Category Archives: Anime

Annalyn’s Corner: Free and on a Mission

A couple weeks ago, I wrote that Christian anime fans need to consider other believers as they watch and discuss anime. But other believers only make up a fraction of those who read our comments, tweets, and feeds. Many of our followers and friends are not Christians. They don’t know Christ, very few of them have read any of the Bible, and their perspective on our Lord and our beliefs comes primarily from… us. Wherever we go, and wherever we post, we’re ambassadors for Christ. We’re on a mission we can’t run away from, a mission we signed up for the day we became Christians: to spread the Gospel in word and action, so we may glorify God as part of the growing Church. That brings another set of responsibilities, including some that, at first glance, seem different from those I wrote about before.

When you live your life differently, people start to notice, no matter what field you're in—basketball, anime fandom, or whatever else. They may decide to take on the same beliefs and root for you, as Aomine roots for Kuroko in this scene, or they may ridicule you. As Christians, our words and choices should get both reactions.

When you live your life differently, people start to notice, no matter what field you’re in—basketball, anime fandom, or whatever else. They may decide to take on the same beliefs and root for you, as Aomine roots for Kuroko in this scene, or they may ridicule you. As Christians, we should be noticed for our words and actions, and be ready for the resulting reactions, both positive and negative. (screenshot from Kurobas S3, ep 24)

In my last post, I focused on 1 Corinthians 8. Two chapters later, Paul returns to a similar topic, now focusing on what to do when presented with food sacrificed to idols. This time, he transitions with statements that relate to practicing freedom with others’ benefit in mind:

“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Cor 10:23-24)

As Christians, we don’t have to follow the long list of laws from ancient and orthodox Judaism. On multiple occasions, Paul rebuked Jewish Christians who tried to enforce laws about unclean food (a different issue than food sacrificed to idols) or circumcision. And we don’t exactly have new laws, either. New expectations? Yes. A difference between sinful and righteous acts? Absolutely. That’s been around since long before the laws listed in Leviticus and Deuteronomy (most of which apply specifically to that ancient theocracy, and/or to the covenant between God and Israel… and many of which address things that were sins anyway, much like any nation’s laws do). But there are no nit-picky rules about media, diet, dancing, etc. Instead, we’re reminded to seek the good of others—related to the most important commandments, to love God and our “neighbors.”

What “neighbors” are Paul talking about? Not only Christians. Paul seems to use it in the more general sense, much as Jesus’s definition of “neighbors” crossed ethnic and neighborhood lines. And what good should we seek for them? Again, the definition is bigger than you may first think. Yes, of course, there’s their health, prosperity, and the pleasure they get when you give them the last cookie. But most of all, we must seek to point them toward God. Nothing compares to knowing, loving, and worshipping God—an eternal life where “eternal” means something much, much richer than “immortal.” That is the good we’re seeking for them. Read the rest of this entry

Charlotte, Episode 1: Truth and Integrity

The protagonist of Charlotte, Yu Otosaka, has an interesting ability. Right from the beginning of episode one, we find that he’s able to transfer his consciousness into other human beings for about five seconds at a time. From middle school into high school, Yu uses this supernatural talent to his advantage as he cheats his way into becoming the top ranked person in his class. But for many of us, we didn’t need to have some special gift to accomplish the same, amirite?

When I was a teen, I enrolled in a competitive high where I figured I would never finish near the top of my class. I did, however, find out that moving toward the top was possible, so I studied harder than I planned and, eventually, started scoring highly in my weakest classes through less achieving means – by cheating. I stopped cheating once I began college – not because of my integrity, but because the consequences of getting caught were no longer worth the edge I would gain.

My pride told me that what I was doing was perfectly fine. Yu is much the same – he doesn’t feel at all bad about how he uses others for his own means, even putting people in danger and manipulating girls’ feelings. But, he does change – he has to because he’s confronted with the truth. Tomoro and Takajo have found him out and force him to change his life, and Yu can only respond by doing what they say, or else be revealed as a fraud. His change isn’t internal, therefore, and neither would mine have been if someone had caught me cheating – I would only act differently on the surface. The me on the inside would remain quite rotten.

charlotte 1b Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Godless Death Note, Virgin Mary Adventure Time, and Sinner Moon Crystal

Another season of anime has come and gone – and that quickly, a new season is upon us! But before we move too quickly ahead, let’s be reminded of the spiritual notes that rang out from some of the latter episodes of Spring 2015 series, as well as commentary about a few older anime:

Death Note provides an interesting case of the slippery slope in thought processes that can occur when God is separated from one’s worldview. [Lady Teresa Christina]

You know about the Bible anime that Osamu Tezuka created at the request of the Vatican, right? It’s kind an interesting deal. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Can religious characters be used in fiction while retaining their spirituality? Sure! Look to Saint Young Men for an example. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

The paradox of Christian love is seen in Nameko Families, where Bad Nameko does that which is purely good. [Old Line Elephant]

Episode 24 of Sailor Moon Crystal demonstrates to us the results of “sinful” decision-making. [Christian Anime Review]

As episode 6 of Re-Kan! shows, encouragement from others is a necessity – and this also holds true for a Christian’s walk. [2]

Who are we deep inside, beneath the facades? Hachiman asks that question in OreGairu, and the same should be asked in terms of spirituality. [3]

Adventure Time has, maybe for good reason, inspired artwork illustrated as Christian iconography. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

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.

 

Top 5 + Guest: Five Summer 2015 Anime Series We Want to Watch (Summer 2015 Preview)

Each month, our writers (along with a guest) give our top five list for some anime-related topic. This month, we approach this column a little differently, combining it with our summer season  preview as a number of our writers give the five anime series they’re most looking forward to in summer 2015.

Joining us is Pepe, whom we’re thrilled to have as our guest. Pepe is one of the writers at the international Key fan website Kazamatsuri.org, which you might remember from our Key special podcast episode. We felt it most fitting to have a representative from such a great fan base to help us out with providing some information our readers may not be aware of regarding Key’s newest upcoming anime. But he has gone further than any of our own writers and provided some great insight about a few other summer anime to keep an eye on!

Pepe’s Pickscharlotte

1. Charlotte
2. Classroom☆Crisis
3. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime
4. Ranpo Kitan – Game of Laplace
5. God Eater
At first, I honestly didn’t think there was much to look forward to this season. Most of the more exciting options, are sequels of anime I haven’t even watched previously. However, after doing some research, I realized that there actually is a bit more to this upcoming season than meets the eye. If I were to describe my feelings about this upcoming season, it’d be that the creators of a work could make all the difference to a story. Now then, without further ado, on to my top 5!

One word for God Eater: ufotable. I’m not the kind of person who cares much about animation studios, but ufotable for this series is actually pretty damn exciting. The action scenes are going to be absolutely stunning. God Eater started out as a very fast-paced action game, so I can only imagine how fun it’d be to watch ufotable make these scenes into an animated series. Ranpo Kitan is an anime adaptation of murder mysteries written by Edogawa Ranpo, who was a pioneer of sorts in the Japanese mystery genre. The fact that this is an adaptation of what is considered a classic in terms of literature is enough to get me interested. It would hopefully give a different perspective to anime considering the original source, although I wouldn’t be surprised either if they modernized it.

Me being the romance nut I am, Akagami seems to be the only romance-centric one I am looking forward to. While the fantasy-romance genre has been explored many times before, it is a tried and tested formula, and has brought consistent quality romance to the table. As such, I am expecting the same from Akagami, and I hope that it will be enough to satisfy my romance nut for this season (along with Ore Monogatari which is continuing its 2nd cour, of course). Classroom☆Crisis seems like a pretty standard, slice-of-life anime, with a pretty unique setting. What got me interested in this show more than anything is the main writer of the series: Maruto Fumiaki. Fumiaki is known for being the main writer of White Album 2 and Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata. Saenai Heroine was pretty so-so…. However, White Album 2 was absolutely amazing, and the anime only adapts the Introductory Chapter of the Visual Novel. As such, I still have hopes for Fumiaki to write something more insightful with this good setting that he has prepared. I don’t know exactly how this series will go, but I sure am excited for it!

Finally, CHARLOTTE! Hypest anime of the season; nay, hypest anime of the year. Now, sure, I might be biased because it’s a Key work, and I’m a Key fan, and I love pretty much all of Jun Maeda’s works. However, there’s just something about Charlotte that has piqued my interest ever since it had been announced way back in December.

The more we learned about Charlotte, the more my hype was increased. We were introduced to a world where adolescents have special abilities, and each of our main cast have their own abilities detailed in particular. Considering this is a Key work, I could already see how these abilities would play into each of the characters’ inner emotional state. One of the powers, for example, was the ability to hide oneself from the vision of another person, and I could see how that might instill a feeling of loneliness and lack of attention for said character. That sort of connection between the powers and the potential for drama got me pretty excited. Also, recent info seems to be implying something a lot darker upcoming for the series. Those things have just skyrocketed my hype level through the roof, and it raises so many questions regarding our initial assumptions, questions which I am excited to find out while watching Charlotte.

Zeroe4’s Picksdurarara shou

  1. Durarara!!x2 Ten
  2. Ore Monogatari!!
  3. Gatchman Crowds insight
  4. Working!!!
  5. Non Non Biyori Repeat

I love Durarara and it’s ridiculous insanity of story telling!!! Also, I love the fact it take place in Ikebukuro, which is my area of Tokyo. Ore Monogatari is a series I decided to try during the spring and I instantly loved it. I am very excited about where it will go. I watched the first Gatchman Crowds when it came out and was quite fond of it. It is very strange and unexpectedly exciting; I am excited for the sequel. Working!!! is also a sequel to a series I enjoy. Definitely a comedy and is very episodic. Non Non Biyori Repeat is also a sequel to a series I enjoyed. The first one was slow, but a wonderful culture study of rural Japan. (Basically, these are all sequels or continuations of series.)

stardf29’s Picksnon non biyori

1. Non Non Biyori Repeat
2. The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls 2nd Season
3. Working!!!
4. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime
5. Himouto! Umaru-chan

For me, “most looking forward to” means “shows I can trust the most to be enjoyable weekly watching”. That means I look forward more to shows that I know will be at least somewhat good than shows that could be really great but can also tank (though I’m always open to being surprised by a breakout hit). And given my own tastes, that means I’m looking forward to a cute slice-of-life comedy like Himouto! Umaru-chan more than something like Charlotte, which definitely has promise but could just as easily fall apart for me. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime is probably the “riskiest” show I’m highly anticipating, but the premise is very interesting and I hear good things about the manga, and I’m always up for a good shoujo fantasy. Of course, there are some great sequels coming up this season; Non Non Biyori, in particular, is a favorite of mine from 2013 with its rural setting that gives it a very idyllic feel to distinguish it from its slice-of-life brethren. Read the rest of this entry

Spring Anime 2015 Review (Part 3/3)

Did you enjoy yesterday’s review? Here’s another packed post reviewing this past season’s anime!

Euphonium

Sound! Euphonium
Hibike! Euphonium

stardf29 – 10/10

Yes, you read that right; I am giving this show a perfect score. And this show most definitely deserves it. This show has everything I could ask for in a concert band-themed anime. The characters are all very strong, as both main and side characters get great development individually and relationally, coming off as very realistic and multidimensional. The overall storyline does a great job of exploring the concert band experience, and many times I could really relate to the show because it reminded me so much of my own school concert band experience. At the same time, the concepts of participating in an activity seriously or not, and being inspired by and having to compete with others pursuing a shared goal, are things anyone can relate to. Kyoto Animation brings incredible production values to the show as expected, with the music being an especially strong point as the band sounds very authentic, even when they are not playing very well. Though when they do play well, it is some of the best music I have ever heard in anime. Oh, and there’s plenty of great comedy amidst all the drama, too! Any flaws with this show are just nitpicks that are up to personal preference, and the only “problem” with this show is that I want more than just the thirteen episodes we got. This show has definitely earned its spot among my all-time favorite anime (my 5th favorite, specifically), and it is a show I would wholeheartedly recommend to any anime fan.

Read the rest of this entry

Spring Anime 2015 Review (Part 2/3)

Did you enjoy yesterday’s review? Here’s another packed post reviewing this past season’s anime!

vlcsnap-2015-06-30-23h52m49s596

Kilroy–I mean, Hestia–was here!

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in the Dungeon?
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou Ka

Medieval Otaku – 6/10

The main problem with Danmachi lies in that the essentially RPG fantasy setting is overused these days.  Otherwise, one can’t deny that this is a fun fantasy romp.  People complain of the fanservice, but I don’t think of it as that bad in comparison to other shows.  The female characters are all quite interesting; though, Bell still strikes me as a bland harem lead.  What more might I say?  The animation was well done, the action engrossing, and the humor quite amusing—especially in regard to the many women in the hero’s life.  A good show, but it still leaves something to be desired.

Read the rest of this entry

Spring Anime 2015 Review (Part 1/3)

As the summer season is nearly upon us, it is time for our spring anime review of 2015! This season we have a ton of anime to review by our diverse writers, so do look forward to seeing most of the season’s anime getting reviewed (though we certainly missed some nonetheless!).

Kiniro-Mosaic

Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

Japesland – 7/10

I actually didn’t start the season with this show. I had seen the first season, and though I liked it, it really wasn’t anything spectacular considering all of the other 4-koma schoolgirl comedies out there. But I changed my mind a few episode in and decided to catch up. If you know anything about my rating system, a 7/10 is nothing to sniff at, and with that in mind, I quite enjoyed this second season of Kiniro Mosaic. The hilarious use of the Japanese language, and many cultural nods (but accurate and not) give it a bit of a feeling similar to classics like Azumanga Daioh, and while I don’t think Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic will be making many “best of” lists, it’s definitely one to consider checking out if you enjoy the genre.

Read the rest of this entry

Faith’s Power in Dream Eater Merry

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

Alice Walker

Dream Eater Merry takes place in the real world and the dream world. The dream world is inhabited by dream demons who come over to the real world by using humans as vessels while they visit the world during their sleep or by opening up a daydream.

Once a dream demon takes a vessel, they cannot return to the dream world and the human cannot be separated from them without dire consequences. This is because dream demons don’t just enter the dreams that humans experience each night but into the dreams they have about their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their future, etc. The dream demon connects to this part of the human and rests in that power.

de 1 Read the rest of this entry

OreGairu 2, Episode 13: Requests and Wise Words

Last night, against my better judgement, I stayed up late to catch the finale of Oregairu 2. It…wasn’t worth staying up for. A strange episode, it seemed to be hammering home the same problems from the last few episodes without offering much of a solution, while breaking Yukino down so quickly and so almost-completely that I felt it negated a lot of the slow, steady work that Oregairu has given us for two full seasons.

oregairu 13a

Then again, being an unabashed fan, I still enjoyed it, especially since we got an episode full of interaction between our main characters. Plus, we got what seemed to me an episode that was very light on concluding (it kinda gave a concluding tone, but only slightly, and didn’t give us any final glimpse of all the supporting characters we love) and heavy on “see you for another season, or at least another OVA,” particularly with Yukino giving a request that we as the audience don’t hear.

For an episode focusing on Yukino and her search for identity, the pivot point of the episode comes from airheaded Yui, who demonstrates both a sacrificial heart and a wisdom that she’s hinted at all along – a deep knowledge of who she is, faults and all, and how people think.  Yui tells Yukino that she can depend on her, but Hachiman intervenes, stating that Yukino needs to do what she’s preached all along as the president of the volunteer club – she must find her own way. But the interesting thing here is that Yui insists that she knew Hachiman would say as much, as if she arranged that situation so that Hachiman would say what he needed to say and Yukino would hear what she needed to hear.

Surprise! That's what happens when you never give Yui enough credit.

Surprise! That’s what happens when you never give Yui enough credit.

Yui, you sly dogRead the rest of this entry

Anime and the Digital Church

More and more, ministries are streaming their services online or making websites where Christians (or people of other faiths) can watch, donate or be a part of the community. Facebook and other social media networks have become the place where hundreds, even thousands, come to share their life, struggles and ask for prayer. Even here at Beneath The Tangles, though it’s not a church or ministry with a pastor, many people read our articles and learn more about our Creator. This may not sound like the typical way church is done*, but it’s a trend that is growing rapidly every year.

There are actually several anime that highlight this format, and the two (there are more!) that I would like to mention are .hack//Sign and Sword Art Online. Each one is about people who log on to a server where they play an MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) and build community with one another. Each player has an avatar that looks like a person, or sometimes part human and part animal that they can use to talk with each other, fight, and even romance. Each episode shows the dynamics of the game actually start to affect the characters emotions and spill out into the real world.

screenshot-12_22_2012-2_34_12-pm

For example, Kirigaya Kazuto and Yūki Asuna, whose avatars are famously named Kirito and Asuna, fall in love through the playing of the game and become romantically involved in real life. Their digital life affected their real lives, which can be also said for people who were in comas or died because of the game in both series.

.hack//Sign main characters Subaru and Tsukasa deal with real life situations that are sometimes resolved online or vice-versa, plan strategies or literally hack servers to stop people from going into comas induced by the games headgear. They even become very close friends and talk about their IRL (In Real Life) problems and get advice on them as well, just like many of us do online. This not only makes you feel for the character and the player, but often times as you watch the anime you forget that the avatars are being controlled by people outside the game. This can happen to us on social media or games, where we might blend the two aspects together and forget that these are real people we are talking to, not just text.

Hack-todos

The .hack//Sign team all together!

Now, being part of a digital community of fellow believers isn’t a bad thing but there will always be that need to physically be a part of a group that share the same faith. Let’s face it, there are things that you would not share online nor are you accountable to anyone either. You can post lots of Christian posts, messages or verses but who is checking up on you when you are alone or going through life? Are you obliged to report to someone or at least have a one-on-one with an admin online?

Not at all. Read the rest of this entry

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