Category Archives: Anime

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 10

For episode 10, JP (Japes) will be giving a bit of a commentary on his impressions of life in Japan and what it means for a Christian otaku. The episode takes place on the scene, in the mountains of Kanazawa, Japan, and due to this drastic change in topic and formula, the episode is significantly shorter than usual. Next month’s episode, episode 11, will also feature a different podcast layout, but will include both Charles (TWWK) and JP (Japes). Thanks for listening!

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 – 1:05
Otaku Diet – 1:51
Closer – 33:36

Direct Download

Examining Old School Anime: A Christian’s Conduct in War

Episode eight of Captain Harlock features a rare act of mercy: a captured Mazone is permitted to depart peacefully from the Arcadia.  However, Harlock’s decision does not please Daiba, whose father was murdered by a Mazone.  Part of his reason for joining the crew of the Arcadia was to get revenge on these aliens.  Daiba demands to slay the fleeing Mazone, and Captain Harlock bids him to do as he pleases.  The upshot of this event is that the Mazone is killed and Daiba, due to the damage received to his craft in the fight, suffers temporary insanity from oxygen deprivation.  Daiba’s desire for revenge almost led to his own death.


The obvious message behind this event lies in how lust for revenge can destroy oneself.  A Christian would hardly disagree.  Yet, I wonder what opinion our dear readers have of Captain Harlock’s general ruthlessness toward the Mazone.  After discovering that Mazone have infiltrated Japan, Captain Harlock descends from space and kills every Mazone he can find until the inimical forces of the Earth compel Harlock to halt his raid.  One is left wondering at this character who combines in himself both utter ruthlessness and pity.  I would argue that he stands as a good example to a Christian soldier.

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Transforming Mercy in Dragon Ball Z

Oh, the nostalgia I have with Dragon Ball Z. I remember watching it every day after school when it came on Toonami, wondering if the gang would ever get off the planet Namek, questioning if Frieza really knew how long five minutes was, getting aggravated when they would run out of episodes and start the series over…again.

I was rewatching the earlier parts of the series recently and was surprised with how much more I appreciated Goku’s character this time around. Before, I was pretty indifferent to him because I always thought he had a very bland, generic good guy personality. This time I was really touched by some of his more iconic moments.

At the end of the 1st season, I found my favorite Goku moment…well, besides the episode where he and Piccolo get their licenses. It is after the defeat of Vegeta when Krillin stood over him with a sword ready to finish him off as he tries to escape.


Krillin: You think you can just slither out of here after what you did? Read the rest of this entry

Annalyn’s Corner: Being a Humble Viewer

Last fall, I wrote a paper on how I think about literature—including anime. I’ve wanted to adapt and share pieces of it with you, but eleven pages of academic writing don’t translate well to blog posts. I read over it again this past week, intending to write about the role our worldviews and religions have in our personal anime-watching experience. Instead, this section stood out to me:

First, I emphasize the relational piece [of literary criticism, aniblogging, etc.], because we neither [watch anime] nor write in a vacuum. We often share what we think about works of art, whether through personal conversation or mass communication. The relational side of my criticism [or anime analysis, etc.] recognizes the power of both literature and criticism [including aniblogging] to either edify or harm all parties involved. It is sensible to our responsibility, as critics, to speak our opinions carefully and humbly. Our role as Christ’s servants and ambassadors is primary. As far as we are able, we must not misrepresent God and his attitudes toward the author [or mangaka, director, etc.] or toward other audience members.

I wrote and polished that paragraph myself, along with further support later in the paper. But I don’t always remember that lesson. In fact, I forgot it as recently as last week.

When I started watching Clannad, all I could notice were the cliches and the huge eyes.

When I started watching Clannad, all I could notice were the cliches and the huge eyes. “What do you know,” I thought. “Another school anime that begins with cherry blossoms.” But I watched with an open mind, and I ended up really liking it. Without an open mind, I’d have missed out… like I’m missing out with certain other anime. (Screenshot from ep 1)

Attentive listening, good literature reading, and attentive anime-viewing have more in common that you may realize at first. All require humility and patience. It’s easiest for me to remember this when my grade depends on it. But I’m not always so responsible as I watch and write about anime. Read the rest of this entry

Giving Yukino Yukinoshita What She (Doesn’t) Deserve

After writing my last piece about episode 8 of Oregairu season 2 and the topic of grace, I thought more and more on the connections between the characters’ actions and that topic.  There was more to be said regarding what I wrote on, particularly in the words thrown between the volunteer club trio in the episode’s climax.  But I also thought of something in a little different vein.

In the moment when Hikigaya tearfully confesses his desires, I think most of us viewers were expecting some sort of breakdown in return from Yukino.  But what he gets instead is a confused Yukino who doesn’t comfort him, who doesn’t even want to accept him.

oregairu 8c

When I watched the scene, I wondered why it seemed to familiar to me.  I realized that it was because I’ve been Hikigaya in this scene many times – and maybe you have as well.

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Oregairu Season 2, Episode 8: Reaching for Grace

With each episode that passes, Oregairu continues to surprise me.  In an episode that I thought started to drift towards anime melodrama, Oregairu instead turned toward something simple and profound.  It showed us the definition of grace – and the necessity of it.

The catalyst for the final, transformative scene of episode 8 is the earlier talk that Hikigaya has with Hiratsuka.  Among the many words of wisdom she gives during their speech is this line:

Sometimes people lose out on things because they’re looking out for each other.

oregairu 8b

This, of course, is what Hikigaya has been doing – trying to protect Yui and Yukino through his actions.  But Hiratsuka is right when she expounds on this statement, saying that if you really care about each other, you will hurt each one another; in an ironic way, that hurt signals that you care.  If you stand on eggshells doing everything possible to keep someone from being hurt, you fail to develop deep bonds – the person you care about is lifted higher than they deserve while you sink lower, and when you do fail that person, you find the distance between you and s/he grows even further.

Hikigaya, realizing this and armed now with wisdom and muster, goes to Yukino and Yui to build their relationships and bring healing to the club by tearfully offering words that at first surprised me, but which make sense.  He says that what he wants is genuine relationship.

And genuine relationship can only happen by grace.

oregairu 8a

Read the rest of this entry

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.


Hachiman Hikigaya and Busting the Christian Bubble

One of the most boring things a parent has to do is attend kids’ birthday parties.  Seriously, so boring.  The only thing a parent can do there is chat with other parents, but sometimes, even that option is cut off.  Particularly, if you’re an outsider at the party, the other parents might congregate with each other and leave you out, which can either irk you if you’re the talkative type, or seclude you if you’re not.  The first time this happened to me, I was shocked, because I was attending a party full of churchgoers and pastors.  I thought it must have been some exception, but repeatedly, I’ve seen this happen again and again and again (and as recently as yesterday), and particularly and mostly around Christians.

Why does this happen?  It’s because we hate to get outside of our bubble.

In Oregairu, Hikigaya is as stuck in a bubble as much as anyone.  Years of hurt, sensitivity, and ridicule have left him in a comfort zone of one (at least at school).  He’d rather stay by himself, think, and observe than to actually interact with others.

But slowly and steadily, he’s breaking free of this bubble.  At first, it was out of necessity – Hikigaya was forced to interact with Yukino and with anyone who came to the volunteer club for assistance.  Now, Hikigaya is understanding the value of relationships and is starting to break through his self-imposed solitary life because, hey, he now has friends whom he cares about, and caring requires us to reach out despite discomfort.

oregairu 5

Read the rest of this entry

Anime Today: KINMOZA’s Communication Barriers

Hello, this is stardf29, and I will be taking over Anime Today for japesland while he is in Japan experiencing the Japanese life for himself.

Kiniro Mosaic, a.k.a. KINMOZA, is a cute-girls-doing-cute-things show with an ongoing theme of overcoming communication barriers, and that theme is stronger than ever in the currently-airing second season. In addition to the obvious example of the language and cultural barriers between the Japanese and British cast, there’s also the barrier between teacher and student, and plenty of subtler barriers that keep various characters from clearly expressing their thoughts to each other.

Don't worry, she only wants to tell Youko how much she admires her.

…which is why it’s often easier to tell nothing at all.

Communication barriers are even more important for Christians, because evangelism is in many ways like translating a foreign language. When we preach the Gospel to non-Christians, we are taking something that is fundamentally incomprehensible to them, and explaining it in a way they can personally understand. Christians can run into several communication barriers that make the job of evangelism harder, some of which can even discourage them from trying to talk about the Gospel to others.

After the jump, I will look at some common communication barriers, as experienced by both the characters of KINMOZA and possibly by Christian evangelists.

Read the rest of this entry

Annalyn’s Corner: Chihuahuas Fighting a Lion

Kuroko’s Basketball has always been, in part, an underdog story. No one expected Team Seirin to defeat the Generation of Miracles, but here they are, facing the final boss: Akashi Seijuro and the Rakuzan team. And they got here largely because of Kuroko, a small, seemingly unremarkable athlete.

Seirin's starters: Kiyoshi, Kuroko, Hyuga, Kagami, and Izuko (screenshot from current OP).

Seirin’s starters: Kiyoshi, Kuroko, Hyuga, Kagami, and Izuki (screenshot from current OP).

At some point, I started taking Seirin’s determination for granted. Of course they have courage against high odds. They’re anime heroes. But in the most recent episode, a weaker Seirin player faced Akashi himself, and a viewer in the stands compared him to a chihuahua facing a lion. Then I realized how much I can learn from their courage, and their faith in their coach. How do I react when faced with a “lion”? When I search the Scripture, I realize it’s not a hypothetical question.

Way back in Kuroko’s Basketball‘s first season, we met Seirin’s newest basketball players. All five of these first-years shouted their basketball goals from the school’s rooftop (except Kuroko, who was cut off, but he found another way to make his goal known). Only Kuroko and Kagami became starters. The other three were too weak to do anything but support their team from the bench… until the Winter Championship. Read the rest of this entry


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