Category Archives: Media Type

Something More: Forgiving Kirito’s Sin, Real Barakamon Church, and Hamatora’s Anti-Christ

The summer season has passed it’s mid-point, and bloggers continue to find great spiritual connections in current series, joining a number of other excellent articles about some more classic ones that posted this week.

Frank finds perhaps an intentional connection to Christianity and Japan’s Hidden Christians in Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Annalyn looks into humanism and Christianity reactions to it and she jumps back into Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

In his continuing investigation into Hamatora, Medieval Otaku finds comparisons between Moral and the anti-Christ. [Medieval Otaku]

Casey Covel gives a high score to volume three of the Death Note manga in her Christian-centered review. [Geeks Under Grace]

Rob sees lessons of forgiveness and healing in episode seven of Sword Art Online. [Christian Anime Review]

Rob also finds an interesting lesson to be learned from Kirito’s treatment of Sinon in episode six of Sword Art Online. [2]

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.

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.

Capmmmmmmmmmmmture

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

Terror in Resonance Episode 7: When Terrorists Are Saviors

Episode seven of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror) was the payoff episode I didn’t know I was waiting for.

Each succeeding week of Watanabe’s bordering-on-classic series has ratcheted up the tension with our once invincible duo getting closer and closer to having their plans derailed.  The police force started as totally inept, but when Shibazaki came on board, Twelve and Nine had an adversary to nearly matched them, but even he was mostly being used by the terrorists in their plans.  But with Five, we have a character who equals Nine in intelligence, and maybe bests him.

Throughout the episode, Five plays a game of chess, apparently a former favorite between her and Nine, with the boys, but she surprises them by showing the final move is the delivery point of the bomb, which is on an empty plane headed toward them.  No problem, since Nine has switched up security footage and made his way to Five, holding her at gunpoint, right?

Nine and Five Terror in Resonance

Checkmate (sorta)

Wrong, since the suspense further builds with Lisa Mishima in the mix.  Having established her both as an innocent and as loveable (now the moe-building in the previous episodes, which I originally decried, make sense!), the audience is held at baited breath when she’s trapped on the plane holding the bomb.

But with all this intense action happening – and it was indeed great – what excited me the most was seeing Shibazaki and Nine finally interacting in real time.  Though they’re clearly on separate sides of the law, Shibazaki understands that neither wants people hurt here, and he agrees to work with the terrorist.  Already a loose canon of sorts, Shibazaki isn’t afraid to run counter the the culture established within the police department in order to do the right thing.

Read the rest of this entry

A Christian Guide to Comiket

Summer Comiket 86 has come and gone. While for last Comiket, I wrote a personalized post about my first experience, this time I decided to take a more streamlined and general approach. Comiket, as most of you probably know, is the largest otaku convention in Japan, and subsequently, the world. With roughly 170,000 people attending each of the 3 days at the convention center Tokyo Big Sight, it makes Anime Expo and Otakon look small in comparison, with its lines, lines, and more lines. As such, it can be a daunting experience for a foreigner to try out, especially when one does not even speak the language. So if you are at all interested in eventually attending, here are some things to consider.

Tokyo Big Sight

Tokyo Big Sight

Read the rest of this entry

Anime Today: Confessions of an Exclusivist, Christian Otaku

For as long as I can remember, back even to my elementary school days, I recall always desiring to be different or unique. I can even remember my public school teachers all hammering that message into my and my classmates’ collective heads. “Be yourself” seemed to be the key phrase (and considering my years of work in IT for public education, and consequent time spent in public schools, seems to still be the key phrase) tossed around like an inflatable volleyball on the beach, for it floats easily and just seems to fit the setting.

Now before I continue on any further, I must qualify the rest of this article by saying that I do not disagree with this statement in the slightest. While it should perhaps not be taken at face value (some happy medium must exist behind the conservative convention that being oneself gives way to a lack of moral objectivity and consequent slippery slope of moral degradation and the liberal convention that moral subjectivity declares being oneself the path to defining morals themselves), there is redeemable value in those simple words, “be yourself.”

blue spring ride futaba

Ao Haru Ride has been, in part, about learning to be oneself

And with that explained, I would like to delve deeper into my personal experience with this concept of individuality.

As I mentioned in sentence one of this article, my personality has always been one governed by popular opinion. Governed not in that I blend in with society’s trends, but rather the opposite, that I purposefully have gravitated toward that which is not popular. This is a part of myself that I have determined through reflecting on past decisions, from decisions as minor as deciding a video game class based on looking up polls on which ones were used, and selecting the least popular, to decisions as major as choosing not to share some of my interests in fear of accidentally making them more popular and thus removing myself from the category of “unique.” This latter example is where I would like to spend the majority of my time today.

Read the rest of this entry

Blue Spring Ride, Episode 7: Honesty

After getting so down on Futaba last week, I was really glad to see an entire episode dealing with her dilemma and her real desire to tell Yuuri the truth.  But further, episode seven of Blue Spring Ride (Ao Haru Ride) continue to showed Futaba’s shortcomings, which are the same we all have.

The show opens as episode six left off, with Kou having stepped off the train to be with Futuba, who has come to terms with her “love” for him.  He notices the scent of her hair.  She falls even more for him and decides she must tell Yuuri that she, too, loves Kou.

But in between, something interesting happens.  Futuba runs into her best friend from middle school.  If you remember back in episode one, Futuba compared herself to Yuuri, having been ostracized during middle school as Yuuri was during high school.  Futuba’s middle school friend had been her only companion, but eventually abandoned her, too, and here we find out it’s because she thought they both liked the same guy.  Futuba makes the connection with Yuuri and Kou and becomes more distressed, wondering what effect all of this will have on their relationships.

ao haru ride

What Futuba fails to realize is that her lack of honesty is already having ripple effects.  Yuuri is worried about Futuba, and so hidden feelings are having an outward impact.  And what if Futuba failed to tell Yuuri about her feelings for Kou until they exploded out into the open?  What kind of effect would secrets revealed have then?

Read the rest of this entry

Honey and Clover, Potter and Clay

A long-running project of mine is to get my wife to become an anime fan.  It started when we were dating and I got her to fall in love with Studio Ghibli.  Over the years, I’ve shown her a number of series, too, and they’ve been a hit (mostly): Clannad, Kids on the Slope, Attack on Titan (I went for the jugular and FAIL), Kimi ni Todoke, and now, Honey and Clover.

Ayumi YamadaEach character in Honey and Clover is wonderful, but my very favorite is Ayumi Yamada.  For whatever reason, I connected with her best, and felt as much empathy for her struggles as with any of the others.  Also, clay.  Ayumi’s talent is my favorite among the cast’s.

There’s something soothing and beautiful about pottery making, isn’t there?  The idea of a sole person turning a block of clay into something smooth and beautiful and useful with just hands and wheel is idyllic.  The same imagery wasn’t lost on the Bible writers, who made frequent comparison of God to the potter:

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

-Isaiah 64:8

The comparisons between God and a potter are plentiful:

  1. God cares.  As the potter must carefully and skillfully manipulate the clay to stay from ruining it, God is gentle with us.  His patient and grace are abundant with a people that are far more stubborn than clay.
  2. God is creator.  The potter and clay metaphor brings to mind the creation story.  As clay comes from the earth, Genesis explains that humans, too, come from the dust of the earth.  God breaths life into humanity, as the pottery shapes life into pottery.
  3. God shapes us.  Ten potters can be handed the same size and type of clay, and each create some wholly different piece.  But the similarity is that the potter guides the entire process to make the clay into something more than it was.

And it’s that last point that most presses upon me.  Today, I was reminded what a sinner I am, how vicious I can be, and how inhuman (or perhaps how very human) I am at my worst.  At my lowest, I turn to God, because who else can I turn to?  Friends and family don’t have the power to change me, and I’ve found that I don’t have the power within to transform myself.  But the Holy Spirit can empower us to change and to become far more than we are – nearer to image of Christ.

And in that sense, when we feel like clay – something buried in the earth, lower even than dirt – we know that we are being shaped, molded into the image of Christ.  And in that sense, there’s nothing else better to be.

Something More: Yuri for Christians, Religion Inverted, and Dostoyevsky in my Nisemonogatari

While Barakamon continues to provide Christian bloggers with some juicy themes (how am I not watching this series?), a number of writers visited older titles this week as they talked spirituality:

Courtney tackles the question, “Should a Christian watch anime?” [Geek Meets World]

Medieval Otaku looks as the falsehoods shown in Nisemonogatari and what role sin and purpose can play in being phony (or genuine). [Medieval Otaku]

Frank reexamines Sakura Trick and whether yuri anime can have redeeming value for Christian viewers. [A Series of Miracles]

He also looks at episode 5 and 6 of Barakamon and finds in them wisdom for Christian living. [2]

Lazarinth points out the theme of fear and religion in a review of Patema Inverted. [Fantasy and Anime]

Rob tells of an unexpected experience he had when apologizing on behalf of Christians at Otakon. [Geeks Under Grace]

Michael analyzes Manga Messiah and shows us it’s gospel presentation. [Gaming and God]

D.M. Dutcher tells how Barakamon demonstrates the healing power of the church. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Dutcher also gives his Christian-centered review of Love Live School Idol Project. [2]

He provides another review, as well – this one of Tenchi Muyo: The War on Geminar [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.

 

Mileposts: Kirito x Asuna, Karuta God, and I Can’t Believe This Got a Thousand Hits

Periodically, I like point back to some of the more than 900 posts we’ve written here on Beneath the Tangles.  “Mileposts” is about blogging milestones – those little breakthroughs when posts hit certain numbers of significance in terms of hits.  Three articles recently hit such mileposts.

kirito x asuna

Happily ever after.

Sword Art Online, Episode 10: You Complete Me
Milepost:
40,000 Hits

While a new season of SAO brings up it’s own set of interesting spiritual themes, the first season had me writing episode after episode, including this post, in which I spoke of the relationship between Kirito and Asuna and a little bit of my own marriage:

And note Asuna’s words; she will protect Kirito “forever.”  The completeness of marriage is not only in two becoming one; it is also in the contract that is born – one that is meant to last.  Kirito will stay with Asuna “until the end.”  Asuna will stay with Kirito “forever.”  They will create a whole and complete marriage.

Read the entire post

Oreimo Finale: I Can’t Believe My Series End Like This (Wait…Yes I Can)
Milepost: 5,000 Hits Read the rest of this entry

Terror in Resonance Episode 6: Pale Yellow

If last week the tables were turned, in episode six of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror), the players are now hurtling in opposite directions.  Nine and Twelve are racing into traps to disable bombs while the authorities, controlled by Five and the FBI, have the upper hand.

zankyou no terror five

In anime, white hair + silvery/violet lips = scary

This episode deals a lot with set-up and the reactions of three different groups.  Five and her FBI handler are now in fact the terrorists (if they couldn’t already be called that after last week’s events).  Five arranges a bomb in an airport and sends out a riddle, pretending that all of this from Sphinx.  Her intent is to draw Nine and Twelve into a trap, where she can play an airport-wide game of chess with them.  The boys have no choice but to abide if they want to avoid being blamed for possibly hundreds of deaths, though Lisa now appears to be the Ace up their sleeve.  And Shibazaki, no longer a “lone wolf,” is joined by his comrades as they decide to go to the airport, even though they’ve been ordered to stay put.

Each of these three groups is lead by outcasts – those that don’t belong.  They’ve all been forced into their situations, or otherwise ostracized in a way that’s led them to become dangerous in their own rights.  Terror in Resonance very accurately shows what can happen when we treat others as outcasts – they can become angry, bitter, crazed, and/or violent.  While Nine and Twelve are attempting to do something just (though neither is entirely stable), Five has become a would-be mass murderer.  Meanwhile, Lisa seems willing to join in on terrorist schemes, still under the assumption, it seems, that Nine and Twelve are trying to hurt people.  SHE’S OKAY WITH THAT, as long as it means she has a place she belongs.

Read the rest of this entry