Category Archives: Voice Acting

Untangled: How Do You Choose Which Anime to Watch?

In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers.  Here’s an email sent by Mason a few days ago:

How do you guys go about choosing your anime?  I don’t watch a lot but I like watching currently airing ones (because I have something to look forward too) so I would like to know how you guys go about finding anime :)

TWWK: Mason, I think most of us on staff here have a good idea of what we want to try out before each new season begins.  I usually check out a season preview post or two and choose the shows I want to try.  As for older series, I have a backlog that’s developed over the years.  Whenever I read about a series that interests me, I add it.  So I would say that typically I find anime by word of mouth.

Hansha: A lot of times, I’ll get suggestions from friends or they’ll start fangirling over one and insist I watch it. Other than that, I usually go through Hulu, Netflix or Crunchyroll and read descriptions. I’ve also gotten interested in a few anime because of cosplays I’ve seen at a convention or on different pages of cosplayers I follow. I think others on staff are more plugged in than I am though.

Japesland: I’ve gone through stages. At first, I based what I watched completely on word of mouth. Then I began looking online for recommendations, particularly from Beneath the Tangles (shameless plug for our Anime Recommendations and Anime Movie Recommendations pages). Then, I returned to word of mouth and friends’ recommendations and built up an enormous backlog, much as Charles mentioned (I marathoned a LOT of anime in the course of two years to get through that monstrosity!). Now, I’ve seen enough that I am generally able to find anime that I like myself, which is good because most of what I watch is currently airing nowadays! I recommend either asking friends, or checking blogs like ours as we write about new anime that we’re watching.

Kaze: I watch a lot of mediocre shows that I know are going to be mediocre, but I imagine most people aren’t weird like that. In terms of shows that I actually hope will be good, I rely on a few things. First is word of mouth, but particularly from people whose opinions I trust and tend to agree with. This is most useful when friends are familiar with the source material and can give you some concrete opinions rather than blind guessing. I also look at the staff and studio behind the anime. For example, P.A. Works tends to make very similar originals, so people tend to either like or dislike most of their work. I’ve also reached the point where I will watch anime for the seiyuu (voice actors), which as strange as it may sound to some, I don’t see how it is different from people watching TV shows for their favorite actors. Finally, while it probably isn’t helpful to you right now, the more you watch, the more easily you can identify shows which are going to be a flop or not, at least for you personally, because you start to see the trends and tropes. 

TWWK: Also, a shout out to our friends at Anime-Planet.  They were the first anime recommendation source on the net, and they’re still going strong.

And now, I’ll open it to our readers – how do you choose which anime to watch?

Something More: Deva Orochimaru, Humble Kirito, and Bishie Satan

The beginning of a new anime season is always fun!  Anibloggers are most active during this time, with literally a thousand or more anime articles coming out this week.  Luckily, a number of those are spirituality-related, and we have a slate of great articles to link to today!

Frank is excited about the new season of Encouragement of Climb, and compares the previous season’s storyline to that of the Christian moving out in faith and accomplishing what God has purposed him or her to do. [A Series of Miracles]

Syng completes a series on Naruto and Buddhism, diving particularly into the characterizations of Orochimaru, Obito, Madara, and Kaguya [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Speaking of that excellent series, here’s Syng’s first post on Buddhist allusions in Naruto.

D.M. Dutcher tells how a new Christian anime and manga series, entitled Prince Adventures: Anointed, features bishounen characters fighting against Satan (also a bishie). Vic Mignogna, of course, is among those voicing the series. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Oh, and a voice actor for young Jesus has been cast.

Doug, a Buddhist blogger, visits a Mayuka church, home to a native denomination of Japanese Christians. [Essays in Idleness]

Rob continues his Christian-centered anime reviews, with some thoughts about a journey in The World Is Still Beautiful mimicking a Christian’s. [Christian Anime Review]

And while we skipped Something More last Friday, I still want to link to some of the great anime and spirituality articles that bloggers wrote last week:

Michael sees the victory of humility over pride in Sword Art Online as representative of the rule God has established for His kingdom. [Gaming and God]

Earlier, Michael also took at look at Fullmetal Alchemist and dove into the Elric brothers’ thirst for eternal life.

Here’s an interesting comparison – Medieval Otaku sees similarities between the hearts of Lime of Saber Marionette J and Jesus. [Medieval Otaku]

Annalyn weaves a terrific entry about introversion The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior, including a note about how her faith. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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. 

Take Four – May 2014

Alice of ClariS leaves the Unit - Kaze

Art by 二次元帝国

Art by 二次元帝国

While I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the singing duo, I am nonetheless sad to see ClariS become merely Clara. Alice has reported that she is leaving the unit and singing as a whole to concentrate on her studies. The duo debuted with in 2010 with OreImo’s opening “Irony.” However, what exploded their popularity was Madoka’s “Connect.” Since then, they’ve performed several other songs all while keeping their real identity a secret – they have reported even their interest in anime is a secret from personal friends. Since they were only in middle school at the time of debut, that would mean right now is pretty important time with exams and preparing for university, so I must admit it to be a wise decision. Clara has not yet made a statement on her future plans

New Tenchi Muyo Short Series to Be Launched – TWWK

MTenchi girlsy anime fandom really began when Toonami was in it’s heyday with Tenchi Muyo, still one of my favorites, anchoring the block.  In an exciting, but strange piece of news, Kajishima Misaki will help develop Ai Tenchi Muyo!, a new series planned as 50 5-minute shorts in an effort to boost tourism in Takahashi City, the Japanese locale in most of the series’ media.  While it would be hard to find a fan who would like that the new episodes will be “short” format, there’s still plenty to be excited about – not in the least is that we can start theorizing and fantasizing about what the show will focus on.  There’s plenty of artwork and wording from Kajishima and others to fuel the speculation of the plot, which frankly, can’t be any worse than what we saw in the 3rd OVA.

Girls und Panzer PlayStation Vita Game Gearing Up for Release – Japesland

Art by 0.1mg

Art by 0.1mg

Although the upcoming release of the Girls und Panzer‘s tie-in Vita game is not recent news, the promotional videos (such as the linked one above, featuring voice actress, Mai Fuchigami) have really been rolling in this month in preparation for its June 26th Japanese release. Speaking as only a moderate fan of the series, I have been anticipating this release as I have been reluctant to join any video gaming tank action, mostly in the form of World of Tanks (but when anime girls are involved, who can turn it down?!). If you have any knowledge of the Japanese language and would like some practice, this seems to be a great item to import as the language skills necessary are lower than that of your standard Japanese RPG or other common import title. Regardless, be prepared for some fun “tankery” action on June 26!

Anime Expo Hosts Kill La Kill Event – KazeKill la kill

Los Angeles’ annual anime convention Anime Expo will be hosting a Kill La Kill event, featuring the English dub premier, as well as several Japanese guests including writer Kazuki Nakashima, character designer SUSHIO, producer Yosuke Toba, and the voice actresses of the main females Ami Koshimizu and Ryoka Yuzuki. If you are a big fan of the series, you’ll definitely want to be there, although tickets may already be sold out by the sounds of it. For those who aren’t fans of the series, perhaps voice actress Ami Koshimizu will ring a bell as the voice behind characters such as Holo, Kallen, and Maou. Anime Expo will also be hosting guests such as Reki Kawahara, the writer of Sword Art Online, and Eir Aoi, who sang theme songs for anime such as Sword Art Online, Fate/Zero, and Kill La Kill.

Something More: Vic Mignogna’s Faith, Gods and Demons of Anime, and Servant x Whose Service?

I missed this big bit last week (thanks to Frank’s site for pointing me toward it) – Vic Mignogna, noted voice actor, discusses faith extensively in the ANNCast. [Anime News Network]

And speaking of Frank, I highly recommend that you read his excellent article regarding Silver Spoon and Servant x Service about how we should value and love people and what it means to choose our own paths or God’s. [A Series of Miracles]

Yumeka dives extensively into the world of gods and demons in anime. [Mainichi Anime Yume]

D.M. Dutcher investigates Dog x Scissors and in doing so points out that a Christian ideal that many find sexist perhaps isn’t that offensive after all. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Angelica Belle discovers the Manga Bible series. [Angelica Belle]

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As part of the Something More series of posts, 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. 

Interview with Voice Actor Vic Mignogna

When I attended A-Kon 24 at the beginning of June, I went in with a mission.  One thing I hoped to do was to sit down with Vic Mignogna, voice actor extraordinaire, and talk to him about his profession and his faith.  Thankfully, the helpful staff at A-Kon set up our interview, and we had a chance to speak at length and very plainly about his thoughts regarding a great many things, including the church, the entertainment industry, and the well-known rumors that have spread about him.

vic mignogna a-kon

Vic grew up in a Christian environment – his grandfather was a pastor and his parents were heavily involved at church.  As he puts it, “I literally was born in a pew. ”  At the age of 13, after hearing his youth pastor relay a message about how many who claimed to be Christian would find themselves left out of Heaven, Vic accepted Christ.  He continued to be heavily involved in church, and at one time, led worship at Houston’s First Baptist Church.  When I asked Vic about bad experiences with Christians regarding anime, he referred to his service there:

I got called in one day to a board room in the church and there were five or six people sitting around the table. And one of them said, “Vic, I saw online that you play this character in a show.  You play this teenage boy who’s rebellious, agnostic-atheist young boy, and he does magic and alchemy [Edward Elric of Fullmetal Alchemist].  Now, Vic, we can’t have someone like that on stage at our church. What kind of example are you showing these kids?”

I sat across the table from this man and I started to tear up.  And I said, “You have no idea how many people I’m able to reach for Christ because these kids like my work.”  There are kids – tens of thousands of them – that my pastor will never reach. They will never darken the door of First Baptist Church or any church, but they like Ouran High School, or they like Fullmetal Alchemist, or they like Dragonball Z, and they will listen to me talk and share my faith and share God’s love for them because they like my work.  I sat there and I said, “Are you serious, really?”  First of all, I’m an actor.  It’s a role I’m playing.  It’s not me, and anyone who has have a brain knows that you’re playing a role.  It’s not indicative of who you are.  And number two, my job in anime has opened so many doors for me to get to share my faith with tens of thousands of people who would never otherwise be open to it.  And I was literally removed from leading worship because the powers that be felt that, you know, felt that it was not a good example for someone that was involved with anime and voicing characters like this.

Vic went to to mention another problem the leadership had with him:

They said, “We’ve seen a lot of pictures – drawings of you and your characters on a place called deviantART.  Vic, deviant!  What kind of place is that for a believer, Vic?  Deviant? That’s a bad word.”  I just, I kinda just sat back in my chair and threw my hands up.  I’m like, you 65-year-old guys – you have no idea what you’re talking about!  First of all, I have nothing to do with deviantART.  If some fan wants to draw a picture and put it on deviantART, what does that have to do with me?  That would be like me going into a bookstore, taking a Bible off the Bible rack, and walking over and putting it in the adult book rack.  I mean, just because it’s there doesn’t mean that the Bible has anything to do with the books around it any more than somebody drawing a picture of a character of mine or whatever, putting it on deviantART. There’s nothing wrong with that.  But these guys are so uniformed and some of them – and this is Christianity in general – there is a faction of Christianity that is so steeped in their legalism and their strict rules and regulations and their separatist view of being separate in every way, shape, and form, that they are of no value to the kingdom of God.  They’re not reaching anyone.  In fact, they’re turning people off.  They’re doing exactly the opposite. What did Apostle Paul write? “I am become all things to all me that by all means I might save some.”  That was the goal.  That’s the priority.  Doing whatever you can, with whatever you have, to reach whoever you can.  That’s the goal.  I don’t know where that got lost.  I don’t know at what point and time the church got the impression that God’s main purpose for the church was to build a little wall around itself and throw rocks and people outside the walls, you know what I mean?  And even attack their own.

…there is a faction of Christianity that is so steeped in their legalism and their strict rules and regulations and their separatist view of being separate in every way, shape, and form, that they are of no value to the kingdom of God.

I asked Vic if this experience dampened his own feelings toward the church, and institution he had so intimately been a part of his whole life:

Read the rest of this entry

Idolization in Anime Culture: Seiyuu and Maintaining a Godly Life

“Thou shall have no other gods before me,” a simple and obvious rule to not just Christianity, but to any monotheistic religion. Today, it is accepted that the sin of idolatry can take many forms from material possessions, activities, and even to other humans. Be it the Hollywood stars of America, the K-pop singers of Korea, or the girl groups like AKB48 of Japan, idolatry of celebrities is a growing and arguably dangerous problem in today’s society. Within the realm of anime culture, too, the idolization of the seiyuu cannot be denied.

Mitsuketaa! She's only 37. I mean 17.

Mitsuketaa! She’s only 37. I mean 17.

Tamura Yukari, for example, is one of the most talented voices in the industry, truly a god-tiered seiyuu. The White Devil, the Strategist, the Courageous Yuusha, Yukarin has done such a wide array of voices, I cannot even begin to comprehend her talent. Thanks to that, in addition to her personality and having found the secret to eternal youth as a forever 17 year old, she has quite the strong and loyal fan base. Her talent is undeniable. Her fan base is…a bit extreme at times. The most hardcore of fans certainly revere her as a goddess, which I can’t say is unique to her fans. The Japanese voice acting industry is brimming with talent and popularity with names like Sugita, Yui Horie, Sakamoto, and an endless list that I cannot even begin to do justice. Then you have the type-casted voices like KugiRie and Hanakana who rarely show any deviation in their voice acting yet have such large fan bases due to that single, specific voice that for some inexplicable reason everyone loves. If you aren’t a fan, you know how tiring it can be to hear that voice over and over.

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Mileposts: Interview with Caitlin Glass and Visual Novel Characters with Disabilities

Periodically, I like point back to some of the more than 500 posts we’ve written here on Beneath the Tangles.  Besides the “A Year Ago” series I began several months ago, I plan to occasionally post about blogging milestones – those little breakthroughs when posts hit certain numbers of significance in terms of hits.  Three articles recently hit such mileposts.

Hanako Ikezawa hug

Katawa Shoujo and a How to Guide for Referring to Individuals with Disabilities
Milepost:
5,000 Hits

The informational article discusses how to use person first language to refer to individuals (or VN characters!) with disabilities:

Rin is a character who was born without arms.  Don’t refer to this as a “birth defect.”  “Congenital disability” or “developmental disability” is preferred.  Further, remember to again emphasize that individuals have disabilities instead of saying that they are disabled, which emphasizes the disability, and avoid use of the word handicap.

This was a fun post to craft, because unlike many others, I had to do quite a bit of research.  I’m glad that this was my contribution to the blogosphere’s posts on Katawa Shoujo, a game that I actually never played.

Read the entire post

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: CCM Artist (and Close Anime Geek) Cait Plage, Angel Beats Heaven, and Haruhi’s Five Proofs

In M.E.X. Magazine, Christian musician Cait Plage (who previously interviewed with us) mentions the extensive anime dubbing she and her friends did in the past [M.E.X Magazine]:

Well, I am a true nerd at heart.  In middle school, I was a closet anime/video game geek….I would spend hours upon hours every day recording lines, auditioning, and ‘hanging out’ online with my VA friends.

Our newest blogger, Zeroe4, continues his “Last Requiem” series on his other blog by comparing heaven with the afterlife represented in Angel Beats! [Zeroe4]

However, in Angel Beats! and heaven there is love and camaraderie. In Angel Beats! and heaven everyone has a place they fit and everyone finds where that is. In heaven and Angel Beats! there is value placed on every person.

SnippetTee, who has sneakily become one of my favorite bloggers, explores the pneumatic side of dreams in relation to Mushishi. [Lemmas and Submodalities]

Tom Langston was disappointed that the “Philosophy in Anime” panel at SacAnime was cancelled, so he briefly discusses what might have been presented, particularly relating Haruhi Suzumiya to Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs. [Nigorimasen!]

Jonathan Tappan posts an excellent and helpful timeline for Mawaru Penguindrum, which largely revolves around events (true and fabricated) involving the Aum Shinrikyo religious cult. [FunBlog]

RocketNews24 reports that makers of traditional Japanese swords will be commissioned to cast replicas of weapons from Neon Genesis Evangelion.  The first is that of the Lance of Longinus, a weapon in Evangelion that shares a name given to the spear that pierced Christ’s side. [RocketNews24]

Monsieur LaMoe begins his post on Aquarion Evol by quoting Jesus on eunuchs, and goes into detail about the three different kinds that He mentioned.  From there, I’m really not sure where he goes (I admit it – I got lost). [Anime Diet]

And to conclude on a cheery note, Steelbound wishes us all a Happy (February) Christmas. [The Null Set]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere series of posts, 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. 

Anime in Pakistan, Called to Anime (and Missions), and Review of a Sci-Fi, Religious, Japanese Classic

Ash reviews the Japanese science fiction classic, Ten Billion Days and One Hundred Billion Nights, released last year by Viz Media.  Much of the review is spent discussing the importance of Christianity and especially Buddhism to the plot. [Experiments in Manga]

Aniblogger Zeroe4, who’ll be starting DTS training for his mission to Japan in the next few months, explains what “DTS” means, along with other terminology.  He also talks about the connection between anime and his call to missions. [Called to Anime]

In another post, Zeroe4 compares himself to Mashiro Moritaka (Saikō) from the manga, Bakuman, discussing his own anime-related goal and it’s relation to Christ. [Called to Anime]

The Express Tribunes interviews Pakistani artist and musician, Daniyal Noorani, whose music, set to animated videos and discussing volatile subjects like religion and international relations, has gained attention and acclaim.  Among the tidbits he mentions are his anime-style series in Pakistan, accompanying this comment [The Express Tribune]:

Anime is very popular in Pakistan and there’s a demand for it here.

David Alvarez provides a thorough rundown of SacAnime 2012, including snippets of an interview with Christian voice actor, Vic Mignogna, in which he thanks the Father [Sacremento Press]:

God has been so good to me that I can hardly stand it.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere series of posts, 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.

Interview with Caitlin Glass, Part 2: Faith and Voice Acting

From Ouran High School Host Club’s Haruhi to Fullmetal Alchemist’s Winry Rockbell, Caitlin Glass has voiced some of anime’s most beloved characters.  She’s also funny, personable, and great to her fans.  Back in August, Caitlin was kind enough to answer a few questions about voice acting.  I was able to catch up with her at IKKiCON 2011 and finish our interview; this time, I asked her about her Christian faith.

TWWK:  I found out about your faith through an interview you did on the Fans for Christ website.  I admired how vocal you are.  Could you quickly tell us your testimony and how you became a Christian?

Caitlin:  Sure!  I only vaguely remember it because I’m one of those that grew up going to church, so as far as I recall, it was just a situation of being in children’s church and at the end of every Sunday, they always ask if there’s anybody that wants to invite Jesus into their heart and one Sunday I said, “Yeah, I want to do that.” [laughs] And that was it.  So, I don’t have some really immense rags-to-riches kind of testimony.  I guess my testimony is just that I followed Christ my whole life and I fell that I am blessed and protected because of that.

TWWK:  Have you ever taken a role in acting or voice acting that you’ve questioned because of your faith?  Or have you ever turned down a role because of that?

Caitlin:  Yes.  Mainly, it’s more a whole show and less a particular character because to be honest, you can’t have the heroes without the villains and I can’t just say because I’m a Christian I’m only going to be playing the hero.  Read the rest of this entry