Category Archives: Anime

Top 5 + Guest: Favorite Seiyuu

Why do we love anime? That’s a question that probably isn’t easy to answer for most of us. There are so many wonderful aspects of the medium that draw us in – among other things, the animation, story lines, culture, characters, music, and voice acting. Though there are a lot of excellent actors here who voice anime, there’s just something more fully immersive about Japanese seiyuu – not only are they the original embodiment of the characters to which we connect, their very identities are intrinsically wrapped up in their voice acting.

This month on Top 5 + Guest, we’re giving our list of favorite seiyuu. Joining us for this edition is Kuuki, on loan from Organization Anti-Social Geniuses (and thank goodness for her, otherwise this list would be wayyyy too female voice actress heavy). Here’s her bio: I’m Kuuki, 20-something French girl currently living in Japan. I love anime, photography and books. I am too curious and love onsens too much for my own good. I blog about my life over at March Story and ramble about seiyuu every two weeks at the Organization.

And now, onto the lists!

Kuuki’s Top 5 List

  1. Hiroshi Kamiya
  2. Hanazawa Kana
  3. Toshiyuki Toyonaga
  4. Sho Hayami
  5. Sakamoto Maaya
Hiroshi Kamiya

Hiroshi Kamiya

Somehow it’s been difficult to rank my favorite seiyuu past the first two. The first two can do anything and voice any type of character from the absolute cute type to the awfully dark and scary one. It’s also not a secret that they’ve been my first male and female bias ever. It’s been a lot harder for the other ones. Toshiyuki Toyonaga is here because he’s also somehow been a constant since I first discovered the world of seiyuu and he’s really talented in other areas (like dancing and singing). Sho Hayami is here because he’s the go-to villain who can sounds so smooth and seductive he doesn’t sound like a villain at all. Remember how well he voiced Aizen in Bleach? It’s exactly what I mean. As for Sakamoto Maaya, should I really explain? She’s another case of a seiyuu that can voice anything, boys included, I discovered here with Ciel from Black Butler and somehow I was blown away and followed her career ever since.The world of seiyuu is a fast changing one but somehow all of these people have seemed to be stuck on my head for at least the past 5 years so I guess it means I really think they’re good?

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Working!!! the Humanity Out of Your Staff

I don’t watch many comedies anymore – whether on TV, at the movies, of through anime streaming. But I can never resist Working!!!, which is such a joyful show. It just does so many things right, including giving the audience that feeling that we, too, want to work at Wagnaria. And besides the assuredly low pay, why wouldn’t we? It seems like so much fun!

There’s a camaraderie among all the employees built on genuine love and caring for one another. Those who’ve worked in the food service industry know that it’s critical to have genuine friendships in the kitchen if you want a good working environment – it makes a stressful job easier to handle. It also helps to have caring supervisors like Kyouko (in her own way) and Otoo. In fact, bad managers is why so many of us quit our jobs.

Have you ever had a manager that treats you like you’re less than? As if you’re not their equal, as if you’re just someone to be used for his benefit or the company’s?

And it doesn’t have to be a supervisor – co-workers can treat you the same way. Someone very close to me, who works in education, is frustrated at being treated like a second-class citizen by the teachers around her, as she isn’t credentialed like they are.

Or…are you the person who treats others this way?

working 2b

Whether the cause is pride, stress, or something else, poor treatment in the workplace is a miserable thing. And it runs deep – the way we treat people denotes the way we feel about them. While there’s hierarchy in the workplace, there shouldn’t be hierarchy in humanity. We’re all on equal footing. But when one treats a co-worker or subordinate in a dismissive or condescending way, he or she is basically saying, “You’re not my equal. You’re less than me.” And when we take equality away, we’re stripping away someone’s humanity. We’re treating them like animals.

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Throwback Thursdays: Arpeggio of Blue Steel – Ars Nova –

At the start of the 2013 fall anime season, I was looking at different synopses for different series. One that seemed interesting to me was for a series called Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova. The description didn’t sound great, but the ship designs looked cool. When the first episode came out, I watched it, but was ready to drop it at any moment. The show seemed low budget and wasn’t well rendered. However, I liked the first episode and decided to keep watching. I ended up really enjoying the show. The story turned out to be quite good and I appreciate the attention to detail throughout.

In the 21st Century, a mysterious fleet of naval ships resembling WWII ships take over the oceans of the world and destroy all means of intercontinental travel and communication, effectively destroying the economies of different nations. The mysterious fleet of sentient ships is known as “The Fog.” Our story starts when the fog submarine I-401 (yon-maru-ichi) appears and the student Chihaya Gunzo comes in contact with it. The ship then activates and makes contact with him via a humanoid figure it possesses called a Mental Mode, under the name Iona. Iona then tells Chihaya Gunzo that she was sent to contact him and become his ship. He then sets out with a small crew to learn about The Fog and save humanity, even if it means losing their home as they become exiles to the Japanese Government.

arpeggio of the blue steel

I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed Arpeggio of Blue Steel. The ships are characters and I really appreciate how they interact and behave as such. They struggle as they try to find a purpose and search for why they exist. The entire reason, they have human form analogues to understand and figure out how to defeat the ingenuity and creativity of humans. This also begins to raise questions about meaning and desire that were never there before.

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Annalyn’s Corner: Takeo’s Spontaneous and Faithful Love

I just watched episode sixteen of Ore Monogatari, and I was hit yet again by Takeo’s love for Yamato. It is passionate, spontaneous, and faithful.

Everything she does makes his heart exclaim, “I love you!”

She says something sweet. “I love you!”

She blows on her food longer than anyone else. “I love you!”

She presents food she made and says tada! “I love you!”

Yamato is sensitive to hot food, so she spends a lot of time blowing on her soup, even after everyone else is done eating theirs. (ep 16)

As Yamato blows on her food, Takeo silently exclaims his love. (ep 16)

 

The repetition is a little comic, but it’s also touching. They’ve been in a relationship for months now, and Takeo’s passion for Yamato only grows stronger. It’s only natural for him to sprint to see her, to remain loyal, to spontaneously (albeit only mentally) shout his love.

Isn’t that what passionate love for the Lord is like? Read the rest of this entry

Charlotte, Episode 9: When Eyes Can’t See

Alright. Didn’t expect that to happen.

Feeling like X-Men more than ever, most of episode nine of Charlotte treats us to a flashback of Yuu’s former life, which turns out to be an incarceration, along with Ayumi, in a facility such as that which once contained Nao’s brother. The episode was storytelling at it’s best in the series, fast-paced yet carefully bringing the viewer along, even as it introduced new, major characters and gave primary roles to others with smaller ones thus far.

charlotte 9a

Part of what was so exciting in this episode, too, was how the audience kept gaining new insights into the show and the characters’ histories, even as Yuu was learning the same. Not until the end of episode nine, and not even then fully, could Yuu see all that was happening and all that had occurred. In fact, the episode used a lot of eye symbolism throughout (Shuu must see to be able to time leap; Yuu is unable to “see” the events of his past; and Shuu’s sight is gone in the modern time – as is Sala’s). That make me think about how for a creature which is often proud of its vision (see technology today and yesterday, cough, Tower of Babel, cough), we’re very limited in what God lets us view.

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Because Nao Tomori Has Been There, Yuu, and Because There’s No Other Response

I have the worst habit of writing quickly, proofreading more quickly (or not at all), and turning in work as fast as possible. All through my youth, I raced to be the first one done in anything school-related. It’s not a good compulsion, and it shows with my blog posts sometimes, as I often forget to make points vital to my main idea.

This rings true for my last two posts about Charlotte, and so I want to take the opportunity to revisit episodes seven and eight and emphasize a couple of points I missed the first time around.

> Charlotte, Episode 7: Ends of the Earth

Addendum: She and HE Can Relate

When Yuu draws near the point of no return (taking drugs is considered super taboo in Japanese culture, as explained by Kaze), there’s only one person that can talk him out of it. Nao is physically able to challenge Yuu, mentally able to trick him, and, as evidenced by Yuu later remembering her words of guilt, emotionally able to connect to him as well. There’s no one else who is able to remotely reach him – not a family member, other student council members, violent thugs, or his past crush. Only Nao.

charlotte 7b

When we drown in our sins – whether in the dregs of depression or the heights of hallow hedonism – we might feel that God is remote. Without having a dynamic relationship with Him, it’s easy to imagine Him as such. Why turn to God when He’s so distant? And if He’s holy as the Bible says, how much more should we hide away? Like a harsh, upright father, God would never understand or have compassion on an unruly son.

But scripture says otherwise:

For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

Hebrews 4:15

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Something More: Death in Totoro, Pokemon Preaching, and Kirito’s Treasure

I’m always happy to link to aniblog posts that touch on spirituality, but sometimes this column is just chock full of amazing articles. I hope you’ll dig into the links below – they’re worth your read, starting with Matthew Newman’s post on Hare Kon and marriage.

For those unfamiliar (which included me until I read Matthew’s article), Hare Kon is a manga about a young lady who marries into a polygamous marriage. A really interesting concept, right? The post’s focus in on the marriage ceremony, in which the presiding pastor mentions the following with regret:

…God is weeping. Though God is lenient, He may not recognize this marriage…still times are changing…at least those of us who are here shall approve this.

This idea that the marriage occurring in the church in this manga is municipally-approved, but not necessarily God-approved, reminded me of the idea that Christians often fall into a hypocrisy they don’t realize, saying that God is the authority for all matters while forming a lifestyle that ultimately places a morality they’ve formed as a mix of culture, religion, family, etc. as the backbone of their lives. For instance, many will will protest about gay marriage, but I think for many that’s more a problem with their feelings of disgust toward homosexuality rather than reverence toward God’s word. After all, a state-mandated union is, well, mandated by the state; it doesn’t mean it’s a marriage in God’s eyes (and the same would certainly go for many – perhaps most – “traditional” marriages as well).

If the Bible is the inspired word of God, and is God is who he says he is and you’ve submitted to him as the ultimate king and authority in your life, let the Bible guide you. Dig into it. Treasure it. And study it – don’t let surface level readings determine your theology, but respect the word of God as something dynamic, deep, and multi-faceted that should humble you as you realize that it, and God, are far more complex than you had imagined.

Read Matthew’s thoughts on Hare Kon:

>> Manga and Theology: Unholy Matrimony

Here are other articles from around the blogosphere:

You’ve heard the theory that My Neighbor Totoro is about death, right? The writers at Lady Geek Girl investigate the claim in detail, looking at how this interpretation relates to the Shinto aspects of the story. [Lady Geek Girl]

We live like we play video games, seeking treasure to store here during our short time on earth. Maybe we should live like Sword Art Online’s Kirito, with a different treasure and different destination in mind. [UEM!]

If you’ll remember, when Pokemon was all the rage, many Christians pastors starting preaching against it as the work of the devil. However, Kelly Bornstedt, who very personally experienced such a sermon, instead finds a lot of Christ-affirming ideas in the franchise. [Geeks Under Grace]

Kiryu’s story in Classroom Crisis brings to mind that of Joseph, the boy with the many-colored coat who would become a commander over Egypt. [2]

Aniblogger Lazarinth replies to a blogger award with a rant on the silliness of faith (warning: contains foul language). [Fantasy and Anime]

Chagum puts his faith in Balsa to protect him in Moriboto, while we, too, have a guardian – but this once infallible and invincible. [Lady Teresa Christina]

Very initial planning for a “Christian Anime Con” is in the works. [Anime Revolution]

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. 

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 13

Congratulations to The Tangles for its 13th episode and one entire year of podcasting! We’re very excited to share our first year anniversary episode with all of you, and we hope you enjoy the new format we have developed for it!

Episode 13, mentioned above, is the first episode of our new, streamlined format. The theme of this episode is “The Year in Review,” and we had the chance to have Lauren Orsini back on the show for an interview that investigates her last year’s accomplishments! For this month’s panel, JP, Sean, and Charles discuss some of the “otaku media” that have consumed and how it has affected their lives in meaningful ways.

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 – 0:56
Otaku Diet – 1:39
Lauren Orsini Interview – 11:09
Main Topic: The Year in Review – 27:50
Listener Mail – 52:47
Closer – 1:02:42
Bloopers – 1:03:30

Direct Download

Note: Below are the links mentioned in the podcast:

Anime Today: Childlike Innocence

If there’s one complaint that has arisen more than any other regarding Ore Monogatari, even from our own writers, it’s that the show’s characters are undeniably one-dimensional. As much as I enjoy and look forward to watching a new episode each and every week, not even I can deny the predictable nature of each personality. But you know what? In the ironic sense, it is this very flaw that gives Ore Monogatari the charm that allows it to stand out amongst its peers.

Shoujo, or manga and anime target toward a younger female audience, is laden with stereotype after stereotype and trope after trope. The genre often attempts to manipulate the heart strings of a teenage girl, something not difficult to do, and that results in the ridiculous drama that many of us may remember from our teenage years. Hormones and bad decision-making seem to form the very genetic makeup of the popular genre.

Sorry, no real relevance to this image. I just thought it was hilarious.

Sorry, no real relevance to this image. I just thought it was hilarious.

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Yo-Kai Watch and Contextual Demons

August has been a month for discussing context here at Beneath the Tangles, and I highly recommend looking at both articles recently written on this subject: Annalyn’s article about historical/cultural context, and Kaze’s article about man’s context VS God’s context. Here, I’ll be adding my humble contribution and completing the proverbial “Context Trinity.”

divider 2

Growing up in the 90s, while attending a private/Christian school, I received my first taste of franchise demonizing. The school faculty sent out word that anything Pokémon—be that lunchboxes, trading cards, action figures, or even roleplaying during recess—would henceforth be banned at the school on account of the series’ demonic influence and focus on evolution.

Fifteen years later, I’m witnessing the advent of Yo-Kai Watch, a game-turned-anime-and-manga franchise about a boy with the ability to see and tame yokai with the help of a magical Yokai Watch. The new series has already overtaken Japanese audiences (and surpassed Pokémon—its spiritual predecessor—in popularity), with an official Western release scheduled for the games and anime next year.

00_bigger_version

Recently, I saw a post on my Facebook feed that I couldn’t scroll past. A fellow Christian acquaintance had posted about Yo-Kai Watch, warning other Christians that it was demonic and that children should stay away from it. They referenced an article written by Gamesradar+, which stated, “There’s a real playfulness to each of the [yokai’s] designs, most of which are based on Japanese folklore demons, otherwise known as yokai.”

That terrible word “demon” is like a red flag to Christians. I can understand why reading this single article about the series might raise serious concerns in someone’s mind, but this particular Christian was mistaken in that they assumed the word “demon” was cross-cultural—that Eastern and Western demons were compatible entities.

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