Category Archives: Personal

Faith’s Power in Dream Eater Merry

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.

Alice Walker

Dream Eater Merry takes place in the real world and the dream world. The dream world is inhabited by dream demons who come over to the real world by using humans as vessels while they visit the world during their sleep or by opening up a daydream.

Once a dream demon takes a vessel, they cannot return to the dream world and the human cannot be separated from them without dire consequences. This is because dream demons don’t just enter the dreams that humans experience each night but into the dreams they have about their lives, their jobs, their relationships, their future, etc. The dream demon connects to this part of the human and rests in that power.

de 1 Read the rest of this entry

Welcome Our Newest Writer, Casey!

Do you know the saying, “God works in mysterious ways?”  I really felt that to be true a few weeks ago when Casey Covel (Geeks Under Grace) and I started chatting about her taking a role with Beneath the Tangles.  What I haven’t told anyone until now was that her work was at the forefront of my mind the days before she reached out to me, and I wondered if I should invite her to join even before we spoke.  Coincidence, possibly, but I think of it as something more divinely arranged.

In short, Casey has joined our staff here at Beneath the Tangles, and we are thrilled!  Check out our interview below and please welcome her to the community!

TWWK: How did you become a fan of anime and manga?

Casey: Growing up, anime influenced a lot of the media I enjoyed, primarily my video games, many of which had anime-inspired art styles (Fire Emblem, Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Ace Attorney, etc.). I always found the anime art style attractive because it captured… something… that American cartoons did not–emotions, drama, original designs, bold storytelling, and other assorted wonders I couldn’t put a name on back then. When I was a child, I began watching Pokemon, but was quickly told not to by my parents (this was back when churches were cracking down on the Pokemon craze, and my parents were likely being cautious). It wasn’t until several years later that I actually began watching anime again, and to be honest I’m grateful that I waited that long. I believe anime is a beautiful medium of entertainment and art, but I don’t think I was spiritually mature enough to enjoy it until a few years ago.

cutsceneaddict cosplay Large e-mail view

TWWK: What are your favorite types or genres of anime/manga? How about favorite series?

Casey: I’m a bit of a psychology/philosophy buff, so I particularly enjoy anime that challenges me to think differently or to question my values. Watching anime that asks hard questions or acts as an animated microcosm for a social issue is like consuming a delicious tray of assorted sushi to me. Death Note–despite its storytelling flaws–is my absolute favorite series thus far. I also enjoyed the examination of dark issues in Attack on Titan and the bittersweet, poetic charm of Your Lie in April. Currently, I’m going on adventures with Vash in Trigun… and developing a craving for doughnuts for some reason. Read the rest of this entry

Gaming With God: The Kingdom Of Hearts

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Xion, Roxas and Axel (from left to right). The whole gang enjoying the sunset.

One of the greatest games of all time has been the Kingdom Hearts series. Disney and Square Enix came together to create with themes of light and darkness, finding your purpose, and the bond of friendship, which have never been more prevalent than in this series. The title in this series that I will be highlighting is the lesser known Kingdom Hearts 358/2 days. It came out on the Nintendo DS and is now available as part of the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 HD Remix collection, so I was finally able to get my hands on it. The downside is that the game is completely done in cut-scenes so you can’t play it, but with the HD graphics and story line didn’t disappoint.

The interaction between Axel, Roxas and Xion (the main characters) is such a touching yet sad story that every Kingdom Heart fan must experience. Learning about trust, friendship and why we are here are topics that are highlighted throughout. For those that are unfamiliar with these characters and the game, let me give you the details.

Sora, the protagonist of the series, has fallen into a deep sleep to recover his power and strength. During that time, his memory has become Roxas who looks very much like Sora. Xion is what Sora remembers of his friend Kairi and Roxas is Sora’s personal memories, so they are both just representations of Sora. The antagonists, Organization XIII, created Xion to absorb and copy Sora’s power by being close to Roxas. In this way, they would be able to gain the power of the Keyblade which is the ultimate weapon in the Kingdom Hearts world.

Instead of going exactly as Organization XIII planned, Xion ended up developing her own memories and became friends with Roxas and Axel, members of the organization. Together they would eat sea salt ice cream at the top of a tower and relax, watching the sun set over the town. Little by little, Xion began taking away power from Roxas and they were both confused as to what was happening. They would be in and out of deep sleep and would have flashbacks of Sora’s own memories, not knowing who he was or why they were having these dreams.

As anyone would, they began seeking answers as to who they really were, what Organization XIII’s plans are, and who Sora truly is. Xion decided to leave and find Namine, the witch who was protecting Sora during his recovery process. Namine and Riku, Sora’s close friend, revealed individually to Xion what was happening to her and how she needed to become one with Sora once again so he can awaken. Not knowing what was the right decision to make, she leaves to face Axel who was pursuing her but eventually gives up her life and her memories are released back to Sora.

Xion reminded me of every human being searching, seeking, and desiring to know their reason for living. The most widely sought out question in humanity is why am I here. God has an answer though, and we find it in changing the way we think. Read the rest of this entry

Behind the Convention: Voice actors are people too.

Note: This article was written by Goldy, and is being posted here on her behalf.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about my experience staffing my local anime convention, but every year before never seemed right until this year.

I will give the disclaimer than I am volunteer staff and also a self taught manager of guest relations for 6 years (started out as a mere guest liaison, but that’s when I did the job by myself, the con was smaller, and I didn’t have massive lines of fans trying to trample me to hug their favorite voice actor). At present, I have a staff of 3-5 people, but always need more. Good help is hard to find because guest (and fan) wrangling is no easy task.

I won’t be naming names because even though I’ve never had to sign any contract to maintain secrecy or anything, I think it’s stupid to share information that a person was kind enough to share with you in trust. And really, I think it’s brave to trust someone you barely know with your well being for a weekend. You are trusting a person to keep you safe from people who are too excited at hearing your voice to think straight and won’t stop to say, “Hey, maybe I shouldn’t try to rush at this voice actor I like after their panel and try to hug them and shove random gifts at them when they are probably really tired and need food. After all, there are times and places for autographs and chats” and instead come rushing at you like you’re made of gold or something.

Because let me tell you, there is nothing more terrifying than that lack of security. Even if you are a repeat guest, you are in a strange place, with strange people, with only your beautiful voice keeping you alive, but it’s also the cause of your stress at times because people love it too much.

Not to say that voice actors (VAs) dislike hugs or gifts or talking to their fans. In fact, a majority of them appreciate their fans more than most famous people out there and looooove to talk with them and sign stuff for them. But it’s always nice for fans to keep their heads when they’re around someone famous and be considerate of the fact that they are human too.

Granted, many VAs are also too nice most of the time. That’s why I have to be the mean person or, on my good days, a diplomat who has to explain to a crying girl why I can’t just call up their favorite VA to get a hug and an autograph because she missed all the sessions earlier. On rare occasions, at the request of the guests, I’ll sometimes do these things, but if you start giving someone an inch, 70 more people will grab that mile from you.

So that’s my job, roughly. To protect, serve, take a bullet for, and cause diversions (I once told a dumb joke to let a guest sneakily escape through the back at the end of their panel. I’m pretty sure those fans are after my head now) for the many VA guests we have the honor of bringing to our humble convention. It’s truly a learning process for me, which can be fairly frustrating for various reasons, but does improve slowly but surely every year.

The convention growing at a fast rate each year is my biggest challenge. We get big guests more often, but we still don’t act like a big con. Massive autograph lines are a new thing to us. Having guests charge for autographs are even more of a foreign idea. I remember when a guest looked at me weird when I said we didn’t have a green room (we do now, but aren’t used to it, yet). Admittedly, I have gotten better at dodging and weaving through over-excited fans with my guest(s) in tow, trying to get to an elevator or stairs (sometimes I hate the 12th floor). It still breaks my heart to cap autograph lines and turn people away, but I have to do it unless someone really wants a 5 hour autograph line.

I get lucky usually, though. Or blessed. Most of the guests we have are easy going, fun, and are able to dodge situations easily if they get too caught up with swarming fans. I would like to give credit to our con-goers as well, who, for the most part, aren’t too insane with obsession over their favorite VA.

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OreGairu 2, Episode 10: You Change, I Change

So many thing happened in episode 10 of OreGairu 2 – the conclusion of one long arc and a transition into another.  Too much happened, frankly – I had to rewatch it to absorb it all.  And for an episode where so many plotlines moved along, it’s interesting to note that character development did occur, perhaps most of all for Iroha.

As Hachiman, Yui, Yukino, and Iroha ride home after the theme park get-together, the underclassmen lays out her heart to Hiki.  And here she notes that the catalyst for her confession to Hayato was Hachiman himself.  She overheard his literal cry for genuine relationship when speaking with Yui and Yukino, and decided that she, too, wanted that.  And so, she made a move – something very unlike Iroha, who crows a lot but is often unwilling to put herself on the line.

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Take responsibility, senpai.

 

Hachiman is surprised that Iroha overheard his tearful plea, and maybe also that she reacted to his words at all.  But he shouldn’t be – after all, words and actions from those we respect or trust have the power to give us courage.  In fact, the actions don’t even need to come from a place of respect – something those actions give us the power to put ourselves on the line, no matter from whom they come.

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When TWWK Was There: Going to See Studio Ghibli’s Last Film

On a weekend in the fall of 2002, I went with a group of friends to watch The Ring.  I didn’t want to go (I’ll admit, horror movies scare me to death), but I went along anyway – and thank goodness I did, because playing at the same cinema, and consequently the movie I ditched my friends to watch instead, was Spirited Away.  It was the first anime I watched in theaters, and it remains one of my favorite movie viewing experiences.

I couldn't find my ticket stub (though it would have been for The Ring anyway - way to support the industry!). I did, however, find a stub for this classic.

I couldn’t find my ticket stub (though it would have been for The Ring anyway – way to support the industry!). I did, however, find a stub for this classic.* It wasn’t even worth spelling correctly.

I might say that watching that marvelous film hooked me on Studio Ghibli, but to be honest, I was already infatuated before that. Two years prior, Princess Mononoke introduced me to non-kiddy anime in a forceful, evocative way, and led me down the trail of wonderful Ghibli movies – I had seen most of their catalog even before I went to this film, and I considered myself an adoring Miyazaki fan.

So why is it that as When Marnie Was There, perhaps Studio Ghibli’s last film, reaches my city, I’m not particularly excited about going to see it?

Read the rest of this entry

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.

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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

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