Category Archives: Special Posts
A pretty significant anniversary for Beneath the Tangles has come and gone. As of September 12th, this blog is officially five years old! We’ve come a very long way since my first post on the site, as I tried to establish a brand new, unique presence on the web.
I’ve reminisced and reflected on changes for the blog a number of times in the past, so I’ll spare you today. However, I do want to thank our readers, especially those who’ve been with us for months or years, whether you comment or not. Your mere presence is encouraging. We write for you here, as opposed to simply getting our thoughts out for ourselves, so you are absolutely necessary to us.
I also want to encourage those who follow us or support our values and beliefs to consider become a patron of our blog. Any donation would be helpful, though we ask for $2 a month. This small donation is multiplied when added to others and under our careful spending to spread our blog to a larger audience.
Thank you again, and here’s to another five years!
We’re doing something fun today with the blog – I’ve swapped writing duties for the day with another editor! This article is a guest post by Allison Baron, the managing editor of Area of Effect magazine at Geekdom House. It’s a wonderful piece that I hope you’ll read (and read more about Allison following the article). Meanwhile, I’ve moved off the trodden anime path to write about one of my favorite childhood movies over at Geekdom House – check it out!
For most people, myself included, getting old isn’t something to look forward to.
Sure, I loved the idea of being an adult when I was ten years old and no one listened to my opinion, but now that I’m getting older? I’m only in my twenties now, but I don’t like the idea of bones cracking when I get up or finding grey hairs on my head in the future. I don’t like getting queasy on roller coasters when I used to be able to ride the loopiest tilt-a-whirl with gusto. And still no one listens to my opinion, so what’s the upside?
To Sophie Hatter, being cursed with old age (literally) is probably the best thing that could have happened to her.
In Howl’s Moving Castle, Sophie is a young woman who works at her mother’s hat shop. She is resigned to working long hours, never speaking her mind and rarely having fun.
Then, one day, a witch puts a curse on her. Suddenly, Sophie is an old hag, creaking joints and all. But, after some expected expressions of shock, Sophie doesn’t cry, hide, or let despair take over. Instead, she embraces her newfound retirement and, like Bilbo Baggins before her, sets out on an adventure. Interestingly enough, Sophie seems much freer and happier than she used to be in her new predicament. I guess being transformed from a shy girl into a stubborn old woman who won’t take no for an answer does that to you. Whether she’s ignoring Howl’s whining or bullying a fire demon into cooking bacon and eggs for her, the old lady’s sass is something to behold.
“This isn’t so bad now, is it. You’re still in pretty good shape, and your clothes finally suit you,” Sophie says after being transformed.
Though she does complain now and then (“Why do you get so cold when you’re old? I’m fatter than ever, but the wind blows right through me!”), she finds peace in her old age, something that had escaped her before.
It is Sophie’s selflessness that makes her one of my favourite heroines of all time. Her faults, in fact, lie mainly in thinking too little of herself. Through making friends and adopting a new family, she learns that other people care about her for who she is, not how old she is, and that she has immense value as a person. Old age doesn’t stop Howl, Markl, and Calcifer from caring about her.
It’s with sorrow that we bid adieu to Hansha, one of our longest tenured writers on Beneath the Tangles, who is stepping down from aniblogging. I’m thankful to have grabbed onto Hansha and her skills at just the right time, during a period when her interest in anime and manga was thriving. We’ll miss her, but certainly wish her continued blessings in her life away from our blog.
One of the things I’ll miss most about Hansha is her kindness and honesty. I think this warm, Christian voice really radiated through in her writings. It’s hard to select her best from the past 3+ years – all her articles are excellent – so here’s just a random smattering of some of her entries I would suggest you peruse:
Good luck, Hansha, and take care!
Last month, we conducted our first ever Patreon Drive for Beneath the Tangles to raise funds in further developing the site and increasing awareness of the blog. We’re currently in the planning process for these projects with some expected transitions and fund expenditures to occur later in 2015.
In the meantime, we would appreciate it if your readers would consider becoming a patron of our blog. We’re asking for a contribution of $2 a month, which seems small but makes a sizable impact on what we’re able to do with our blog. We of course welcome larger donations as well. Please visit the link below to find out more information regarding donations:
We’d also like to thank those who have already given! Please consider visiting our patrons’ sites and accounts:
Tier 2 Partners
- stardf29 [A Series of Miracles | Ask.fm | Twitter]
- Tommy [Anime Bowl | Twitter]
- Zeroe4 [Instagram | Twitter]
Tier 1 Partners
To be listed among our giving partners, please contribute a monthly gift through Patreon.
While our aim is to reach out to readers of all faiths (or none at all) with articles about anime and Japanese culture that spark discussion about spiritual issues, we also want to serve as a resource particularly for Christian audiences. As such, we’ve developed recommendations pages for Christians interested in anime series and movies and in visual novels. And today, we’re proud to launch a new page providing manga recommendations for Christian readers:
As always, our recommendations are not based on series that explicitly talk about the Christian faith, feature Christian characters, or even wholly support Christian values. We applaud series that point readers toward scriptural truths, even as they are presented apart from a Christian context. As such, these series feature topics like grace, sacrificial love, and humility. And with an understanding that many Christians are not as willing to dive into all sorts of manga as our writers are, we’re also cognizant of content that some may find offensive in this material, which helped guide our choices (and which we note in our recs).
Take a look at our page if you’re looking for recommendations, and please join in the discussion by mentioning your own recs for Christian readers in the comments section for future visitors to peruse through as well.
Today is the final day of our Patreon Drive. Thank you to those who have supported so far – your contributions have set the stage for greater development at Beneath the Tangles as we seek to deliver stronger content to a wider audience.
Ultimately, our goal here to establish genuine community on the blog – no small feat seeing as we occupy a very niche portion of the aniblogosphere and face head-on the controversial topic of religion. But in the years of this blog, a feeling of community has grown, and I know I see our readers – those visible and those not – as vital parts of our site, making Beneath the Tangles work. It’s through this collective that we’ll be able to move in readers’ lives, using anime as a medium to transform thinking and how we view both what we watch and how we view faith.
If you haven’t given yet, please consider donating – we’re asking for just $2 per month. And thank you for all your support, financial or otherwise!
When I first began Beneath the Tangles, we were 100% editorial-based – I didn’t do any episode-by-episode posts of series. In fact, I didn’t even do my editorials on current series. In 2010, I wasn’t keeping up with current anime. Instead, I was writing about past shows that I had a lot of affection for, like Cowboy Bebop and Tenchi Muyo.
But as writers joined who were, frankly, far more into anime than I am, and as I got into the swing of watching new series, we began posting articles that were a lot more current. A lot of you may have joined us, in fact, because of our weekly posts on Your Lie in April, Mekaku City Actors, Zankyou no Terror, or any of dozens of other shows we’ve blog episodically over the years.
So while our focus remains on our unique content, we remain relevant by discussing shows in the here and now. We also provide preview posts to help you make choices in the jungle of new series each season, and break down completed series through a collection of review posts each season.
Our intent is continue to deliver content that meets our mission, but that also connects with you, the readers, and your interests each season. Please consider helping us continue to craft great blog posts and build community by donating to our site. We’re asking for a $2 a month commitment from you. Check out our Patreon site and please spread the word!
When I established Beneath the Tangles almost five years ago, it was with a singular goal in mind – to engage anime fans with a different sort of analysis, bringing in Christian concepts and ideas to how we can interpret anime. It was nothing unique – Christian Anime Alliance had long existed by this point and a number of sites had attempted to do the same in various ways, but there was certainly a gap that a consistent blog delving into this idea might thrive.
As the years have passed, the blogosphere has changed. Many of the old-time bloggers, including a throng of those that began their own aniblogs in 2010, remain (and even thrive). But there are also now a number of blogs with a similar mission to ours, establishing a community that I think is making an interesting impact on western otakudom. It’s been an encouragement to partner, officially or otherwise, with dozens of other writers and editors who are examining anime and manga from a Christian lens.
But the community goes beyond Christian anime fans – and that, too, has also been a primary goal of Beneath the Tangles. While I love discussing anime and religion with those that share my faith, I enjoy it even more when we engage people of others faiths (or not at all), and even better, when they become part of the genuine community we’re trying to establish here. Beneath the Tangles was never meant to be a blog – it was meant to be a destination where our writers and readers can establish a most unique kind of interfaith community, one in which we bond over Japanese cartoons and matters of faith.
As we continue to push ourselves to deliver stronger content, we need you, our faithful readers, to continue to help. This week, Beneath the Tangles will be moving forward with a Patreon drive. Our goals are both modest and powerful – we ask that you consider donating $2 a month to us to help us improve our site and bring it to larger audiences. We’ll use your funds in those two ways – 1) to aid in developing stronger content by making purchases related to site development and 2) to bring our message to a larger readership through active marketing.
We ask that if you’ve been blessed by our content, that you’ll strongly consider giving. That small amount can help us greatly, and certainly anything more than that will be helpful as well (and could lead to goodies). Please follow the link below to check out our fundraiser:
And if you’re unable to give at this time, as I know many of you are, I hope you’ll keep us in mind in the future, and for the time being that you’ll help spread the message about this drive and our site by hitting one of those social media icons below and lettings other anime fans know that a community like ours is eager to engage with them.
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.
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
One of my visions for this blog that’s developed over recent years has been to develop a series of posts that help new anibloggers get going. Developing an anime blog is fun, but it can be frustrating if you don’t know how to build an audience and how to improve as a blogger. To compound the problem, there isn’t necessarily a go-to source on the Internet that will take you step-by-step in aniblogging building. Unfortunately, my posts for this series are sitting in my draft folder, a ghost town of articles in various stages that never come to fruition.
But if you’re a new aniblogger, or thinking about going into anime blogging, you’re in luck!
Lauren Orsini, a wonderful writer and friend to our blog, has just published an ebook entitled, Build Your Anime Blog: How to Get Started, Stand Out, and Make Money Writing About What You Love. Lauren is a professional journalist and a wonderful aniblogger – she’s the perfect author to guide any of you that have an interest in aniblogging.
Lauren’s book provides the basic ins and outs of anime blogging – it’s a great one-stop resource. But its value goes even deeper through the twelve interviews she conducted with other anibloggers. And, you guessed it, she selected me among the interviewees, so if you want to know a little bit about the goings-on behind the scenes here, and the method to my madness, it might be worth a read.
I highly encourage you all to check it out and support Lauren while purchasing a terrific, terrific resource! Build Your Anime Blog is available now through Amazon.