Category Archives: Japan

Help Requested: We Need Your Questions for Japes in Japan

As you may know from last month’s The Tangles, Japes is currently in Japan working on a summer internship. For a forthcoming podcast, I’ll be asking Japes questions about his experiences, and we’d love for you to join in as well!  Please comment below with questions you might like Japes to answer.  Here are some ideas:

  • Personal: Ask Japes about why and what’s doing in the land of the rising sun
  • Culture and People: Ask about Japes experiences with the Japanese
  • True or False: Does Japan live up to the ideas we may have about the country here in the west?
  • Anime: What is anime and anime fandom like in Japan?
  • Religion: What is it like being a Christian in a non-Christian nation?

Add to that anything else you’d like to know!  Thank you in advance – we appreciate your participation!

Edit: We’re all set now, so we’re closed for further questions. Thanks for your questions, all!

Something More: God’s View of a Giftia Wife, Parable of the Lost Nameko, and Allah or YHWH in Arslan Senki?

Episode 7 of Nameko Families provides a striking parallel to Jesus’ parable of the lost sheep. [Old Line Elephant]

The beauty of ABe’s concept artwork for Haibane Renmei is undeniable, and begs the question of whether he was inspired by Christian paintings. [Fantastic Memes]

Medieval Otaku sees a parallel between how the Christian God is depicted like Allah by non-Christians and a scene in Arslan Senki and wonders if the creator of Space Pirate Captain Harlock has some knowledge of scripture. [Medieval Otaku]

Rob asks an interesting question in response to Plastic Memories – what would God think of a giftia spouse? [Christian Anime Review]

Along the same lines, Tsukasa’s loving actions toward Isla demonstrate St. Paul’s assertion that “love never fails.” [Geeks Under Grace]

Patlabor: The Movie is full of interesting details, including many references to Christianity and the Bible. [Prede’s Anime Reviews]

There’s a lot of depth to a favorite Japanese expression of incredulity, including the fact that it might have Zen Buddhist origins. How could you not know that, baka?! [Tofugu]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

 

Anime Today: Experiencing Context

If you listened to our latest episode of The Tangles Podcast, you probably know that I am soon headed to the land of Japan. Actually, within 24 hours of this article going live, I will be on a plane crossing the Pacific (God willing).

On a somewhat disconnected note (I promise it will make sense soon), I’ve also recently noticed a trend in my viewing habits this season: 6 of the 8 anime I am currently following follow Japanese school life. In fact, as I’ve perused my MyAnimeList profile, I’ve noted that many of my favorites come from this genre.

Kiniro 1

Now how do these previous two paragraphs connect? Quite simply, actually. For the three months I will be in Japan, I will be working as an intern for a Japanese university, assisting in English instruction, among many other things. The thing that I most love about school life anime, namely the the reflection of genuine Japanese culture (sugar coated and fictionalized, to be sure), is exactly what I will be experiencing firsthand.

Obviously I’ve been granted a somewhat rare opportunity to gain this experience, and definitely not one that many of our readers will experience, so how does this relate to you? This upcoming experience has brought me to the conclusion that for someone to have a true passion, that must have the passion to develop a holistic understanding of whatever the object of that passion is. For my roommate this past academic year, one of those passions was Star Wars, thus he was highly engrossed in many products of the Star Wars expanded universe. For me, that passion is Japanese culture, and one natural consequence of this is my desire to experience life in Japan as I shall be this summer.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Maria the Inaccurate Witch, Guslinger Augustine, and the Divine Satsuki

It’s that time of the year again when new anime come out to play!  We’ve got one post on a new series below, and number about shows that have completed their runs.

Taylor zeroes in on Satsuki of Kill la Kill as a divine figure. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

Medieval Otaku dives into the medievalness of Maria the Virgin Witch, discussing how accurate the series was to that historic time, including how the show portrayed “heretics.” [Medieval Otaku]

Romance is discussed often in the bible, the absurdities of which are on full display in Urusei Yatsura. [2]

Nameko Families, an anime about anthropomorphic mushrooms, can tell us a lot about Christian love and forgiveness in a marriage. [Old Line Elephant]

A Christian newspaper in Japan is featuring a religious slice-of-life manga, whose protagonist is named Pyuuri-tan. [Kotaku]

Did you catch the St. Augustine quote in the first episode of Gunslinger Stratos? [Aliens in This World]

iblessall saves her lowest rating of the 2015 winter anime season for Maria the Virgin Witch, largely for it’s misrepresentation of Christianity. [Mage in a Barrel]

The finale for KanColle evokes teachings about the body of Christ. [Christian Anime Review]

As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  Thanks to Laura of Heart of Manga for pointing me toward the Pyuuri-tan news!  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK to be included.

 

Something More: Kill la Cross, Madoka’s Universal Church, and Sailor Moon Mythology

Welcome to the first of our more sporadic version of Something More.  The blogosphere has been resplendent in it’s spiritual-related articles the last couple of week, regarding anime series both current and classic.

Christian symbolism runs rampant in Kill la Kill, as do opportunities to discuss Christian themes and ideas, particularly as they relate to clothing, in the series. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The Spice and Wolf light novels paint God as malicious, but does this really to his true character? [Medieval Otaku]

Christianity plays a role, at least superficially, in countless anime series, as Eugene Woodbury states:

At the same time, in terms of theology, the suggestively Catholic Haibane Renmei can stand beside any of C.S. Lewis’s work as a powerful Christian parable. The same is true of anime such as Madoka Magica and Scrapped Princess, though you may have to look harder to see through the metaphors.

But he also goes on to suggest that the Japanese view toward the faith may rather reveal a positive view for many of the country’s feelings toward religion as compared to western ones. [Eugene’s Blog]

Speaking of Madoka, Woodbury recently explained that the series is “an exploration of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.” [2]

Is Mushi-shi a fatalistic series? Perhaps quite the contrary… [Organizational ASG]

To the tune of Christian themes, there’s more to A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd than meets the eye. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Sailor Moon draws more than merely character names from Greco-Roman mythology. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

And continuing with Sailor Moon, episode 14 of Sailor Moon Crystal emphasizes the power of prayer…even if it is to the Crystal Tower. [Geeks Under Grace]

The dividing of the girls in episode 5 of KanColle brings to mind the discomfort the early Christians must have felt as they started their mission. [2]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

Christian Love in the Nana Fan Base

A year ago, I wrote about how God’s love could be compared to that of a yandere. This year I’d like to make another kind of comparison on the topic of love, but instead of focusing on God, I want to focus on Christians and our love for God. Our love for God is, or at least should be, the greatest emotion we can possibly offer. It is a love which drives us to worship Him, follow Him, strive to be like Him, and serve Him. Anime loves to depict similarly idealistic characters – from the main character who always has to help others to the school idol who is loved by the entire school to the deredere archetype that is just helplessly in love with another. Anime, and people in general, love the idea of love.

But in real life, these ideals often fall apart. Especially in Japan, people who reflect even a fraction of such ideals are hard to come by. It is a sad irony in that although Japanese people can be so friendly on the surface, their hearts are so disconnected from each other. But while they may fail to emulate the type of godly, unconditional love which Christians (should) have, that doesn’t mean similarities don’t exist. And while rare, such a type of love is something which the Japanese are drawn to.

Nowhere have I seen this more than among the Nana Mizuki fandom. Perhaps my view is skewed since, well, I don’t pay nearly as much attention to any other fandom, and as a whole, the otaku culture in Japan has a fascinating difference in lifestyle compared to most other Japanese (but that’s a different topic for a similar phenomenon). In my short time in Japan, with moderate interaction with other Nana fans, I have come to feel that the love fans feel for Nana is similar to the love Christians have for God. Of course, I’d be the first to admit the numerous reasons why it’s an imperfect parallel, but compared to other Japanese people, and even compared to other fan bases, there is something here that reminds me of Christian love, and there is something about Nana that draws people to her in ways that remind me of how people are drawn to God.

Nana2 Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Religion at Katsucon, Hinduism in Death Parade, and Heaven in Wolf’s Rain

Truth be told, this week’s post was intended to be the last regular column of Something More.  I felt that especially with an umber of the writers we feature here having recently joined our site, the column had outlived its usefulness.  That was still my thought this morning, until I realized just how many spirituality-related articles were posted in the aniblogosphere this week.  And so, we continue forward, though it should be noted that Something More may post on more a biweekly schedule from this point forward.

And now, onto this week’s articles!

At Katsucon this weekend? Then you’ll no doubt want to check out Charles Dunbar’s panels on Japan and religion. [Study of Anime]

If you’ve noticed the religious allusions in Death Parade, you’re not the only one – it’s chock full of Buddhist, Shinto, and especially Hindu imagery, and may also have something to tell us in alignment with the last of those three religious philosophies. [Isn’t it Electrifying?]

The first episode of Super Sonico demonstrates to us how fanservice can reveal adulterous desires. [Old Line Elephant]

The concepts of sin and repentance surprisingly find themselves instilled in an ecchi game, Criminal Girls, Invite Only. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

She’ll spend an upcoming post on religion, but even this week’s post regarding queerness, the first in a series on Kill la Kill, makes some mention of Christian imagery and ideas. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The wolves in Wolf’s Rain seek a literal paradise, but is that what they need? And how does that compare to what otaku seek? [Black Strawberry]

Episode 3 of KanColle demonstrates to us a principle recorded in the Book of James: tomorrow is not guaranteed. [Geeks Under Grace]

Could a solution to the way women are represented in games be found in the understanding of sinful nature? [2]

Adam Ledford completes his series on the history of Christianity in Japan by discussing the Shimabara Rebellion and the faith in Japan following the failed rebellion. [Tofugu]

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.

Something More: Islam and Anime, KanColle Christians, and Dying Shinto Trees

Could this be called a world report version of Something More? This week, we have stories from Japan, of course, but also from Indonesia and, why not, we can say that a KonColle article is international, too!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

In Indonesia, Muslim otaku reconcile their faith and anime, perhaps surprisingly even accepting fujoshi members among them. [The Indonesian Anime Times]

Arima’s feelings about his mother in Your Lie in April bring to mind how Christians have the presence of Christ within them. [Geeks Under Grace]

Christians, too, should carry one another’s burdens, as the girls do in KanColle. [Christian Anime Review]

Look who joined Beneath the Tangles! Medieval Otaku will bring his unique perspective here, while continuing the work on his own excellent site. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, though not directly anime related, suburbanbanshee has a number of interesting posts this week regarding religion in Japan:

  • Japanese Docetism Central [Aliens in This World]
  • Japan’s Meiji Period Persecution of Buddhists [2]
  • Someone is Killing the Shinto Trees of Japan [3]

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.  Thank you to Lauren Orsini, whose Otaku Links column provided me with the story about otaku in Indonesia.

 

Throwback Thursdays: Durarara!!

Durarara

Durarara!! is an anime that started airing in 2010. It takes place in a major part of Tokyo called Ikebukuro. To give you an idea about the show’s feel, think of a classical Chinese style epic taking place in a massive modern metropolis. The show focuses on three main characters, but also includes a plethora of minor characters that help move the story forward. This combination of characters help create a structure that allows you to have a better grasp of the three protagonists individual and collective stories.

Read the rest of this entry

Anime Today: Shirobako and the Judeo-Christian Work Ethic

I’ve had an unsteady relationship with Shirobako this season. On one hand, the series provides great insight into the animation process (with a few asterisks, to be sure). It’s also produced quite well, as is normal with most of PA Works’ productions. However, it’s also a bit difficult to follow. Shirobako includes what appears to be a main protagonist, but it jumps around to so many different characters that it is rather difficult to definitively dive into the consciousness of one and truly relate.

Yet despite this, one major theme of the series remains constant: working can be both difficult and rewarding.

shirobako 1b

You might be familiar with the Japanese expectation of work. Whether that is the high educational standards through compulsory education, or salarymen literally working themselves to death, work in Japan is no joke. Shirobako reflects this, and if you’ve been watching and and have been surprised by the long hours, overtime, and all-nighters that characters have pulled, it is no exaggeration. But while overwork is obviously an issue of concern, what exactly is a Christian to do when developing a belief on the nature and importance of work. Should people really be as invested as the animators and other employees in shows like Shirobako? Is working that hard even ethical in the first place? Let’s take a look from a biblical perspective, starting with the foundation of the Judeo-Christian work ethic.

First, is work even a good thing at all (or was it intended to be, anyway)? Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,506 other followers