Category Archives: Buddhism

Anime Today: Life is a Cycle

Note: This article covers episode twelve of Mushishi. It approaches the episode vaguely in such a way so as to avoid spoilers, but be warned if that is something that concerns you.

Perhaps the most basic difference in Western versus Eastern thought is the view of the significance or destination of life. I’m sure you’ve heard the frames through which Buddhism and Hinduism operate, at least to some simple degree. In Hinduism, the soul (or the Atman) is trapped in the cycle of reincarnation known as Samsara. Buddhism follows some of the same conventions, though (at least from my perception) the execution is much more complicated. Instead of a single consciousness traveling through the same cycle over and over again, a sort of collective stream travels through a similar convention until one reaches Nirvana, or total annihilation.*

Judaism and Christianity (and Island, I assume, though perhaps someone can confirm this for me) operate under a different notion: that God is leading His people to a definite conclusion. Time is not in a state of perpetual repetition, but traveling decidedly forward.

However, just as Buddhism is not as simple as people like to make it out to be, often in erroneously assuming that Buddhism states that people reincarnate their consciousnesses directly a la Hinduism, when the truth is that the Buddhism proposes something much more complex, Judeo-Christianity is similarly difficult to pin down. And it is because of this that I was heavily reminded of aspects of biblical accounts and extra-biblical history surrounding it that reflect cycles in episode three of Mushishi.

mushishi 2a

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Something More: Serve Like a Librarian, Arrogant Aldnoah, and Doraemon Temple

The fall season is in full swing!  But the articles below are largely for series from seasons past (not that it’s a bad thing to reflect on shows we’ve already finished).

Frank has been commenting on Hanamayata all season long, and concludes with a post covering Christian themes in the final episodes and the season as a whole. [A Series of Miracles]

Frank also extols the virtue of servanthood, as demonstrated in episode 2 of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. [2]

Although not specifically about anime, I”d be remiss to leave out Taylor’s recent post on Legend of Korra and facets of Christian spirituality. [Taylor Ramage's Blog]

Continuing a trend of mixing anime with Buddhism, Doraemon has been painted onto an ancient Thai temple. [Kotaku]

Rob reviews season one of Aldnoah.zero, and adds in some commentary on the value of humility. [Geeks Under Grace]

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.

Something More: Good Librarians and the Good Shepherd, SAO Friendship, and Moe Buddhist Girl Figures

A new season of anime is here!  Although it may be too early to judge it, at the very least, there’s a lot of excitement in the air for new shows, with fewer sequels and more originals this season, including one that Frank talks about below in our lead-off article this week:

Frank finds a lesson of how Christians should imitate the Good Shepherd in the opening episode of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. [A Series of Miracles]

Rob finds that episode 14 of Sword Art Online provides some insight into friendship from a Christian perspective. [Christian Anime Review]

He also looks at the roles of the church body as he reviews episode six of Sailor Moon Crystal. [2]

D.M. Dutcher calls Canon “an interesting shoujo manga with some Christian-friendly themes.” [Cacao, put down he shovel!]

Casey dives into volume one of the Attack on Titan manga, providing a review that’s helpful for discerning Christians. [Geeks Under Grace]

And finally, I forgot to post a link to this article a few weeks ago, but it’s still worth sharing – the moe temple is now selling figures of moe Buddhist anime girls. Yep. [RocketNews24]

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.

Something More: Catholicism in Baby Steps, Religion of Eureka Seven, and Idolizing K-On!

What a week for spiritual articles in the blogosphere!  Check out the abundance of posts linked below, a number from bloggers and writers who don’t usually write about religion:

Josiah Harrist beautifully weaves his experiences as the child of missionaries with his viewings of many Studio Ghibli classics. [Christ and Pop Culture]

M.S. O’Brien looks into the Catholic character of Ogata from Baby Steps! [Aliens in This World]

Frank continues to analyze Barakamon from a Christian perspective, finding a number of such themes in episodes seven and eight. [A Series of Miracles]

Frank also looks a yuri-slanted friendships in anime and considers them comparable to the “heavenly friendship” between David and Jonathan of the Old Testament. [2]

R042 dives into the ideas about religion in the world of Eureka Seven in analysis of episode 40. [Ideas Without End]

Medieval Otaku finds the simplicity, tenacity, joy, and dependence of Jinbee in Mushibugyo a model of sainthood. [Medieval Otaku]

Rob uses a picture of a K-On! figma collection to ask questions about idolatry and hobby collecting. [Geeks Under Grace]

Annalyn looks to Fruits Basket, Kuroko’s Basketball, One Week Friends, and Dear Boys for examples of characters who demonstrates a selfless, biblical love. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

Ogiue Maniax looks to a religious example to illustrate the arrogance of the Orbital Knights in Aldnoah.zero. [Ogiue Maniax]

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.

Something More: Less Game More Life, Ranma Devalues Akane, and Good Samaritan Art Online

This week was full of great articles about spirituality – many, as usual, about Christianity, but note the first link below, from academic and frequent convention panelist, Charles Dunbar, which focuses on Shinto and Buddhist traditions.

Charles Dunbar investigates A Letter to Momo and discusses the spiritual idea of our loved ones watching over us after death. [Study of Anime]

Frank sees Seishuu’s actions and thoughts as an example of pride, humility, and fear in episodes three and four of Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Michael looks at No Game, No Life and takes a Christian perspective with gaming addiction. [Gaming and God]

He also examines the idea of doing ministry at conventions. [2]

Annalyn digs into Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and the reason why human life is valuable. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

She also looks specifically at the beauty of women in her essay on Akane from Ranma 1/2. [2]

Rob continues is Christian-centered anime reviews, looking at the idea of forgiveness in Sword Art Online II, episode four. [Christian Anime Review]

He also draws a really neat parallel to the Christian idea of helping others in episode four of SAO II. [2]

Medieval Otaku digs into the complex question of the morality of Kisara’s vengeance in Black Bullet. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, Josh presents a little baptismal humor involving Sailor Moon. [Res Studiorum et Ludorum]

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.  Thanks this week to Don for pointing me toward Josh’s post!

Terror in Resonance, Episode 2: You Reap What You Sow

While the first episode of Terror in Resonance (Zankyou no Terror) introduced us to and focused on the terrorists, Nine and Twelve, along with their new accomplice, Lisa, episode two largely moves the focus toward the police.  It’s an interesting shift, especially with the terrorists playing good bad guys and the police playing the role of bad good guys.

Little by littke, Shinichiro Watanabe begins to unravel a story while burdening the audience with evermore questions, particularly as they have to do with Nine and Twelve’s pasts – who are they?  What was done to them?  Why?  Who were all involved?

And whatever “VON” is, it’s quite shady, judging from the terrified looks on the faces of various characters in-the-know.  They’ve done something mightily wrong.  And this episode is all about showing that the police – and perhaps larger forces involved – have it coming to them.  The variation of the Riddle of the Sphinx emphasizes the judgment the guilty must pay, ultimately ending in judgement upon the police at the end of the episode.

Toji Hisami 12

I spy a favorite trope – awful things done to little kids. (Art by みずのえ@スタンプ, Pixiv ID 44726975)

These ideas of justice, revenge, and karma are found in heavy doses in Watanabe’s works (think of almost all the episodes involving Spike and Vicious in Cowboy Bebop).  In fact, they figure prominently in many anime – no surprise seeing how deeply ingrained these ideas are in Japanese culture, history, and religion.  Of course the bad guys must pay for their evil deeds at the hands (or on behalf) of those that suffer.  That’s justice.

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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. 

Something More: Butt Attack Punisher Christian Magical Girl

Spiritual-related posts have been sparse the last few weeks, and it’s the same for this one as well, but I do have a few interesting articles to link you to.

D.M. Dutcher laments the lack of entertainment written for Christians, though he saw a glimpse of what might have been in a few scenes of Butt Attack Punisher Girl Gautaman. That was before it all went downhill.  Here’s his description of that OVA’s plot [Cacao, put down the shovel!]:

Mari is a Christian who is about to attend the Perfect Religion Academy, a place where the religious members of tomorrow are trained. She befriends Saori, a Hindu girl who becomes her roomate. Unfortunately she gets kidnapped by the evil Black Buddha cult, and there’s only one way she can get her back.

As she prays for help, none other than Buddha appears. He gives her a sacred sumo belt that turns her into said Gautaman. Now she has to use her butt to defeat the evil Black Buddha cult, the members of which include an evil newspaper deliveryman, a sumo wrestler wearing a Darth Vader mask, six very ugly freshmen, a panty-exposing samurai, and more…

Rob’s compares the love of Livius and Nike have for each other in The World is Still Beautiful to that of Jesus for us, illustrating it with the parable of the lost sheep. [Christian Anime Review]

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. 

Something More: Buddhist x Buddhist, Noragami Catholicism, and Manga in a Buddhist Temple

Our site is of course focused on finding Christian allusions and themes in anime, and oftentimes this article finds the same in other sites doing the same kind of work.  And so I’m glad that this week’s links provide a little more diversity when it comes to spiritual conversation and anime:

Annalyn explores Buddhist and other religious allusions in recent episodes of Hunter x Hunter. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

An exhibition of Buddhist art by manga artists is on display at Zojoji Temple in Tokyo’s Minato Ward. [The Asahi Shimbun]

Medieval Otaku reposted an article from March in which iblessall outlines a Catholic viewing of Noragami. [Life, and Anime]

Rob continues his Christian-centric reviews, digging this week into Brynhildr in the Darkness [Christian Anime Review], The World Is Still Beautiful [2], and One Week Friends [3].

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. 

 

 

Something More: V-Day Chocolates for Anime Jesus, Hell in Hoozuki no Reitetsu, and Yuri for Christians

Using Sakura Trick, Frank probes the question, “Is it good for Christians to watch yuri?” [A Series of Miracles]

Jesus of Saint Young Men places third among characters that women would give chocolates to on Valentine’s Day.  Here’s how D.M. Dutcher sees it [Cacao, put down the shovel!]:

“D-dont get me wrong Jesus,” she said, twirling her twin-tail nervously in one finger, “It’s not like I made this for you or anything…”

Dutcher also takes a look at Rescue Me, Mave-chan, from a Christian perspective. [Cacao]

In a third article, Dutcher gives Christians warnings against the trap trope. [Cacao]

John Samuel just watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion, and offers some great analysis, including a mention of one character circumventing free will. [Pirates of the Burley Griffin]

The Medieval Otaku looks to the gospels to help explain the character of Esdese from Akama ga Kiru. [Medieval Otaku]

Jonathan explores the mythology of Hoozuki no Reitetsu. [FunBlog]

Meanwhile, among othres, Rob reviews recent episodes of The Pilot’s Love SongChuunibyou, Nobunagun, Golden Timeand Engaged to the Unidentified.

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.