Author Archives: Hansha123

Hannes’ Complacency

Throughout the entirety of my Christian life, there has been one thing that holds me back more than any other. One thing that I fear one day will spell some sort of enormous failure in my spiritual walk. That thing is complacency.

Maybe that’s why I felt more sympathy and compassion for Hannes and his initial actions in Attack on Titan than disgust. At the time of the first attack, Hannes lived a life of complacency. He was a soldier, a defender of the wall, and a committed fighter against the titans. A complacent fighter, but committed nonetheless, if that makes sense. Clearly he believed in the fight against the titans as evidenced by his intention to go after them to “ settle a score.” However, when finally in the fray, he found himself…unprepared.

When we first meet Hannes, he’s drunk. Even though he and his comrades are supposed to be guarding the wall in case of an attack, they have been lulled into a false sense of security by peacetime and the monotony of guard duty.

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He laughs off Eren’s scolding him for this, even making a joke that he is probably right about their unpreparedness. But he is, truthfully, convinced that things are pretty much under control and why make more effort than is necessary, right?

I feel like I do this so much in my own life. When things are bad, you better believe my nose is in that bible daily, but get things going pretty good and it’s easy for me to get distracted. I’ll put of reading tonight to watch this show, I haven’t prayed today but I’ll do it in a second, I stayed up late Saturday, I’ll sleep in and miss church this Sunday. I’ll go next Sunday. It’s fine. I’ll get spiritually fed tomorrow.

The bible is clear it is dangerous to adopt this attitude.

 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

- 1 Peter 5:8

I had a friend say to me very recently in small group, “I just want people to realize we’re in a war.” …And she’s right. I can’t continue to live my life forgetting where I am and what’s actually going on. I can’t act like nothing that big is ever going to come against me. Just because I can handle things right now on the bare minimum of spiritual food and training I sometimes subsist on doesn’t mean it will be enough for what I could face tomorrow.

It wasn’t enough for Hannes, although he thought it would be until the very moment he came face to face with a titan.

“Don’t go underestimating me Carla. I’m gonna slaughter these titans and save all three of you!”

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He had an idea of how he was going to act and what he was going to accomplish based on his personal experiences and his identity as a fighter. But, the damage of his complacency and lackadaisical approach to his responsibilities was too great.

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When actually faced with the situation he was supposed to be continuously preparing for, he could do little more than fearfully run away. The only thing he could do about the situation he was supposed to conquer after that was sobbingly apologize to Eren.

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That moment Hannes stared in the face of the titan made me think of something that truly scares me. What will be the consequences of my own complacency? Who is going to get jilted because of my unpreparedness? Even though I know who and what I am in the good times, I wonder what kind of person will I prove to be when the pressure is on.

The Wheat and the Weeds in Psycho Pass

Psycho Pass follows Unit One of the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Division in a futuristic Japan. The most notable thing about this futuristic world is how most things in a person’s life are determined by the program SIBYL and the person’s psycho pass, meaning basically their mental state. A bad psycho pass with a “crime coefficient” that is too high can land someone in jail or at a facility with no options, labeled as a ” latent criminal.”

One latent criminal’s life, Shusei Kagari, was over at 5 years old when the system labeled him as such.

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The way the system is set up made me think of the parable of the wheat and the weeds and how it is sometimes interpreted in real life. In the parable, a man is growing a field of wheat when his enemy comes and scatters seeds of weeds throughout the field. When the weeds start growing, the man tells his servants to leave them with the wheat until the harvest. After they are collected and separated, one goes in the storehouse and one goes in the fire. The wheat and weeds of course symbolizing good and bad people. Read the rest of this entry

The Purpose of Trials in Fruits Basket

I have a tendency to shirk away from challenge. Complacency is a hole I feel I constantly find myself climbing out of. If I can avoid it or procrastinate, I usually do. It’s much easier to shove something into a metaphorical box and go watch Youtube videos then actually work through it.

Spiritually in my life, this is something God will tolerate for only so long. As always, God cares much more about me than I do about myself and wants me to have life in abundance, even if that means significant challenge.

There is one scene in Fruits Basket between Kyo and his master/father figure Kazuma that made me think about how sometimes God’s plan for my life and my desire to not deal with challenge, ever, come to a head.

As the cat of the zodiac, Kyo is the most cursed of all of the Sohmas. As part of his curse, he turns into a horrific beast if he doesn’t wear a set of beads and will be confined to a place on the Sohma estate for the rest of his life after high school. He copes with this situation by focusing all of his hurt and frustration on Yuki the rat, the most privileged of the zodiac that was said to have tricked the cat long ago, and keeping almost everyone is his life at a distance.

Kazuma confronts him about this one night.

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Kazuma: Is this the way you intend to go on living for the rest of your days? Ears plugged, eyes closed, hiding behind your hatred for Yuki? Read the rest of this entry

I wanna be like you, Tohru!

Throughout anime, there are themes that reflect Christian values. You can see themes of loyalty, service, peacemaking, patience, love and acceptance just to name a few. Out of all the characters in all of the anime I have seen, the one I felt has come closest to what a Christian is supposed to be, or maybe the one I want to be like most, is Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket.

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From her gratefulness, to her constant service mindset, to her unconditional love and acceptance of those around her, whenever I watch Fruits Basket I find myself wishing I would handle situations the way she handles them. It takes a certain amount of bravery and strength to approach life the way Tohru does.

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The Power of Words in xxxHolic

“Living beings can be bound by so many different things… …But did you know there is only one chain humans can wield themselves?” – Yuko

Talking is such a natural part of everyday life that it’s easy to forget how much our words can affect everything around us, for better or for worse. In xxxHolic, Yuko refers to words as literally living things. As the only naturally occurring “chain” in life that humans can control. In that episode, a girl was chained down by her own words as she constantly spoke and lived out negative, self-fulfilling prophecies. She would talk about failing and it would happen, no matter how likely  she was to succeed before she spoke.

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I know, in my own life, I can often get trapped in this same situation. I talk….a lot…. and I tend to be a pessimistic person. If I’m not careful, I can create my own complaining mantras that will leave me completely immobilized.  Read the rest of this entry

Perspectives in Servant x Service

Servant x Service  follows five civil servants working at the welfare department of  a ward office. The show is strongly reminiscent of the British comedy The Office. Maybe it’s because college graduation was four years ago for me, but it was kind of refreshing to see an anime set in an office instead of set at school.

Although I’m not a civil servant, my jobs, present and past, usually involve  customer service situations similar to the ones in Servant x Service. I could definitely relate to a lot of them.

Like this one…

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Yep.

And this one…

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Oh yes.

and ESPECIALLY this one….

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For all eternity…….

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Staying Awake in Rozen Maiden

Many verses warn us to stay awake, sober-minded and otherwise alert. Consequences of falling asleep are often decay and weakness. Staying awake is very important to staying alive.

“But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ..” 1 Peter 1:13

It’s important to stay awake but, for me, it’s not always easy. The temptation to return to a comatose state and fall into escapes and distractions is great as challenges arise in my faith. It is so easy to put God on the back burner when sin or growth comes up that I don’t want to deal with.

In Rozen Maiden, Jun and the main Rozen doll, Shinku, have a discussion about the long, deep hibernation period Rozen Maidens have periodically. Jun thinks that sounds nice. As someone who spent much of her life asleep, Shinku is passionately of the other opinion.

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Shinku: We merely sleep for a bit when we are wound down, but if no one winds us up we may continue  to slumber and never awaken. That’s the kind of sleep it is.
Jun: That sounds sort of nice.
Shinku: Why?
Jun: There’d be no one who knew me by the time I woke up. I bet that would be refreshing. I almost wouldn’t mind never waking up.
Shinku: You think so? I think it’s better to wake up. Read the rest of this entry

Moriaki’s Love of Truth in And Yet the Town Moves

And Yet the Town Moves (Soremachi) follows the misadventures of a would-be maid cafe called Maid Seaside Cafe. It’s your basic slice of life anime that goes into the lives of the odd people who work in and happen upon the cafe. My absolute favorite character from the series is the neurotic, obsessive, overly logical math teacher Natsuhiko Moriaki.

Let me tell you a little about Moriaki and why he is my favorite. At first, he doesn’t seem very likable what with his blunt, rude observations, rigid adherence to ridiculous rules and being an educator of my all-time least favorite subject, but he grows on you. As I watched him, I started seeing traits I appreciated and honestly wished I saw more of in the current Christian culture.

Trait #1: Moriaki’s unrelenting pursuit of truth.

Morkiaki has an obsessive need to understand and know what is true, moral and otherwise ‘correct.’ He yearns for a complete and total understanding and an absolutely satisfying answer. Even when he was a second grader learning division, he was bothered by the remainder that occurs when a number can no longer be divided because it felt ‘unfinished’ to him.

 

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When he is learning about something, he tries his best to understand it completely and questions when something sounds off to him, even if the teacher says it’s true.

Now, even if someone studied scripture their entire life, they would never come to a full understanding of all of God’s truths. At most, they would touch the very tip of the iceberg within that lifetime. However; this doesn’t excuse us from trying to understand to the best of our ability. We shouldn’t blindly accept what society had deemed as religious, but study and understand these things for ourselves. Are the things you hear truly biblical or are they a product of the more conservative members of your culture. There is a huge difference at times between biblical Christianity and religious Christianity.

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12 Days of Christmas Anime, Day 4: Ghost Hunt

Christmas in Ghost Hunt started the way Christmas probably does for many people: hanging up Christmas decorations and vaguely wondering why they are celebrating the holiday in the first place.

The scene starts with Mai putting up a Christmas tree at the Shibuya Psychic Research Center when Naru comes in, stares blankly at it, and tells her to take it down, because he couldn’t have something as colorful and cheery as a Christmas tree in his presence. The psychic Masako enters and loves the tree. Then Houshou, a Buddhist monk, and Ayako, a shrine maiden, follow in and they all like the tree so much Naru decides he doesn’t want to fight with them and is content with just giving an annoyed look.

Then the Houshou and Ayako ask:

“Ayoko: You’re a monk and you celebrate Christmas?

Houshou: What about you? You’re a priestess, right?”

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Ha, ha, ha, ha, we don’t know what we’re doing.

After that, Father John Brown comes in and tells them they have a case at a church, and everyone gets excited because Christmas definitely needs to involve a church somehow, but no one is really sure why.

What followed is probably the only Christmas special I’ve ever seen with possessions and an exorcism. Read the rest of this entry

Loving your Enemy in Shigofumi

A Shigofumi is a letter from the dead.

The final thoughts and feeling of someone imprinted in a letter and sent to a person of their choosing. Sometimes the letter is angry, sometimes the letter is joyful, sometimes the letter is sent to a cat.
In most episodes of Shigofumi, the main character is sent off to deliver a letter to whomever the deceased person chooses. Most often, the letter is sent to either a loved one left behind and is filled with love or an enemy and is filled with hate and contempt. The letter that struck me the most in the series was one sent to an enemy but filled with unconditional, radical love. It was given to one character’s murderer.
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The victim, Shouta, and the murderer, Asuna, were friends that would often meet and talk about their dreams. After Shouta learns about Asuna’s dark secret, she kills him to protect herself and her family.
In the letter, there is no trace of hate or resentment. There is not really even direct mention of the murder. Surprisingly, there is an apology. Shouta apologizes for not seeing the pain the murderer was in that led to her choices.
“I’m sorry I didn’t notice. All I thought about was myself. I never really thought about what kind of girl you were…”