Category Archives: Media Type

Something More: Blue Exorcist Pluralism, Jesus in Planetarian, and More Godoka

Happy Halloween, all!  This is probably a good place to mention that the writers here at Beneath the Tangles are NOT the type to tell you avoid Halloween festivities because of pagan stuff blah blah blah.  Enjoy your night – but be safe!!  

Unfortunately, no spooky posts below…though maybe the first one, regarding a popular series about exorcism, is an appropriate place to begin on this holiday!

Matthew points out the error of a Buddhist group in the Blue Exorcist manga stating that Christianity and Buddhism are fundamentally the same. [Old Line Elephant]

In episode one of the Kazamatsuri.org podcast, the hosts dig into an interpretation of a forum member’s interpretation of the Planetarian visual novel from a Christian perspective and are very impressed by it.  That same forum user, James, later completed his ideas and guest posted them on our blog. If you’re interested, the discussion begins at 1:57:00 on the podcast. [Kazamatsuri]

Frank rejoices over Crunchyroll’s licensing of the remaining Encouragement of Climb episodes while digging into episode two and how Aoi’s climb up Mt. Fuji reminds us of a young Christian’s journey in faith. [A Series of Miracles]

He also wraps up his series of posts on Barakamon by pointing at a number of significant lessons for Christians in episodes 11 and 12 of the series. [2]

Moe discusses Madoka’s god form frequently while analyzing an important theme of Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Rebellion Story. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

In his analysis of episode 8 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Rob finds an interesting parallel between battle in the episode and the cosmic battle of Christianity. [Christian Anime Review]

Rob also discusses Sailor Moon’s claim of one committing and unforgivable sin in episode 7 of the same series. [2]

And he reminds Christians of where they should place their true value and worth while digging into episode 1 of Your Lie in April. [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.

 

 

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 3

For our third episode, we are thrilled to have the Reverse Thieves, Alain and Kate, as our esteemed guests (that’s right, two guests in one episode!), along with R86/Jack as co-host. Though our normal show length is an hour, this particular episode is filled to the brim with extra content and a blooper reel at the end for your enjoyment. During the length of the episode we will be discussing our personal beliefs, current-running anime, sports anime, and plenty more!

Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed!

Also, be sure to email us with any questions you would like included in our “Listener Mail” portion, including the name you would like stated in the podcast and your website or blog for us to share!

Time Stamps:
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 12:55
Otaku Diet – 13:31
Current Article/Discussion – 36:47
Listener Mail – 1:10:19
Closer – 1:18:24
Bloopers – 1:19:12

Direct Download

Note: Below are the articles mentioned in the podcast:

Anime Today: Life is a Cycle

Note: This article covers episode twelve of Mushishi. It approaches the episode vaguely in such a way so as to avoid spoilers, but be warned if that is something that concerns you.

Perhaps the most basic difference in Western versus Eastern thought is the view of the significance or destination of life. I’m sure you’ve heard the frames through which Buddhism and Hinduism operate, at least to some simple degree. In Hinduism, the soul (or the Atman) is trapped in the cycle of reincarnation known as Samsara. Buddhism follows some of the same conventions, though (at least from my perception) the execution is much more complicated. Instead of a single consciousness traveling through the same cycle over and over again, a sort of collective stream travels through a similar convention until one reaches Nirvana, or total annihilation.*

Judaism and Christianity (and Island, I assume, though perhaps someone can confirm this for me) operate under a different notion: that God is leading His people to a definite conclusion. Time is not in a state of perpetual repetition, but traveling decidedly forward.

However, just as Buddhism is not as simple as people like to make it out to be, often in erroneously assuming that Buddhism states that people reincarnate their consciousnesses directly a la Hinduism, when the truth is that the Buddhism proposes something much more complex, Judeo-Christianity is similarly difficult to pin down. And it is because of this that I was heavily reminded of aspects of biblical accounts and extra-biblical history surrounding it that reflect cycles in episode three of Mushishi.

mushishi 2a

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Eren Jaeger and the Wings of True Freedom

Shonen heroes usually get a lot of flack, and perhaps rightfully so, for being one-dimensional, rough around the edges, and often annoying.  Eren Jaeger, the primary lead of Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), fits the bill perfectly.  He’s frustratingly childish in his worldview, but moves ahead and becomes heroic because of sheer determination (that and his ability to TURN INTO A TITAN).

Unlike Armin or Erwin or even Levi, Eren has not a shred of eloquence in his speech.  He’s not particularly bright, and his lack of speaking ability matches his age – he is only a teenager after all.  And yet, smooth words and even leadership skills don’t matter much when it comes to Eren.  What matters most about him is literally what’s inside.

eren mikasa eren's mom and dad

In this way, Eren reminds me of Moses, the great prophet who brought the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage.  Do you remember that when God commands him to go free His people, Moses replies that he can’t because of his poor speaking skills?  God even assigns Moses’ brother, Aaron, to him as a spokesperson.  And yet, it’s through Moses, despite all the mumbles he must’ve uttered, that the millions of Israelites became free.  God used a most imperfect man to do a miracle (dozens of miracles, actually).

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Grisaia no Kajitsu Episodes 3&4: The Twintail Tsundere

I was actually hopeful after the first two episodes, but after this, I am forced to admit this anime is on the fast track to failure. I almost want to imagine they actually don’t even care about Kajitsu and only care about a proper adaptation of the 2nd/3rd games, but really, with how these 2 episodes went, I’ve given up on anything close to a good adaptation. As I mentioned before, my greatest fear was a 1 cour adaptation, and given the pacing, that now looks like the reality. At least I don’t have to defend the anime anymore. Since it does seem like they will still  adapt all the routes, I’m happy enough to continue writing on the themes but I may need to give some extra explanation that the anime is skipping.

Episode 3 ended up adapting several skits from the common route, without a single regard to transitions, making for an incredibly disjointed episode. Granted, the actual common route is like this but given the nature of a VN and vast amount of additional text, it worked out fine. As an anime, it is pretty darn lazy to just immediately cut from one skit to another with no explanation or transition, though the foreshadowing (which doesn’t really matter anymore now does it?) was impressively on point.

The first skit involves Amane sneaking into Yuuji’s room to wake him up. Little does she know he is already returning from a morning jog, and upon seeing her, he concludes she must be trying to assassinate him. Nope, actually she ends up just doing some censored things.  This is the least uhh interesting scene that readers care for. Yes, I chose to just censor everything.

A potential assassination attempt?

A potential assassination attempt?

Next, Sachi accepts everyone’s requests for drinks and heads out, following her duties as a maid character. Amane and Makina also leave, remembering they are responsible for setting up the projector. Yumiko mentions how Amane is much different now compared to before, and that she is aware Amane has some kind of mental illness. Meanwhile, Sachi was heading to Hokkaido to obtain some milk. Then again, no one in this school is normal, including Yuuji.

A traffic accident causing a mental illness?

A traffic accident causing a mental illness?

Traveling hundreds of miles for a glass of milk isn't normal?

Traveling hundreds of miles for a glass of milk isn’t normal?

That puts the count at...an abnormal number.

That puts the count at…an abnormal number.

Yuuji is reading when he hears Michiru…being assaulted by an adorable cat. She seems to not like it, so Yuuji decides to mess with her, getting her swing her twintails at the cat in an attempt to scare it away; unfortunately, it loves her more. When it finally runs away, she slips that she’s already given it a name. Tsundere even to cats. Read the rest of this entry

Celestial Method Episode 4: Reality of the Saucer

Isn’t it interesting that the only character in Celestial Method (Sora no Method) who’s not bitter or hurt (or both) is the one with the most tragic back story?

Episode four of Celestial Method takes us further into the backgrounds and relationships of our core group of former friends.  It begins with yet another slapping of Nonoka and ends with virtually all the reasoning behind the broken friendships explained.

Ultimately, the characters are unhappy because they lost what they once had.  Yuzuki is angry at having lost the specialness of Kiriya City’s culture and trust with Koharu and Sota.  Koharu is sad that she’s lost her bond with Yuzuki.  Sota is at a lost of what to do about his sister.  And Shione, as shown in episode three, is bitter at Nonoka, a friend and a girl that she looked up to, leaving her.

All of this brokenness can be traced back to Nonoka and the calling of the saucer.  Yuzuki is the only one of the group that’s vocally against the saucer, going to extreme lengths to try to build opposition to it.  She’s angry at what it’s appearance has caused.  Koharu is perhaps at the other end, with what appears to be her family shop thriving because of it’s saucer-related, touristy merchandise; her family uses the saucer.  And Shione and Sota seem to largely ignore it, focusing their emotion and attention, rather, on relationships.

It’s interesting how each regards the saucer phenomenon.  None of these postures can be maintained, however, when they come face to face with Noel, the personification of the saucer itself.  They regard her as an individual.  They listen to her, consider her, and even embrace her.

sora 4a

When you’re face to face with reality, with a real person, you often forget the ideas about the individual that have developed in your mind over time.  Have you ever done that with a person?  Maybe you have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, and past bitterness or prejudices about him or her overtake your thoughts, and your brain develops a caricature of that person that’s immediately swept away when you’re reunited.

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Something More: Christians in Manga, Father God in Hanayamata, and SAO’s Garden of Eden

As the new season moves forward, it looks a bit top-heavy, with Unlimited Blade Works, Mushishi and a few others already being raved about.  Frank talks about Mushishi below, though most of the rest of these weeks’ links point to shows of yesteryear (or at least last season).

In the new season of Mushishi, Frank see lessons in how Christians should feel secure, even though not at “home.” [A Series of Miracles]

Hanayamata provides an opportunity for Medieval Otaku to discuss the inaccurate view so many have of God as Father. [Medieval Otaku]

In Amakusa 1637, D.M. Dutcher finds a manga focusing on Japanese Christians and providing a fair and accurate depiction of them. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

He also provides his review of the opening episode of Gonna Be the Twin-Tails!! for Christian viewers. [2]

Rob finds allusions to the Garden of Eden in episode 15 of Sword Art Online. [Christian Anime Review]

Casey review episodes 14-25 of Attack on Titan for Christian viewers. [Geeks Under Grace]

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.

Your Lie in April Episode 3: Accompany Me

I haven’t perused other Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) posts, but my guess is that bloggings about this series, and maybe especially episode three, are full of personal accounts of anibloggers reflecting on times when they performed at musical competitions with accompaniment.  I participated in recitals and such when I was young, too, and that connection is really nice to relate to in the show.

But perhaps even more relatable, and certainly more universal, is Kousei’s reason for not wanting to accompany Kaori – for not wanting to play piano at all.  On a surface level, if you’re like a lot of my friends, you might remember music lessons as harsh or unenjoyable.  Or striking a deeper nerve, you might remember disappointing others, like your parents.  You might even recall a major failure in your life, as when Kousei broke down in the middle of a competition.

Kousei, of course, reveals in this episode another reason – fear.  He’s afraid to move forward, paralyzed into resting position, as it were, and unable to keep moving forward because he fears what it will eventually lead to.

Kaori Miyazono

All these things that Kousei is dealing with are real problems.  Just as with you and me, they are obstacles that he’ll have difficulty overcoming – if he chooses to overcome that at all.

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Top 5 + Guest: Our Favorite Sports Anime

It looks as if sports anime are in a revival these days.  Yowamushi Pedal, Free, Haikyuu!, Baby Steps, and Ping Pong are among very recent (and very well-reviewed) sports series, and though very different in tone from past classics, continue with some of the same addicting elements that draw people to these shows, like the ideas/themes of the underdog, growth through pain, the value of teamwork, and of course, the feel of victory!

Below are some of our writers’ picks for their favorite sports anime.  We’re also joined by a real enthusiast of the genre, Annalyn of Annalyn’s Thoughts.  Maybe you’ll find a gem or two below to try out!

R86’s Top 5

  1. Oofuri / Haikyuu! (tie)
  2. Aoki Densetsu Shoot!
  3. Kuroko no Basuke
  4. Major
  5. Plawres Sanshirou

haikyuu 1It’s to no one’s surprise that Oofuri tops my list, with its story about a startup boys’ high school baseball club, covering everything from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat and a lot more besides. Much more surprising was the speed with which recent volleyball anime Haikyuu!! rocketed up my list. And while anime viewers will be familiar with the rapid-paced, almost violently colorful Kuroko’s Basketball, it’s likely that fewer will have heard of soccer anime Aoki Densetsu Shoot! which, like Cross Game, deals with heartbreaking loss as well as striving for excellence. And even fewer will know about Plawres Sanshirou, a 1983 series about a boy who wants only to build the best miniature fighting robot in the world. And Major is unusual among baseball anime for its length, both in the sense of being some 150 episodes long, and in the sense of covering about 30 years of the lead character’s life.

Kaze’s Top 5

  1. Chihayafuru
  2. Daiya no Ace
  3. Ashita no Joe
  4. Ginban Kaleidoscope
  5. One Outs

chihayafuru 1I honestly have not seen many sports anime, so this is closer to a list of sports anime I have seen. At least I can give myself credit for having watched one of the biggest anime classics of all time Ashita no Joe, which is arguably the biggest influence on all modern sports manga/anime. Ginban Kaleidoscope is much closer to romance than a traditional sports anime, which is no doubt why it made my list but where else are you going to get an anime about figure skating? 

TWWK’s Top 5

  1. Cross Game
  2. Oofuri
  3. Bamboo Blade
  4. Free!
  5. Suzuka

cross game 6In anime as well as live action, baseball lends itself to making great drama.  My top two titles are baseball series (and if I added a sixth and seventh, they both would have been a baseball series, too – Taishou Baseball Girls and Touch).  At the very top is Cross Game, which walked the line between being a light-hearted sports series and a sensitive show about loss – it’s a wonderful anime (and even better manga) that I highly recommend.

Annalyn’s Top 5:

  1. Kuroko’s Basketball
  2. Oofuri (Big Windup!)
  3. Cross Game
  4. Haikyuu!!
  5. Daiya no Ace

kuroko 1This list was a product of much deliberation, and the rankings will probably change again within a month. Kuroko’s Basketball had a big boost from its animation. I could watch the characters’ smooth, elegant movements all day long. Kurobas’s studio, Production I.G., also had its hand in Haikyuu!!, Daiya no Ace, and a surprisingly close runner-up, Prince of Tennis. The fact that I remember the studio’s name shows how impressed I am—those details are hard for me to remember.

And with much consternation, I’ll present Japes’ list…

Japesland’s Top 5

  1. Free!
  2. Free!
  3. Free!
  4. Free!
  5. Free!

free anime teamAfter consulting my somewhat monstrous anime list, I discovered that I have actually only seen one sports anime: Free!. I definitely like Free!. I don’t think I love it, but it is easily the best sports anime I’ve ever seen. Hah. Hah. Hah. I also noticed that Redline is apparently categorized as a sports anime. As much as I adore that movie, I hardly think it counts. I’ve also seen two episodes of Yawara and Dan Doh!!, but again I’m left with the issue that Free! is the only sports anime I’ve actually completed. Sad day for Japesland. Sad day…

Now that you’re free from Japes’ list (bwahahahah!) and the others, it’s your turn.  What are some recommendations you have for sports anime, whether from our lists above or those we might have missed?

Sora no Method, Episode 3: You CAN Go Home Again

Sometimes when you go home, you find that you don’t always feel welcome there.  It might be intentional, as with how Shione treats Nonoka in episode three of Sora no Method (Celestial Method).  Or it could just be that you’ve moved past it or no longer feel in sync with a place.

So, then, why go home?

That, in fact, is the question Shione asks of Nonoka.  Already aggressive toward our protagonist, she takes her bitterness to a further level by slapping Nonoka in this episode as the two, along with Yuzuki and Koharu, team up on an extracurricular “orienteering” activity.  Shione has obviously grown resentful over the years at Nonoka for bringing the saucer into their lives and for leaving them.  It’s just like a teenager, I think, to forget about the possibility that Nonoka didn’t want to leave, but as a child who was about to lose her mom, had no other choice.

celestial method

I thought Nonoka was going to lose it…

Still, why come home?  Nonoka obviously moves back because her dad brings her, but is there a deeper meaning to her return?

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