favorite episode of one of my favorite series, and is my favorite Christmas anime episode among the many I’ve seen.
Love Hina is an angst ridden show, and this specific episode is full of it. Keitaro is excited, thinking that Naru may confess to him (or at least give him a gift), and is heartbroken to find that she apparently still harbors feelings for her former tutor. All this while Keitaro works himself to the bone to get Naru a meaningful Christmas gift.
The angst in this episode, and in other shows like it (ex. Maison Ikkoku), works because we like the male lead. In Love Hina, in fact, Keitaro is the better person of the potential pairing. Naru is more attractive and much smarter, but she’s also weak-hearted and all too often unkind; Keitaro, on the other hand, always puts others above himself.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
– Luke 2: 4-20
Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Tokyo Godfathers is a movie that follows three homeless individuals that find a baby in the trash around Christmas time and try to find the child’s parents. When I first heard the plot if the movie, I wasn’t really excited to watch it, but it’s a lot better than the basic plot sounds. The movie delves into ideas of shame, forgiveness, acceptance and belonging.
One interesting thing about this anime is the way Satoshi Kon used Christian elements. Kon really seemed to have a better understanding than most anime creators about Christianity. Instead of using random crosses as decoration here and there or a vampire fighting priest, he actually uses a sermon to set up the storyline that the characters hear while attending a dinner/sermon for the homeless.
“Jesus was born to offer those alone a place in which to be alive.”
And there were not many more alone in Japan than the three main characters. One is an alcoholic man running from debts, Gin, another is a transsexual, Hana, and the third a teenage runaway, Miyuki. Through the adventure of finding the baby’s parents, whom they name Kiyoko meaning ‘pure child,’ they each are forced to confront the reason they wound up on the streets.
They all have a different reason for leaving home, but the reasons are connected by feelings of shame and hopelessness. Each has done something they are ashamed of and are sure their actions mean they can never be accepted back home. I was particularly moved by the scenes with Miyuki, as she sits sobbing after confessing what she did to her father before running away saying that she can never return because of it and her breakdown after trying to call her parents and not being able to speak. Despite telling Gin and Hana she can return home whenever she feels like it, after her confession she says what she truly believes. Read the rest of this entry
Today is the 23rd, which means Christmas is in two days!!! This post is about episode 12 of the classic anime Shugo Chara! The episode is entitled, “A Sad Christmas Eve!”
When I think of Christmas, I think of a holiday of enjoying the company of those whom I love, but this ideal concept isn’t always the case. I grew up as a military brat, so my dad missed a lot of birthdays and Christmases. Because of this I learned early on that it is rather hard to have celebrations like Christmas when you feel alone.
Similarly, in this episode of Shugo Chara! we witness what is like to be with people you love on Christmas Eve and also what it is like to be alone. One one side we see Hinamori Amu as she spends Christmas Eve with the Guardians and really enjoys her time. On the other hand, we see Tsukiyomi Ikuto as he is alone and hurts other people. The saying fits, “Hurt people, hurt people.”
Interestingly enough, I can relate to both characters. Read the rest of this entry
Kirito Kazuto rushes to the hospital to meet Asuna, he faces one final challenge – the real Sugou, just as crazed as his video game self, but armed with a very real knife. Of course, Kazuto, who surpasses Sugou in physical strength as well as game skills, wins the fight. He holds the knife at Sugou’s throat, apparently ready to end the life of the one who had taken so much from him and had taken Asuna’s body and mind hostage.
Of course, Kazuto decides to be merciful, and lets Sugou go to face judgement in a court of law.
I was reminded of the story of a man I work closely with. As a teenager, he was the lone survivor of a horrific act of mass murder during the Rwandan Genocide. Many years later, he returned to his country and came face to face with one of the perpetrators of the horrible act. The man begged his forgiveness, even as my co-worker held a gun to his head, wanting to take his life. In the end, my friend was merciful and let his enemy go.
We may never face a moment such as these, where there’s a real life and death struggle involved and where we have an opportunity to take or spare our enemy’s life. But there are small moments in our day, involving people who are certainly not enemies, whom we have the opportunity to be merciful toward.
Episode 3.5: “To Santa”
Usagi Drop is one of my very favorite series, but my last taste of it was the conclusion to the manga, which I found lacking (to put it mildly). So it was refreshing to watch this Christmas episode, a six-minute piece that was part of one of the DVD releases.
In the short, Daikichi prepares for Christmas by explaining the ins and outs of Santa Claus. I was surprised at how the legend has translated to Japan – chimneys, letters, cookies, reindeer, and all. Some of these traditions are European in origin and others North American. Rin’s carrot for the reindeer, I’ve discovered, is actually a tradition from English-speaking countries.
More closely to home, though, the episode reminded me of how I’m raising my children. Before kids, I was pretty vehemently against telling them about Santa. I didn’t like the idea of lying to them, and I remember how hurt I was when I found out the truth about the big man. But once I had children, my attitude did a 180, and it became a no-brainer to continue the
Something More: Pornoviolence in Sword Art Online, Mythology of Tsuritama, and the Kingdom of iDOLM@STER
Nick describes the conflicting issues of pornoviolence in our beloved games and anime, and points to a specific example in this past week’s episode of Sword Art Online. [A Rather Silly Blog]
Click writes about his adoration of mythology and how Tsuritama is a modern take on the Japanese myth of Ryūjin, the water dragon. [Pretense with Glasses]
Omo compares iDOLM@STER and his growing interest in the franchise to Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. [omonomono]
Shinmaru dives into The Laws of Eternity, a Happy Science anime, for a 12 Days of Christmas post. [The Cart Driver]
As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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.