Monthly Archives: January 2013

Untangled: Where Can I Find Parental Ratings for Anime?

A while back, a reader named Emily sent us the following message (edited) through our Ask the Staff feature:

Hi, I love your sight! I was wondering…is it possible for a parental rating guide or something XD

I watch anime on Crunchyroll and I watch it with my [young] niece and I really want an in-depth adult content advisory. I watch alot and occasionally there are things I wouldn’t call appropriate so I stop watching that anime, but I really would like to know before i start watching it O_o

In short, no – not at this time.  We only do a smattering of reviews on this site (though more are coming in the next month or two).  There are, however, a number of other sites that do provide parental ratings, from a Christian context and otherwise, that might be helpful.

Anime Review Storehouses

There are several websites out there that contain dozens or hundreds of reviews.  Some of them do feature parental ratings of some kind.

Christian Anime Alliance:  The CAA has rated 327 titles at the time of this post.  Many or most of the series and movies are from the last decade, including a host of the most popular ones.  However, don’t expect to find reviews of recently aired shows.

The Anime Cafe:  Though no longer in business, The Anime Cafe provides reviews for a lot of older series, and features a parents’ guide explaining their rating system.

Single Reviewer Sites

Smaller animanga review sites may also give reviews that include parental ratings.  Here’s a helpful one:

Lobster Quadrille:  Rocklobster’s site has specific areas for each review providing information about fanservice, religion, and other concerns.  He frequently updates and includes a lot of newer series.

Paper Chimes:  A prolific reviewer through several sites, Sweetpea provides a “Recommendation” section for each review on Paper Chimes, through which she mentions content that might concern some viewers.

Your best bet might be to simply do a Google search for reviews on series you’re contemplating, as you might find reviews that mention fanservice or other concerns.  Particularly, sites run by Christians, like Living. Loving. Learning., or others concerned with such issues might be more apt to mention them.

Additionally, there is some self-regulation within the anime industry, as you’ll sometimes notice ratings on DVDs or through retailer sites.  We all know that this type of system isn’t always consistent and that it certainly doesn’t fulfill all individual tastes, so take that with a grain of salt.

To the readers out there, do you have any suggestions for anime and manga review sites that include content warnings?

A Year Ago on Beneath the Tangles

A year ago…Hana of T.H.A.T. Anime Blog guest posted about how her religion affects her cosplaying…

…and I guest posted at Anime Instrumentality about Fractale and Japan’s love for Irish music.

Kanba and Shouma reindeer

A year ago…I wished everyone a Merry Christmas by analyzing the finale of Mawaru Penguindrum

…and a Happy New Year by discussing Gilles de Rais of Fate/zero.

A year ago…Goldy talked about Guilty Crown and being yourself…

…and “The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya” and getting out of one’s comfort zone.

A year ago…I visited my first con…haruhi-movie-182

…where I sat down for a second interview with Caitlin Glass.

A year ago…I scattered thoughts about the Toradora OVA episode…

made a judgment about our reasons for going to church (according to Hourou Musuko)…

saw four “faces” of God in Chihayafuru

…and gave thanks for Don and others for their various gifts.

Wandering Son

Suzuka Asahina and Fleeting Obsession

I’m in the midst of watching Suzuka for the third time.  It’s one of those shows that I know it’s kind of terrible, but which I enjoy anyway.  And this time around, I’ve found that I’ve been motivated to write a number of posts on the series, so you’ll see several in the next few weeks, starting with this one.

Suzuka and Yamato

Screen capture from JK’s Wing

One of the real negative aspects of Suzuka is that the male lead, who we’re supposed to root for, is a creep.  He’s a naive creep, but a creep nonetheless.  And I feel horrible to say it, but Yamato reminds me precisely of a friend I had in high school.

Just like Yamato, this friend was obsessed with just one girl.  Just like him, he was in effect, a stalker.  Just like him, he went out of bounds all the time in trying to establish a relationship.  And just like Suzuka, the object of his affection was a track athlete.

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DVD Review: Tenchi Muyo OVA Collection (BD/DVD Combo)

Tenchi Muyo! Complete OVA Collection BD/DVD Combo

Tenchi Muyo!
OVA Collection (BD/DVD Combo)
FUNimation
13 Episodes

Tenchi Misaki, a typical high school boy, has the responsibility of attending to a shrine his family cares for.  Fulfilling a lifelong curiosity, he enters a cave which legend states has been sealed in order to confine the horrible demon, Ryoko.  Little does Tenchi know that his accidental release of the sexy demon will lead to the arrivals of two alien princesses, a Galaxy Police officer, and the world’s greatest scientific genius; a battle among genius criminals and goddesses; a fight for Tenchi’s affections; and the fulfillment of his destiny.

Out of print for many years, FUNimation has surely brought joy to many fans by releasing the classic OVAs, available for the first time on Blu-Ray.  Tenchi Muyo has a dear place in my own heart, since it was the first anime that hooked me, back in the early days of Cartoon Network’s Toonami block.  I was eager to see how the series held up (and how it looked on Blu-Ray).

Approaching the series with a critical eye, rather than with the nostalgic glee with which I normally watch it, helped revealed the show’s faults.  The script is sometimes terrible, as the early part of the series contains a lot of nonsensical actions and dialogue by the characters.  The English language screenplay actually improves upon the direct translation, though it can’t correct poorly constructed plot points, like Tenchi sleeping on the roof of the school the entire day before awakening to a revenge-minded Ryoko.

The writing gets stronger and the inconsistencies start to fade as the series progresses, though.  We get to know each of the girls intimately (more so than we get to know Tenchi, who is famously declared unnecessary by the series title) by the end of the series, and they are classic characters: the wild and needy pirate/demon, Ryoko; temperamental and prim princess, Ayeka; her responsible and slightly mischievous younger sister, Sasami; serendipitous and empty-headed police officer, Mihoshi; quirky scientific genius, Washu; and even the cabbit/spaceship Ryo-Ohki, who is also of the female persuasion.

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Kotoura-san’s Hiyori and Lovely Discipline

Anyone who has ever honed a special skill or talent knows that it takes a steady diet of hard work and consistency to get really good at doing whatever you do.  Discipline is necessary to become a great musician, a winning athlete, or an accomplished writer.  It’s also a prerequisite to becoming a martial arts master.

Kotoura-san HiyoriHiyori Moritani would rather go on a date with Manabe than train in her family dojo.  In fact, by episode three of Kotoura-san, she’s made several comments about how she disliked karate, or least having the expectations of her family upon her.  And yet, there seems to be no coubt that she has the talent and skill to inherit her family’s business.  And that doesn’t come out of the blue – discipline is a required ingredient that must be poured in for the talent to translate into skill.

The spiritual life is no different.  We get better at our, well, disciplines, as we discipline ourselves.  At my life group meeting last week, I admitted that I’ve lacked spiritual discipline and longed for my 20-year-old self, who set aside a good chunk of time each day for prayer and scripture reading.  The more you let yourself slack in these areas (as is the case with most things in life), the harder it is to develop these portions of your walk.  If I don’t invest in prayer, how can I expect my prayer life to thrive? Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Medieval Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Church, The Last Temptation of Madoka, and Samurai Deeper Christ

Nami dives into the themes of redemption and Christ symbolism in Trigun. [The Budding Philosopher]

Medieval Otaku compares Demon Eyes Kyo to Christ and examines some Christian themes and symbols in Samurai Deeper Kyo. [Medieval Otaku]

D.M. Dutcher of the Cacao, put down the shovel blog continues “A Christian’s Guide to Anime and Manga,” posts providing information and recommendations, with a series of articles detailing:

  • specific anime-related definitions [Part 2]
  • the definitions and warnings for “moe” and “lolicon” [Part 3]
  • how Christians should consider approaching anime and manga [Part 4]

JoeAnimated compares monasticism and the Middle Ages to the church guarding knowledge in episode 3 of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.  [Anime Audiolog]

Usny also mentions the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages in relation to Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, and in an aside, gives thoughts about the rise of fall of the Church’s influence [Desu ex Machina]

Jay notes a scene reminiscent of the temptation of Christ in his review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. [Jay's Tee Vee]

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As part of the Something More 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. 

What Anime “Crossed the Line” for You?

Two weeks ago on his Answerman column, Brian Hanson posted responses to a question he posed a week prior:

Has a particular title ever gone ‘too far’ in terms of its content for you?

I immediately thought, ELFEN LIED!, and wrote a response that didn’t make it in (though thankfully, someone else mentioned that irredeemable [or is it?] series).

But what about you, readers?

What anime or manga “crossed the line” for you?  Why was the content too much for you?

Carnival Time: Anime Wish Fulfillment, Part II

Yesterday, I reminisced about my childhood as I gave my first post as part of Iso’s Blog Carnival on anime and wish fulfillment.  Today, I conclude with some of minor things I would like to do (here’s one: I would love to be able to kick butt), and the paths I’ve dreamed about taking.

The Moves – Cowboy Bebop

My first best friend (I moved often as a military brat) was into martial arts (probably tae kwan do).  I admired him and wanted to learn, but I was fearful of getting hurt and never joined.  Of course, I later regretted this inaction.  And of all the styles of martial arts, one of the most attractive is Jeet Kune Do, invented by Bruce Lee and practiced by Spike.  And come on…what hot blooded male doesn’t want to move like Spike and be like water?

The Music – La Corda d’Oro

This one I still have some time to do.  R86 and I have often spoke about how we enjoy this overlooked show, and certainly music is a joint reason why.  R86 performs music frequently (and publicly), while I’ve barely practiced in the last decade or more.  But I plan to take up my violin again in the near future, and while I’ll never be at the level of the geniuses in this show, with some practice I’ll be good enough to enjoy myself.  And who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and a leprechaun will appear and grant me musical powers!

Kin’iro no Corda

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Carnival Time: Anime Wish Fulfillment, Part I

Justin’s failed attempt to avoid a “wish fulfillment anime post” led me to Iso’s latest proposal for the Blog Carnival series.  Though I love my life in the here and now, it’s still fun to think about the little things I would have liked to add to my life, and certainly anime is the tops, man when it comes to having us put ourselves in place of a character who is thrust into something we might dream of doing.

Here are my “wish fulfillment” anime:

The Childhood – My Neighbor Totoro

Some of my best memories of childhood had to do with nature – walking through the woods, playing in old wagons, and somersaulting down green hills.  But those instances were few, as I spent most of my life living in an urban setting.  It would have been nice to get away and live a childhood of imagined adventure, chasing down totoros and finding trouble with a sibling (I’m an only child).

Totoro

Art by Naru

The City – Kanon/Whisper of the Heart

I thought my hometown (El Paso, TX) was a delightful place growing up.  As soon as I moved away, however, I realized how much I’d been missing.  Nestled in the mountains, I enjoyed the scenery, and I treasured the times I spent wandering through the sprawling desert that was literally just a street away.  But I would have preferred a beautiful city of interconnected paths and pretty backdrops, like Seiseki Sakuragaoka.  Or a wintry wonderland that evokes sad, nostalgic, or mystical tones, as Osaka is portrayed in Kanon.

Seiseki Sakuragaoka

Screen capture from Wonders in the Dark

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Kotoura-san, Episode 02: Upstanding Entertainment

In my high school, there were no “otaku kids” – at least none that I knew of.  I was about two years away from discovering the goodness of Card Captor Sakura, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and Tenchi Muyo!  Some of my friends were addicted to Dragonball Z, but were certainly better classified as DBZ fans than as anime fans.  And because of lack of experience (and having experienced just a little bullying myself), I don’t understand the difficulties many young anime fans and cosplayers go through these days.

But I do know what it takes to stop bullying in its tracks.

Haruka Kotoura

Art by 世音♪

Kotoura-san, besides being very funny, has some depth to it.  The first two episodes emphasize bullying a lot, as Kotoura is bullied relentlessly by old classmates and then by new because of her gift (or curse).  It becomes particularly tough for her after she vomits following a fortune-telling session with Hiyori, and the entire school it seems, led by Hiyori and her friends, make school life as miserable for Kotoura as it’s ever been.

But as it is in any case where someone is being victimized – from bullying to genocide – the power to make change lies with the individual.  Manabe doesn’t hesitate to stand up and defend Kotoura.  He is an upstander – a person who stands up and fights for what is right – the opposite of a bystander.

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