Category Archives: Novel

Something More: Naming Shuu, Sin in Shinsekai Yori, and Reviewing Yokai Attack!

Nick Calibey examines the sometimes biblical meanings of names, including Shuu’s from Guilty Crown. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Ty-chama analyzes episode 10 of Shinsekai Yori and touches on her personal faith, as well how the episode emphasizes the idea of a sinful nature. [Watashi wa Bucho!!]

Annoying Dragon reviews Hiroko Yoda and Matt Alt’s Yokai Attack! [Living. Loving. Learning]

Doug is excited for the Saint Young Men movie. [Japan and Korea: Life, Language and Religion]


As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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. 

Good Friday! Anime-Related Recommendations for Easter

Even if you’re non-religious, Easter is a holiday that might cause you think about faith or even bring you into a church service.  Whether or not you attend, you might consider delving into anime, manga, or anime-related books to indulge your curiosity, interest, or, what I would call, stirrings.  Here are some recommendations for works to look at this Easter:


My Last Day

If you watch anything today, I would recommend it be this short film.  Animated in anime-style, it’s a well-done work that shows the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the point of view of one of the thieves crucified next to Him.  I would recommend this as a starting point of sorts – if you want to read more about the context of the film and what it all means, consider reading the Gospel of John or the Gospel of Luke.

Read the rest of this entry

A Serpent in the Garden of Penguins, a Buddhist Ritual in Last Exile, and Giving Thanks for Bento

Taylor Ramage reviews the anime-influence Because the Angels, writing that the author “isn’t afraid of including things that most Christians would consider “dirty” and because of that, she’s produced a story in which Christianity actually has life.”

Ephemeral Dreamer suggests a “serpent in the Garden of Eden” allusion in episode 16 of Mawaru Penguindrum.

In his post on episode three of Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing, Krizzlybear compares the ritual near the show’s end to the Buddhist Ullambana festival.

Omo’s splattering of thoughts regarding Ben-To, among other topics, includes some discussion of the theme of “giving thanks for food” in the series.

Haibane Renmei, one of our site’s recommended anime, is suddenly a hot review – Paper Chimes and Breaking Metal Windows posted new reviews of the angelic anime.

Suntzuanime points out the new monastic addition to Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and approves of the show’s “looking at a foreign concept” viewpoint toward Christianity.

Splinter discusses the distraction of manga during times that should be devoted to prayer and reading of scripture.

IUPUI received a grant to do a study on how individuals use the Bible in their everyday lives; one of those working on the grant project has previously commented on The Manga Bible.

Review: Because the Angels by Kathleen Kern

Kathleen KernSpike Darbyfield is a hard nut to crack.  Though unafraid to speak her (opinionated) mind, Spike remains detached from those around her.  She’d rather invest her emotions in watching Blood+ or working on a novel inspired by Samurai Champloo than in people.  There is one person in her life, though, that Spike is crazy about – her sister, Margie, who is part of a Christian peacekeeping mission in Iraq.

However, Spike’s sheltered world is altered forever when she receives an emergency phone call.  Margie has been kidnapped by a group of militant Iraqis.

Thus begins Kathleen Kern’s unique story combining anime with spiritual, political, and social elements, and inspired by Kern’s experiences with Christian Peacemaker Teams, which faced a similar crisis in 2005-06.   I’d first heard of this novel while reading an article Kern had written, which told of an underlying theme in this movie: the sacred meeting the profane.  Spike is the epitome of this theme.  While her sister is part of a Christian organization and her birth father a pastor, Spike doesn’t believe in God and uses foul language effortlessly.  It’s difficult to warm up to her at first.  But as the novel progresses and she opens up, even if its bit by bit, we, too, as readers begin to understand Spike and hope for her as she deals with the pain of not knowing whether her sister will live or die, while having to develop relationships with others, something she has also avoided (unless those relationships are with 2D characters). Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Kathleen Kern, Author of Because the Angels

Kathleen Kern is a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization which seeks to transform areas under occupation or war through non-violent methods.  She is also an anime fan, and brought this interest together with a passion for her work in Because the Angels, a novel featuring a protagonist who is Blood+ obsessed.  She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.

TWWK: Kathleen, your main character is a woman who is obsessed with anime, particularly Blood+.  What compelled you to create such a character and to use anime as such an important part of the novel?

Kathleen:  I had insomnia one night and was looking through the channels.  The name “Samurai Champloo” just struck me as funny for reason, and when I tuned in–somewhere in the middle of the series, I thought it was funny and liked the fluid drawing.  I liked the way that Mugen and Jin kind of looked semi-realistic, but Fuu looked like big-eyed anime characters.  I’ve always been a sucker for stories that mix humor with pathos (I pretty much learned to read, by reading Heidi over and over again), which Samurai Champloo does.  I think Blood+ was playing after Samurai Champloo, which has more pathos than humor, but the story line and the music drew me in.  In hindsight, I realize that I started on shows with a more artistic bent than most anime series.  If I had started on Inuyasha, for example, I don’t think I would have gotten sucked in (but I actually ended up watching the whole Inuyasha series, as well as some other “lessers.”) Read the rest of this entry

Review: Silence by Shusaku Endo

Cover of "Silence"

Cover of Silence

When I was in college, a friend invited me to her apartment for tea.  I had always admired her faith, and we naturally began to talk about that topic.  At one point, she mentioned that she was at a point in her faith in which she was unafraid to be martyred for her beliefs; but she wasn’t so far that she would allow a loved one to die in her place.

At the time, I didn’t really understand what she meant.  And how likely would an incident like that occur anyway, in which someone else would die in her place?

This precise situation, however, is a vital part of Shusaku Endo‘s 1966 novel, Silence.  Although not related to anime, I felt it appropriate to review this book on my blog, as it is an enduring classic of Japanese literature and is about Christianity.  The story revolves around Sebastião Rodrigues, a Jesuit priest who is sent to Japan to encourage the hidden Christians there and to find more information about his mentor, Cristóvão Ferreira, who has apostatized.  Rodrigues and Ferreira are based on real historical figures, and the book revolves around their decisions regarding apostasy.  Read the rest of this entry


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