Charlotte, Episode 3: Dragging the Dead

Don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.

In episode three of Charlotte, we’re introduced to a delinquent named Sho, who is unable to let go of Misa, a recently deceased girl who takes over the consciousness of her little sister’s body. At the end of the episode, after Nao and the rest of the student council help Misa get her idol sister out of a difficult situation, the deceased girl says goodbye to her former comrade with those words I quoted above.

The episode wasn’t particularly emotional to me. I can’t help but compare Charlotte to Angel Beats!, where it’s characters suffered through traumatizing experiences (Yuri and Iwasawa come to mind), and the situations we’ve seen in the last two episodes can’t compare. But then again, I haven’t experienced the death of anyone intimately close to me, and I wonder if the episode was more meaningful to people who have, and particularly when hearing those words – “don’t keep dragging the dead into your life.”

charlotte 3a Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Wolfwood Gospel, Fairy Tail Vulnerability, and Ecchi for Christians

Ah, July…the days of summer heat, fireworks, and of course, new summer series! There’s a lot to be excited about this summer season, including some of the series talked about below, including one whose light novel is getting a translation in English!

Nicholas D. Wolfwood’s final, moving scene in Trigun gives us the story of his redemption, and the gospel message for all. [Old Line Elephant]

Humility and an understanding that in loneliness, we are not alone, can help us through challenges, as demonstrated in Sore ga Seiyuu! [UEM]

JekoJeko also jumps into the question of how Christians should approach ecchi imagery in anime, using Kill la Kill and ME!ME!ME! to illustrate. [2]

As mentioned in the article above, prayer can certainly help when deciding what anime to consume and which to skip. [Anime Revolution]

In his celebration of Seraph of the End, Medieval Otaku mentions the atheistic view of the series’ vampires. [Medieval Otaku]

Speaking of Medieval Otaku, wonder what he’s been up to lately? Read all about it, including his jump into Angel Cop, which seems to make more obvious religious analogies than most series. [2]

In Charlotte, Yuu thinks no one knows his secret…but of course, Nao knows. And such discovery happens to us all – if not publicly, then between us and One other. [Christian Anime Review]

Unclear about what the characters mean when they say things in OreGairu? You’re not the only one. Perhaps they should have taken the apostle James’ advice on communication. [2]

Cana’s story in Fairy Tail demonstrates how becoming vulnerable can lead to transformation. [Geeks Under Grace]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

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

Charlotte Episode 2: More Than Human

Episode 2 of Charlotte gives us more insight into these adolescents with special abilities.  We find that the entire school in which Yu is now enrolled is comprised of students with special abilities or with the potential to become mutants.  It’s like a Japanese version of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.

Nightcrawler, Cipher, and...Psylocke?

Nightcrawler, Cipher, and…Psylocke?

We also discover that like in X-Men, the school is not only necessary for the students’ emotional well-being, but to keep them safe.  Government scientists want to experiments on these kids (reminiscent of Zankyou no Terror), and began such experimentation with Nao’s own brother.  They want to learn from and use these children because they’re not just humans – they’re something more.

The way the scientists are presented as so cold and morally bankrupt made me wonder if Japanese audiences are more likely to accept them as the enemy than American audiences are.  We have our own series with such scientists, but they are often shown as the exception, where Charlotte seems to indicate they are the rule.  Maybe this is because of the experimentation done by Japanese scientists during World War II, and especially by their allies, the Nazis, led by Josef Mengele.  Maybe Japanese audiences more readily accept the possibility that human hearts are full of deviation. Read the rest of this entry

Between the Panels: Keith Shadis’ Extra-ordinary Worth

I’m Casey, known to the cosplay and geek realm as Cutsceneaddict, and I’m the newest writer here at Beneath the Tangles. “Between the Panels” is my monthly column on manga, so I encourage you to read along with me as I draw spiritual applications from your favorite series. I assure you that if I can analyze something, I will over-analyze it, though I’ll do my best to keep things within that comfortable 1,500-word range. In any case, find a cozy couch, grab a box of Pocky, and enjoy!

divider 2

I told myself I would write about any franchise besides Attack on Titan for my first “Between the Panels” entry, primarily because my first guest post at Beneath the Tangles covered the events of chapter 69. Naruto, Your Lie in April, Kingdom Hearts, Trigun—I considered writing about any one of these franchises. But, lo and behold, that fated time of month rolled around, and with the release of a new chapter in the Attack on Titan storyline, I found myself struck with a tsunami of inspiration that I couldn’t keep bottled up.

For better or worse, here it is:

Attack on Titan spoilers below! If you haven’t “read ahead” via the manga, and only seen the anime, then please read at your own risk. Believe it or not, some characters in the series die, and they’re named here. Also, manga scans. Lots of them.

Chapter 71 is about the start of a new arc, the backstory of Keith Shadis, and the interwoven history of Grisha Yeager. But more importantly, it’s about worth—the worth we place on ourselves, the worth with which others label us, and the worth we are inherently born with.

Eren goes to his one-time, crotchety drill sergeant for answers about his father, but what he gets instead is a lengthy inferiority narrative about Shadis’ personal struggles as a military commander.

keith shadis one act of merit Read the rest of this entry

Throwback Thursdays: Bakuman。

This week, I have the honor of talking about my number one favorite media series. The reason I say it like that is because I originally fell in love with the Bakuman manga as it was being serialized, and it wasn’t till a few weeks ago that I was able to get ahold of the anime series. I watched the show completely through and am very excited to review it.

bakuman 2

Bakuman is a series centering around two middle school students who decide they are going to become mangaka (manga creators.) The story centers around their battles and struggles, and also on there relationships. The two main characters are named Moritaka Mashiro (Saiko) and Akito Takagi (Shujin.) Mashiro is the artist and Takagi is the writer, and together they function under the pen name Ashirogi Muto. Together they fight to make a manga worthy of Shonen Jump (or Shonen Jack, if you watch the anime.) At the same time, Mashiro is trying to fulfill his dream to make a manga that gets an anime adaptation, so his girlfriend Miho Azuki can be a voice actress in it, at which point they will get married.

The series is difficult for me to put in genres. It is very atypical, like it’s predecessor, Death Note. The authors of the series say it is a romantic story. I agree mostly, but it also has mind games, antagonists, rivals, and so much more. It feels like a slice-of-life story with the intensity of a sports anime. Read the rest of this entry

Like Patema, Religion Can Be Inverted

Religion is wrong.  At least fanatical religion is, according to the general tone of western culture, if not outright through its statements about zealotry.  Islam is good, but when taken to the extreme, it’s bad.  Christianity is okay, but not when you tell people it’s the only way.  Buddhism is lovely precisely because of it’s openness.

Although I largely disagree with the statements above (after all, if you believe in the veracity of Christ’s words, you can be nothing less than a zealot of sorts), there’s no doubt that religion taken to an extreme can be close-minded, hypocritical, and dangerous – all these ideas expressed in Patema Inverted, where Izamura, the religious/political leader of Aiga, uses fear and religion to keep the masses under his thumb while pursuing the exposure (and destruction?) of the “inverts,” those whose gravity is the opposite of his people and who live underneath their feet.

patema inverted 1

Patema Inverted is no subtle film – the message of how religion can go terribly wrong is hammered into us from the beginning.  In fact, the first images to really hit me from the world of Aiga were those of the central tower in the city, rising like a ziggurat in the landscape, and more specifically, like the Tower of Babel, the structure the ancients built to reach to God, but which in turn led them further away from Him (and from each other).  The tower in Aiga appears to easily be the biggest structure in the city, casting a shadow over the population, and staffed by intimidating security personnel, reminding the populace that religion is king – obey the rules, avoid sin, and do what is told of you. Read the rest of this entry

Gaming With God: The Goddess Of Lunar

Everyone enjoys a love story. Boy meets girl, girl is attracted to boy, boy does his best to impress girl, boy later finds out that girl is really a goddess…wait, what? Yes, that’s basically how the scenario goes in Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete, a JRPG which came out originally on Sega Saturn, then PlayStation One and PSP as Lunar: Silver Star Harmony. It’s one of those classic games with a plot, characters and atmosphere that show why video games can be just as entertaining as any fiction book.

It’s about Alex and Luna, two young teenagers out looking for adventure and mystery. One longs to be the future DragonMaster and protector of the Goddess Athena while the other just wants to make sure that he’s safe and brought home in one piece. Together, they fight off monsters, discover a floating magical city, and join with new friends while thwarting the plans of an evil emperor out to rule the world as it’s god.

I played this game many years ago on my PlayStation solely because it looked like an anime from the box art, with no other knowledge going in. That goes to show my love for anime and video games doing a crossover! As I went on the journey to save Lunar from darkness, I noticed the various churches, worship practices, statues, and priests that were dotted throughout the game. There is also a focus on the deity Althena who created the world of Lunar after a great war with Zophar, a god of destruction. She won this war, banished him, and created Lunar where the survivors of the four races from the Blue Star (Earth, but it’s never stated) are sent. Over time, the people worship her as their god but she does not intervene in their affairs. This got me wondering how I could compare this game to real life Christianity, and if it holds up.

EBC1241

It’s interesting to see how Althena never helps anyone that calls out her name, yet Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacab does respond to our cry when we seek Him. This is very important to mention because if you were to follow the theology of Lunar: Silver Star Story then you would imagine that we serve a silent, inactive God.

Deuteronomy 4:28-29

28 There, in a foreign land, you will worship idols made from wood and stone—gods that neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. 29 But from there you will search again for the Lord your God. And if you search for him with all your heart and soul, you will find him..

Read the rest of this entry

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,520 other followers