Category Archives: Anime
In the last Tangles podcast, the staff pondered about Charlotte – just who is Charlotte? And where is this story going? Episode five, thankfully, starts cluing us in about the show as a whole. While there’s yet another youth who has to be caught by the student council, the focus is less on that individual than ever as other developments occur: we continue to see how Nao suffers because of her straight-forward personality; Jojiro gives Yuu some cryptic hints about his significance; and the slow decline that many of us have expected of Ayumi has begun.
Of course, even with all these clues – and maybe even because we know more after this episode – the show remains as confusing as ever. The course of the series remains blurry; we’re still in the dark as to where it’s headed.
I was reminded this week that we all have moments like this in our own lives. Just as a viewer watching Charlotte, and even more specifically like Yuu, who remains unaware of his role in all that’s happening, we’ve all been in places in our lives where we wonder, why? Christians may even find these times to be even more difficult – why would a loving God put us through hell?
When storms come or even just moments of confusion, we may be unable to decipher the reasons. Yuu is in a strange student council led by an enigmatic girl, and sometimes wonders what his role is and why he has to do this; we, too, might ask God why we’re knee deep in problems like anxiety, relationship issues, and the such.
The more I engage in social media, especially through Tumblr, the more I witness just how deeply connected a lot of anime fans are to their favorite characters – emotionally, physically (dakimakura), even sexually. I have my favorites, too, but besides feeling some empathy toward the characters, and occasionally shipping them, I don’t have a really strong attachment. That, too, applies to characters I most dislike – there’s no deep-seated vengeance I feel toward them. I don’t think of them very deeply at all.
However, JekoJeko makes a really good case that Christians should be thinking more about anime characters, and particularly, how we consider them in our minds. Taking criticism of Charlotte, for instance, the blogger wonders how Christians might be so quick to dismiss or even deride annoying characters (much less evil ones).
At first, I thought maybe JekoJeko was taking this a bit too seriously – this is what otaku often do, after all. But the argument is convincing and I’m now convicted. The way we approach all things in life – anime and anime characters included – is telling about our attitude toward God and others. As we’re transformed, our hearts move toward love – and why shouldn’t that reaction also apply to characters, even if it’s going to be on a more obviously surface level? For the way we react to the world is telling of the condition of our hearts.
What do y’all think? Check out JekoJeko’s post and comment there:
Our own Samuru1 hosted a panel about Christianity and anime at SuperCon and it received a warm response. [Geeks Under Grace]
Casey Covel, also of our site, had the opportunity to interview Kenneth Bright, Jr., who is developing Prince Adventures, an anime-style franchise aimed specifically at Christians. 
Angel Beats’ Hinata has difficulty holding onto the past – that kind of guilt can prevent us from moving foward. [Old Line Elephant]
Speaking of Angel Beats, an interesting of viewing it is as a property about life itself – not just in content, but the show’s very structure, flaws and all. [Mage in a Barrel]
Eren’s transformation into a titan (a wrong makes a right) in Attack on Titan brings about interesting contrast with the Christian’s life (God makes right from out wrong). [Lady Teresa Christina]
Gaara’s purpose and meaning for life in the original Naruto is full of selfishness and self-reliance – and it’s perhaps his the character’s guilt that belies a more significant meaning for existence. 
Amagi Brilliant Park takes the common anime theme of relying on your friends for support and offers something more – and something more biblical. [UEM!]
Noragami takes Shinto gods, which have become fairly commonplace in anime, and makes something quite more than common. [Ganriki]
Does the end justify the means? For the boy selling see-through photos of classmates in episode 2 of Charlotte, it does. The answer, of course, is quite different from a Christian perspective. [Christian Anime Review]
Can you find “enlightenment” through aniblogging? Perhaps, and at the very least, you might find a wonderful outlet for creative energy. [Fujinsei]
Although not anime-related, I would be remiss if I didn’t include this excellent, excellent article about Disney’s Pinocchio, which makes strong correlation between the title character and the Irenic version of the first man, Adam. [Res Studiorum et Ludorum]
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. Special thanks to Don of Zoopraxiscope Too for notifying me about the Pinocchio post!
Episode 12 closes out our summer series of Japan focused podcast episodes with a special Tangles panel: JP (Japes), Kaze, Jack (R86), and Daniel (Zeroe4)! All members of this month’s panel have spent varying degrees of time in Japan in very different roles with unique experiences of the country, and thus use that diversity to share and discuss the country from different perspectives! We hope you have been enjoying this summer’s series of special episodes and will tune in next month for episode 13, celebrating a full year of The Tangles Podcast!
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!
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 2:43
Otaku Diet – 4:35
How did you get to Japan; What are you doing? – 37:40
How does life in Japan compare to slice of life anime? – 47:39
Best and worst experiences in Japan; Amusing experiences – 58:07
How have you seen God working in Japan? – 1:31:46
Closer – 1:53:39
Note: Below are the links mentioned in the podcast:
After a season-long break, The iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls is back, and I for one could not be happier. As my numerous posts about this show earlier this year might indicate, I am a big fan of this show, as well as the original iM@S anime. The second half of Cinderella Girls continues right where the first half left off, without even resetting the episode numbers: the girls of the Cinderella Project have all had success in their sub-units and have also made a performance as one big group, and now have notable fame in the idol fandom to their names. Of course, this means that just like in the original iM@S anime, it is time to test the girls’ resolve by introducing an antagonist to threaten their careers.
However, this time around, we do not get a rival idol company with a cartoony villain manager like Kuroi from the first iM@S series. For the girls of 346 Productions, their threat comes from within, in the form of their new executive director, Mishiro. For what it’s worth, she is by no means evil; she does nothing out of malice, only out of her own beliefs of how to achieve success. However, those beliefs prioritize quick and significant results over the feelings of the idols themselves, and lead her to disband all current idol projects in 346 Productions while she personally pushes forward the careers of only those idols she believes will get those results.
Naturally, this announcement does not go over well with the girls of 346 Productions. With CD debuts getting cancelled and the future of everyone’s careers uncertain, the mood at the company becomes quite grim. However, the Producer of our main cast realizes that something is wrong with Mishiro’s approach, and quickly protests against it, expressing his belief that the girls should approach their careers in their own ways so as to protect their smiles. Mishiro’s only reply is to ask him to propose his own plan that can also produce the results she is looking for, and to continue on with her own plans in the meantime.
It’s easy to classify this as a simple conflict between someone who just wants results and someone who actually cares about the people who can bring those results. However, the show does take a slightly different approach toward the matter, looking rather at the different goals the various girls have that differ from Mishiro’s vision. This is the basis for the Producer’s opposition, and it also forms the basis for episode 15’s mini-arc featuring Kaede.
Yes, I’m returning to Kuroko’s Basketball. The power was out last night, so I couldn’t catch up on new shows, and I was forced to use a topic that I’ve been thinking about since before last season ended. Spoilers ahead.
I’ve written before about why Akashi’s approach to basketball is wrong. But there’s another aspect to it: He relies on his own strength to keep his friends close, to win games, and to continue doing what he loves. So far, that’s worked for him. But that doesn’t mean it always will, and Kuroko shows him that in the end.
“I am absolute,” Akashi repeats throughout Kurobas. Those who play against him lose, and those who follow him win. In his mind, he has the strength—and thus the right—to play basketball as a tyrant, to force weaker players to literally fall before him.
Akashi glorifies himself out of fear: fear that he’ll lose and be forced to quit basketball by his father, and fear that his teammates will surpass him, stop following him, and ultimately stop playing with him. These fears are understandable, but they are also self-centered. They come from focusing on his own concerns, rather than those of his teammates.
I’ll focus on the relational fear, since it is primary to the conflict, and because I think most of us can identify with it. In middle school, Akashi enjoyed playing with his team. But as the Generation of Miracles grew stronger, they grew apart. The team began wining for victory’s sake. In episode 73, Akashi recalls, “and around then all their individual talents started to bloom, one after another. That growth turned into the fear that I couldn’t handle them… as well as the anxiety that they would leave me behind.”
Aomine, who perhaps loved basketball more than any of them, became frustrated because “no one can beat me but me.” Without a challenging opponent, he began to lose interest in the game and stop coming to practice. Murasakibara also grew bored and threatened to stop coming. Akashi panicked and challenged him to a one-on-one match. At first, it looked like Murasakibara would win, but Akashi overcame, securing his place at the top. He explains later, “I had to stay the strongest so that I could continue to play with them.”
Most of us can empathize with Akashi’s anxiety. How many of us have felt our friends will not only surpass us, but leave us? Sometimes, I don’t want to attempt friendship, because I can already see that the other person is a high-achiever. With the friends I already have, the anxiety plays a more subtle role: my insecurity has been partially about my ability to make friends. So when close friends moved away and immediately made new friends, and I didn’t, I fought fears about not being needed as their friend—I didn’t realize that “need” had very little to do with it, that we could appreciate our friendship even if our social needs were met by others. Read the rest of this entry
A third of the way through season three of Working!!! (Wagnaria), and I’m super pleased – the show continues its wonderful, character-based humor (as expected) while moving along romantic relationships (not necessarily as expected). And as has been impressed upon me all along, the series confirms that it isn’t just funny – it’s a really well-made show.
I was trying to explain this point to someone last week, and it was hard for me to do so – I’m not 100% sure what makes Working!!! more than just fun. It has a lot to do with smart source material, with its well-written gags and funny situations. It also has plenty to do with the characters, who are loveable, well-defined, and who grow, bit by bit, through the course of the series. And it certainly has to do with how the four panel strips, so obviously the format for the show’s source material, flow well thematically from episode to episode when animated.
In short, while the series seems simple, it’s a lot more complicated than we might give it credit for.
Not all of you may agree with my assertion – I may have to butt heads with some of you that see the series as relatively common. There’s a parallel here, too, with a work I esteem much more highly – and strangely, it’s more often the choir to whom I preach the merits of that work. Read the rest of this entry
I love baseball, and so, Little Busters notwithstanding, I really enjoy baseball episodes/series. And if you throw in the emotion of the relationship called a battery, I’m done for.
As the student council, with
a new two new characters in two, finds their next subject, they turn to a baseball game to bring the pitching ace into their school. But with supernatural powers being wielded, the contest is a farce from the start. The opposing team’s pitcher throws a near-unhittable knuckleball through telekinesis, while in the 9th inning, the student council’s team counters with their own powers.
It’s surprising perhaps, then, that the game-winning hit depends on one not using his powers, as Yuu gives his all sincerely without using his ability. Going into the at bat, he wonders how he could use his power, not even thinking of getting a hit in a legitimate fashion, but Nao insists that he find a way to drive two runs home on his own.
Yuu is understandably apprehensive. He, like many of us, would rather fake it than do things legitimately and risk mediocrity, embarrassment, or failure. Read the rest of this entry
I finished watching this short but sweet anime titled One Week Friends. Like most of the anime series I have been watching recently, it was recommended and reviewed here on Beneath The Tangles. The animation and character focused story hooked me immediately and I felt as if I was watching real people live life.
If you haven’t watched the show then you should check it out; it’s very touching and one of those anime that pull on your heart a little. The main concept is memory loss, since the female protagonist has trouble remembering her friends every week starting on Monday. Basically, you can be her friend and have fun together but when the week starts, she won’t have a clue who you are. This is not a real life condition, but it’s interesting to see the reactions and emotions that go through each character because of this phenomenon.
Not being able to remember something or someone precious to us can be irritating since our memories are very important to us. It got me thinking about the meaning of our thoughts, experiences and consciousness. Whenever we as people go to an event, experience something new or spend time with friends the purpose is to create a memory. Without them, pictures and videos would be worthless and so would many of the exciting places we go to. If you couldn’t recall what happened after it’s over, why even go? When we see Kaori unable to remember the places she went with Hase-kun, it makes him sad and frustrated since it seems like it was all a waste.
I started to think about that and how it relates to God’s thoughts towards us. God calls us His friends, and He thinks about us every single day. It’s not about how long you prayed, or how much money you gave to a charity or church. It’s not about all the good things you did for someone, He loves us and unconditionally. Read the rest of this entry
The first anime I fell in love with was Code Geass, but shortly after that another show captured my attention. It is called Mobile Suit Gundam 00 (sounded out as Gundam Double Oh).
Gundam 00 is in many ways a standard Gundam series. The story takes place in an alternate timeline in the future, as multiple nations/organizations are fighting each other. A super weapon appears, a princess is rescued, and madness ensues. That is where the similarities stop. Gundam 00 departs from typical Gundam tradition and tries to tell a plausible story for our future. It incorporates geo-politics with religious genocides, resource wars, Middle-East turmoil, and world powers playing against each other in proxy wars.
The show starts off with a show of force at a weapons unveil and a skirmish erupting. The pilots of the Gundams are later unveiled to be members of a secret military organization known as Celestial Being. They announce that they will perform armed interventions in military conflicts. The show then continues from that point with the Gundams being super powerful, but slowly they become less and less effective. The show is a very interesting play on the Gundam franchise as it seems to look at what Gundams in our world would be like. It is also my favorite Gundam series. I really appreciate the layers of characters from every side. They create a picture of how actions of different parties effect all the others. Most Gundam series tend to be very one sided. One nation is good, the other is bad. Gundam 00 throws this out the window and paints a picture in which no party is innocent.
Hi there, folks! Time for some apologies. First, I’m sorry I missed last week’s post. I was really sick, and writing was out of the question. Second, I’m sorry this is several hours late. I could blame internet problems, but I honestly couldn’t have finished this before work even if my internet was working this morning. I’m afraid I got out of my blogging routine with everything that’s been going on. It’s actually harder to blog in the summer than during the school year—didn’t expect that to be the case, but it is. Thank you for your patience with me. Anyway, without further ado… here’s a post about something I’ve been mulling over a lot in the past couple months: singleness and supporting each other.
Ore Monogatari!! aka My Love Story!! might be the most surprising anime on my watching list. The fact I’m completely caught up with it is even more surprising. Sweet romance shows don’t usually keep my attention. But this one hasn’t lost me yet. It toes the line with cliches, then skips happily away. Best of all, there’s no ridiculous drama and misunderstandings, because Suna is always there to straighten the protagonists out.
At first glance, the title My Love Story!! seems to refer to Takeo’s relationship with Yamato. But I want to look at a different type of love story, a non-romantic type… because I don’t think that kind of love story gets as much attention as it should, especially in Christian circles. And, more selfishly, because my life resembles a platonic love story more than anything else right now. So, as sweet as the main couple is, let’s talk about Suna.
Sunakawa Makoto is the protagonist’s best friend. He keeps Takeo and Yamato from hurting each other or annoying me. Unlike many romance anime sidekicks, he’s sensible, introverted, and content being single. I can relate to him a lot… and we can all take a cue from the way he supports the main couple (and the way they support him). Read the rest of this entry