Category Archives: Special Posts

Patreon Drive, Final Day: Tangled Community

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!

Beneath the Tangles Patreon Drive

 

Patreon Drive, Day 2: Anime, Anime, Anime

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!

Beneath the Tangles Patreon Campaign

Patreon Drive! Donate $2 to Support Beneath the Tangles

Dear Readers,

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:

Beneath the Tangles Patreon Drive

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.

Thank you!

Charles

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

Your Handy Dandy Anime Blog Building Guide

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!

aniblogLauren 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.

Requested: Questions About Anime and Religion!

Have you ever heard this one?  Three Christians and an atheist walk into a…

Oh wait.  That’s actually not a joke – it’s our next podcast episode.  At the end of this month, I’ll be joining The Tangles’ hosts, Japes and Sean, and a special guest as we talk about anime, religion, and the intersection between the two.

This is where you come in.  We need your questions to help stimulate discussion for the podcast.  Please leave one or two (or more) below. Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Questions about Christianity, atheism, or anything else related to religion – feel free to get personal if you’d like.
  • Questions religion in anime, whether superficially or thematically

Thanks in advance, all!

Welcome Our New Writers and Contributors to Beneath the Tangles!

Through the years, our website has changed drastically – in tone, audience, message, and design.  Beneath the Tangles is a better site now than it once was, in no small part because of my wonderful team of writers.

That team has now grown to include additional members!  You’ll recognize most of these names – they’ve long been friends to the site, contributing posts, comments, replies, and even lending their voices to our podcast.  And now, you’ll begin to see their names as they post articles, write columns, and participate in features here.

Please welcome our five new writers:

Annalyn – A student and aspiring writer, Annalyn has been aniblogging for four years at her site, Annalyn’s Thoughts.  She’ll bring her very personal writing style to articles and a column here in the coming weeks.

Medieval Otaku – There are few people I know who are wiser than Medieval Otaku, whose vast knowledge and love for classic anime are already displayed on his blog.  He’ll also add a Catholic point of view through his upcoming column.

Michael – The terrific moderator of Gaming and God and a writer at Geeks Under Grace, Michael is fascinated with Japanese video games, which he’ll discuss from a Christian perspective in a new column on our site.

Sean – We’ll all get to know Sean together as he co-hosts The Tangles podcast (he’s our featured guest on the next episode, streaming this Thursday).   I think you’ll feel the same as I have about him, impressed equally by his demeanor and his intellect.

Stardf29 – Like Annalyn, Stardf29 has both guest-written for the blog and been a guest on our podcast.  His unique spin on anime can be found through his prolific aniblog, A Series of Miracles (and now here as well!).

Please welcome Annalyn, Medieval Otaku, Michael, Sean, and Stardf29 to the team! 

Guest Post: Tales of Xillia and Hobbies

Although our focus will almost certainly always be anime, we hope to also delve into other Japanese media here on Beneath the Tangles, such as manga and visual novels. To that end, we’re happy to have gaming blogger Michael of Gaming and God guest for us today, as he jumps into a popular JRPG.

If you’re into JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games), then you need to check out the Tales Of series. They have been making titles for decades, and one of their more recent games (as of this writing) is Tales Of Xillia. The word that comes after “Tales Of” often has nothing to do with the game, so don’t pay it any mind.

Tales of Xillia 1

Milla from Tales of Xillia

Xillia is a game changer in the series. From the story to the battle sequences, it is a game that’s hard to put down! I spent hours at a time playing through this masterpiece, especially enjoying the interaction the characters have with each other.

Character development is always a strong characteristic of most Tales games. The fact that we get to see anime cut scenes (few and far between but they are there) and a lot of voiced over dialogue really helps to connect with them. Instead of reading tons of text, you are treated to many optional conversations throughout the game play and you can see the unique personality of each character come to life. It’s enjoyable to see the two main characters, Jude and Milla, going back and forth with each other. Read the rest of this entry

All You Shining Stars

welcome

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are natural times of reflection for us.  Often against our better judgment, we resolve to make changes in our lives, knowing that our resolutions will most probably fail. But we write these ideas down and commit to them because we know that change is necessary – we can’t live the way we have been.

For 2015, it’s not a resolution I offer you, but a small, digital journey that might help you along with the path you’re on in life.  Artist turtlequeen and I have developed an online blog/devotional that we hope will inspire you to wander “away from the things that pull us down and toward an infinite love that cannot be earned – only received.”

We will periodically post devotionals about love, grace, and other matters of the art, accompanied by turtlequeen’s wonderful manga-style art.

If you feel drawn toward something more and the need to change in 2015, I hope you’ll consider following along with our blog and taking us with you along on your journey.

Check Out Our New Banner!

2014 was a year of transformation for Beneath the Tangles. While our emphasis remains on blogging anime, we’ve looked toward other topics and mediums as we seek to engage our readers in all sorts of Japanese-related topics from our unique perspective.  For instance, you’ve hopefully listened to our monthly podcast and you may have tuned in to our live stream (more from that very soon, by the way).

To reflect these shifts, we’ve added a new banner – our first original one as it were.  I sought assistance from Genevieve of PandaPad.Com, having some familiarity with her wonderful artwork, and she agreed to donate her time and abilities.  The wonderful banner above is the result.  In Genevieve’s words, “It represents the continuous spiritual battle to cut off the sometimes attractive yet entangling sin in a believer’s life.”

Thank you so much, Genevieve!  And another thanks, too, to Marina, who developed the banners we used for so many years.

If you’d like to check out more of Genevieve’s art, check out these her sites below:

website | facebook | twitter | deviantart

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