Category Archives: Personal

Annalyn’s Corner: My Version of the Overworked Faint Trope

Many of us know the overworked-fever-faint trope. In Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Misaki tries to balance her part-time job and her duties as student body president. The stress builds up, and she gets sick, but she refuses to acknowledge it until she faints and Usui carries her home from work in the first episode. Of course, she doesn’t learn her lesson, and she continues to take too much work on herself throughout the anime. The laid-back Usui subtly takes off what stress he can, but she’s not very cooperative.

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The scenario in Kaichou wa Maid-sama is cute, but ridiculous, right? Sort of. I’ve seen a lot of exhausted students. We become more susceptible to colds and flus, yes, but the biggest consequences seem to be emotional, spiritual, and psychological. In fact, for me, those are the main consequences. And I can keep them under control about as well as Misaki and other anime heroines can control their fevers. Eventually, no matter how much we smile, something’s got to give.

For me, the smiles ended on Friday. I felt it coming. I couldn’t remember the last time I got eight solid hours of sleep. I knew my brain was operating with decreasing efficiency, and my time management skills were dropping as quickly as my processing skills. When I called my mom Friday morning, she wasn’t surprised—she’d seen the signs even from over a hundred miles away. Read the rest of this entry

The Power of Kindness in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was one of those shows I was a little unsure about watching. I mean, I watch anime, play video games, cosplay, go to conventions, etc. but…My Little Pony…Really? REALLY?

I didn’t get into the show until after one year at Anime Weekend Atlanta. We were hanging out watching all of the formal cosplays go into the gala. While we were watching, I really and truly saw some of the most breathtaking My Little Pony cosplays. There is so much creativity in the Brony community. It really impressed me and made me curious about the show.

After the con, I watched all three seasons that were available on Netflix and LOVED it. The writing was pretty good, the characters were so likable, and the show did a good job of telling an interesting story without having a whole lot of drama. It was refreshing and encouraging to watch a well done show where characters were building each other up instead of tearing each other down for entertainment value. The show is so positive without feeling forced or fake.

The pony I admire most in the show is Fluttershy.

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She represents kindness in the elements of harmony. I think I am so drawn to her because she has so many qualities key to Christianity that I personally wish would come easier to me. She is patient, understanding, merciful, compassionate and, of course, kind.

Read the rest of this entry

Annalyn’s Corner: Aiming for the Championship

Welcome to my new column!

I have a few favorite corners where I “hide” to study or write. Sometimes, partway through my day, a friend will join me, and all the thoughts I’ve built up in my corner will suddenly flow out of my mouth and into their ears. This is my corner of Beneath the Tangles. As I watch anime and study throughout the week, thoughts will inevitably build up. I’ll straighten them out into some kind of order and choose a few to share here. Sometimes, like today, the topic will get deep and long. Often, it won’t. And I promise not to write about Kuroko’s Basketball in every post. I do enjoy other anime, really!

Last Saturday, I wrote about how Kise from Kuroko’s Basketball inspired me to imitate Christ. Since then, I’ve continued reflecting on the topic. Two things stick out to me: First, Kise aimed high. Second, he had the discipline to follow through. I realize that aim and follow-through are basic concepts. Shounen heroes, athletes, writers, entrepreneurs—millions of people, fictional and non-fictional, demonstrate what happens when you combine passion and daily discipline. I’ve heard their stories, seen their successes… and pretty much given up on being like them.

I can’t be the only one who gets discouraged. So I’m using this post to examine where I’ve gone wrong and consider what it truly means to aim high as a Christian. I’ll reference Kuroko’s Basketball and other anime, because I think they help illustrate what the Bible says about aiming high. I have been encouraged as I work through this topic, and I pray that this post can encourage you, too.

Where did I go wrong this time?

I have plenty of goals (pray and read the Bible more, complete homework on time, become a professional writer), and sometimes, I make and stick to plans to work toward these goals… for a few weeks, at least. Then I fail. I oversleep. Holidays interrupt my schedule. I waste hours on Tumblr. I don’t focus. Eventually I ask, “How the blazes am I supposed to be a faithful, disciplined anything when the only thing I manage to do consistently is be late?”

I lean heavily on the promise that life in Christ is not about what I do, but about what Christ does—what he has already done. Getting up every morning to pray wouldn’t increase my “Good Christian” standing at all. Showing up to Theology class on time doesn’t ultimately matter, either. I know this, but I get discouraged. My heart must not be in the right place, I think. If it was, if I truly treasured and prioritized serving God, loving him and loving others, I’d do better. I’d keep a healthier, more productive schedule. I’d be as dedicated and motivated as Kise and Kuroko, or Ei-chan, or Sawamura Eijun, or an Olympic athlete. My life would be focused and organized.

Oh. I found my problems. Read the rest of this entry

Osananajimi: Growing Up With God

First of all, many thanks to TWWK for inviting me to join this site. For my first post on here, I thought I would repost a post I made a long time ago on my own blog, A Series of Miracles. This post is a very personal subject for me, and I think it will also serve well as an introduction to me and my own history with Christ.

Osananajimi is a Japanese term that translates to “childhood friend”, and indeed means just that. In and of itself, the term has no romantic connotations and can refer to any unrelated person, male or female, with or without romantic connections, with whom a person has grown up with. From what I gather, culturally the Japanese value those whom they have grown up with as having a special connection with them, and as such, the childhood friend has been a popular character in classical fiction, including as a romantic interest.

In the world of anime and related media, though, the popularity of the osananajimi as a romantic interest largely comes from their use in dating sims and visual novels, particularly Shiori Fujisaki in Tokimeki Memorial and Akari Kamigishi in To Heart. (Also worth noting is Kanon, which likely helped popularize the “meeting with childhood friend after a long time apart” variation.) Since then, theosananajimi has been a common character in all sorts of anime, manga, and the like, with some recent examples including Rihoko Sakurai in Amagami, Chiwa Harusaki in OreShura, Manami Tamura in OreImo, and… well, the entire core cast of AnoHana.

Alt text, we found you!

Not even death can separate them… not that it didn’t try.

As for why this character is so popular, I would say it’s because they exemplify a lot of traits—faithfulness, ability to love despite imperfections, ability to be open with each other, and a deep sense of intimacy that comes from a well-developed friendship—that are very desirable in any romantic partner.

The osananajimi has been one of my favorite character types since very early in my anime-watching experience, though that is very largely in part due to one obscure, unlicensed (and probably will never be licensed) visual novel adaptation called Lamune, which even now has one of my favorite portrayals of a childhood friend romance in anime. As for why I like such characters—and their romances—so much… that is a good question. It’s not like I have any female childhood friends myself that I wish I could be with, nor do I particularly care about finding one again in the first place.

The aforementioned desirable qualities of a romantic partner could be a factor. However, after some consideration, it became clear to me why I like osananajimi characters so much.

It’s because they remind me of my relationship with God. Read the rest of this entry

Kuroko’s Basketball and Imitating Christ

Hi there, folks! I feel like I should say something to properly introduce myself in my first official post as a BtT writer. But formalities aren’t exactly my forte, so I’ll just dive in. 

– – –

I’m a bit of a Kuroko’s Basketball fangirl. The show’s been on my mind almost constantly since the third season began airing. It’s prompted a lot of fist-pumping, squealing, and cheering—plus some convicting thoughts about the Christian walk. For example, Kise’s recent game against Haizaki has me thinking about imitation’s role in the Christian life.

– Spoiler warning for the third episode of Kurobas 3. –

First, a recap on this character: Kise Ryouta is a sports prodigy. He tried other sports before basketball, but he wasn’t challenged enough. His athletic ability, combined with his knack for imitation, allowed him to surpass teammates and rivals with ease. He finally started basketball partway through middle school, after he discovered how powerful the team was. Finally, a challenge!

Kise quickly joined the ranks of Teiko Middle School’s “Generation of Miracles,” but surpassing them would take a little longer. The rest of the team had developed personalized skills that matched their physiques and personalities. Kise wasn’t good enough to imitate their moves, let alone counter them.

Fastforward to the Winter Cup, Kise’s first year of high school. Kise is pitted against Haizaki, a nasty fellow who was kicked off the Teiko Middle School team just before Kise became a regular. Haizaki, too, is an imitator, but with a twist: he corrupts whatever skill he steals. This messes with his opponent’s rhythm, making it impossible for him to use the skill he used to call his own. Back in middle school, Kise could never beat him. Now, in high school, things look grim. Kise and the rest of the Kaijo team keep the gap from getting too wide, but Haizaki is dominating. Finally, in the last five minutes, Kise brings out the newest and most powerful weapons in his arsenal: skills he’s copied from the Generation of Miracles. He starts with Midoriama’s precise, high-arcing three-pointer. And he makes it from the other side of the half-court line. (Cue fangirling)

Kise can copy the Generation of Miracles. Okay, he's scary now. I don't even know how scary, because that pink aura there is Akashi,  and the only skill I've seen him use is his Alpha Dog commanding  aura, which is scary, but probably not imitable.

Kise can copy the Generation of Miracles. Okay, he’s scary now. I don’t even know how scary, because that pink aura there is Akashi, and the only special “skill” I’ve seen him use is his Alpha Dog control, which is scary, but probably not imitable.

Read the rest of this entry

Judgment in Death Parade

Death Parade presents its own attempt in answering the always interesting question of “what happens after death?” Recently deceased characters wind up in a bar called Quindecim where they are told to play a game they must stake their lives on and are judged during the game on whether their soul will go to heaven (reincarnation) or hell (the void).

The judges in this situation are called arbiters and judge souls based on their memories and the parts of their character that manifest themselves during the life or death game. The winner of the game is not relevant.

The first episode follows a pair of newlyweds. During the game, we learn that the wife, Machiko, was unfaithful and lied and the husband, Takashi, is a bit of a coward and can have a violent temper. At the end of the game, he is sent to be reincarnated and she is sent to the void.

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One of the more disturbing aspects about the anime is the way sins are weighed. According to this particular arbiter, Decim, adultery and deception are weightier than violent rage. Because Machiko cheated and lied about loving Takashi she is sent to the void. Takashi simply flew into a rage and attempted to attack Machiko after the game.

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Not nearly as bad. He gets to go up.

What makes it even worse is we learn in the second episode that Machiko lied to protect Takashi. The head of the arbiters, Nona, even suggests Decim may have mistakenly sent her to the void. The situation is smoothed over with a simple “everyone makes mistakes” and an encouragement to take the situation to heart.

Whoops, sent a soul to hell on accident. Oh, well…

Read the rest of this entry

Celestial Method Episode 5: Hardened Hearts

I have the same routine each week.  I watch an episode of Celestial Method (Sora no Method), and for 90% of the episode, I tell myself that I should drop the show.  I’m not particularly attached to any of the characters.  I find some of them annoying.  And there’s nothing particularly unique about the series.  And then, in the last few minutes, the show does something to keep me hanging on for another episode.  And in this one, I got two for one – a nice ending and one that alleviated one my my biggest frustrations – Yuzuki’s stubbornness.

And yet, it’s that ridiculous, annoying, irrational pride that Yuzuki has which has really made me think about my own heart.  I try to place her attitude (and Shione’s) as typical middle-school angst.  And that it is – but it also probably reflects us better than we think.

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Is there anyone in your life that you’re on bad terms with?  Is there any irrational anger you have toward someone or something?  Have you resolved these issues?  I bet if you think hard enough, you’ll be able to find an example that you may not be proud of.

And so, we’re sometimes more like middle schoolers than we admit.

Read the rest of this entry

1,000 Posts!

Well…this milestone snuck up on me.

This post is our 1,000th here on Beneath the Tangles!

A little over four years ago, I began Beneath the Tangles as a way of bringing Christian conversation into the anime community.  The blog was obviously quite different at the time – less personal in tone and more overtly religious.  My very first post was dated September 12th, 2010: My So-Called Virtual Life.

That first year was really about finding my way with the blog.  I did several columns (none of which we now continue), engaged anibloggers in a large survey (from which we received some very positive and very negative response), and grew relationships with readers, mostly within that blogging community.

However, over the years, the tone of the blog changed as we found our voice and reached out to a more general audience of anime fans.  I say “we” because the biggest change of all was the addition of co-bloggers, who have now really taken ownership of the blog – developing their own columns, media projects, and generally making their own way.  Here are the my co-bloggers, with their join dates (because I think they’ll get a kick out of seeing those):

1. R86 (October 10, 2011): A friend before he was a co-blogger, R86 is actually the only one of the writers here I’ve met in person (a few of the others have met each other though).  He remains one of my closest friends, and someone who I can go to for advice, about anime or life in general.

1. Goldy (October 10, 2011): Joining at the same time as R86, Goldy brings a lot of anime-related experience to the blog and has a tone to her writing that I really admire – wise, calming, engaging.  I’ve counted on her to really carry the blog a number of times through the years.

3. Murasaki Lynna (October 18, 2011): Lynna joined shortly after our first two additions.  I was glad to have her join because she’s a wonderful writer and her interests reach out to a different audience than the rest of us.  What I found out later is that she’s also a real sparkplug, adding an exciting energy to our group.

4. Zeroe4 (February 28, 2012): Through the years, a little community of Christian anibloggers has developed – and it may have started with us and with Zeroe4, who was doing “Christian aniblogging,” if that’s a category, for a long while before he ended up crossing over to the dark side our blog.  Very sincere and very helpful, I’ve long counted on Zeroe4 to do a variety of projects/posts for us.

5. Hansha (June 14, 2012): Probably no one convicts me as much as Hansha does through her posts.  I depend on her greatly not only for her writing expertise, but also the content she writes and for the sincerity and honesty in which she delivers it (and in which she lives)

6. Kaze (March 18, 2013): What can I say about Kaze? He’s living the life of an otaku – he’s the best source I know for anime-related news. He also brings a unique viewpoint to our blog, one that I think forces us to think outside of our cozy little Christianese ways.

7. Japesland (September 18, 2013): If you started following our the blog over the last year, it might surprise you to find out that this isn’t Japes’ personal blog for how much he writes!  We’ve grown in a lot of ways through the past 12 months, in large part because of Japes’ energy and dedication.  And oh yes, he’s a good friend, too!

On the other side of the screen, there is you, the audience.  Thank you so much for reading along, whether you’re a recent convert or if you’re among the handful that’s been here since near the beginning.  Ultimately, we’re writing for readers – not for ourselves.  We want to engage you in good discussion, whether it’s encouraging you think about these topics we write about on your own or in public through the comments.  I hope we’ve done well the past four years, and that we’ll continue to deliver thought-provoking content for many more posts to come!

Hannes’ Complacency

Throughout the entirety of my Christian life, there has been one thing that holds me back more than any other. One thing that I fear one day will spell some sort of enormous failure in my spiritual walk. That thing is complacency.

Maybe that’s why I felt more sympathy and compassion for Hannes and his initial actions in Attack on Titan than disgust. At the time of the first attack, Hannes lived a life of complacency. He was a soldier, a defender of the wall, and a committed fighter against the titans. A complacent fighter, but committed nonetheless, if that makes sense. Clearly he believed in the fight against the titans as evidenced by his intention to go after them to “ settle a score.” However, when finally in the fray, he found himself…unprepared.

When we first meet Hannes, he’s drunk. Even though he and his comrades are supposed to be guarding the wall in case of an attack, they have been lulled into a false sense of security by peacetime and the monotony of guard duty.

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He laughs off Eren’s scolding him for this, even making a joke that he is probably right about their unpreparedness. But he is, truthfully, convinced that things are pretty much under control and why make more effort than is necessary, right?

I feel like I do this so much in my own life. Read the rest of this entry

I wanna be like you, Tohru!

Throughout anime, there are themes that reflect Christian values. You can see themes of loyalty, service, peacemaking, patience, love and acceptance just to name a few. Out of all the characters in all of the anime I have seen, the one I felt has come closest to what a Christian is supposed to be, or maybe the one I want to be like most, is Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket.

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From her gratefulness, to her constant service mindset, to her unconditional love and acceptance of those around her, whenever I watch Fruits Basket I find myself wishing I would handle situations the way she handles them. It takes a certain amount of bravery and strength to approach life the way Tohru does.

Read the rest of this entry

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