Gaming With God: Eastern vs Western Gamers

If you’re reading this, most likely you are on the western hemisphere of this beautiful world we call Earth. If not, then you’re on the eastern hemisphere and may or may not be in Asia. Wherever you may be, video games will be played or purchased in different ways. Loyalties to Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo differ depending on where you go, and there are many statistics done yearly to show how gaming is evolving throughout the world.

I love how big our world is, and the cultural diversity we all have. We are all the same, but given access to the same technology doesn’t always mean it will turn out the same. If you were to look at the games that are produced in Japan compared to those in the USA, you can see a striking differences. Just think about American cartoons and how different anime is from them. The same goes for gaming, and even the devices used to play them on.

Let’s go over some statistics shall we? After that, I will go over my personal perspective on the differences I see between each side.

As you can see, these are statistics for the USA only, and they are very interesting to see.

  • Most gamers are adults, and male.
  • 2 out of 5 gamers are female, so there goes that bias that video games are only for boys (take that, opinions and assumptions)
  • 65% of American households play video games.
  • Software sales for consoles are at $150+ million, while PC software sales are at $36+ million. Cry PC Master Race…cry me a river.
  • The best selling video games were all Nintendo games, though I have to point out that several of them came included with the console, so I’m not sure if that detail was figured in that stat.

Read the rest of this entry

Annalyn’s Corner: Suna’s Love Story (and Mine)

Hi there, folks! Time for some apologies. First, I’m sorry I missed last week’s post. I was really sick, and writing was out of the question. Second, I’m sorry this is several hours late. I could blame internet problems, but I honestly couldn’t have finished this before work even if my internet was working this morning. I’m afraid I got out of my blogging routine with everything that’s been going on. It’s actually harder to blog in the summer than during the school year—didn’t expect that to be the case, but it is. Thank you for your patience with me. Anyway, without further ado… here’s a post about something I’ve been mulling over a lot in the past couple months: singleness and supporting each other.

Ore Monogatari!! aka My Love Story!! might be the most surprising anime on my watching list. The fact I’m completely caught up with it is even more surprising. Sweet romance shows don’t usually keep my attention. But this one hasn’t lost me yet. It toes the line with cliches, then skips happily away. Best of all, there’s no ridiculous drama and misunderstandings, because Suna is always there to straighten the protagonists out.

At first glance, the title My Love Story!! seems to refer to Takeo’s relationship with Yamato. But I want to look at a different type of love story, a non-romantic type… because I don’t think that kind of love story gets as much attention as it should, especially in Christian circles. And, more selfishly, because my life resembles a platonic love story more than anything else right now. So, as sweet as the main couple is, let’s talk about Suna.

Suna returns to homework after helping Takeo and Yamato to get over their insecurities and confess to each other (ep 3).

Suna returns to homework after helping Takeo and Yamato to get over their insecurities and confess to each other (ep 3).

Sunakawa Makoto is the protagonist’s best friend. He keeps Takeo and Yamato from hurting each other or annoying me. Unlike many romance anime sidekicks, he’s sensible, introverted, and content being single. I can relate to him a lot… and we can all take a cue from the way he supports the main couple (and the way they support him).  Read the rest of this entry

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

 

Anime Today: No Dandelions in God’s Castle Town

This season, the new show that surprised me with how much I liked it is Joukamichi no Dandelion, a.k.a. Castle Town Dandelion. The premise sounds like some kind of faux-reality-TV show: nine siblings of a royal family with superpowers mingle with commoners in a normal suburb, but they have their lives monitored by cameras as the public prepares to vote one sibling to become the next king. However, instead of drama, politics, and backstabbing, the show is actually a pleasant slice-of-life comedy about family and what it’s like to try to live relatively normal life despite being part of the royal family.

It helps that I can really relate to Akane, the fourth sibling and third sister of the household. She is painfully shy, easily embarrassed, and hates being the center of attention, and the fact that her father, the king, has surveillance cameras all over town, and that her life is an in-universe reality TV show, freaks her out. She talks about how she wants to be like a dandelion (title drop!), someone that people just ignore so she can live a quiet life. She even briefly considers becoming king so she can get rid of the cameras, before realizing that just being the king would expose her even more to people’s attention.

I completely understand how she feels, because I also do not like having a lot of attention on me. It’s why I prefer to help out with behind-the-scenes work rather than go out front as a leader or as the face of an operation. I can especially imagine how uncomfortable I would feel if my family decided to star in a reality TV show (do the kids of reality TV families even get a say on the matter?), or if I was born into the President’s family or some other royal-like family, with the general public watching my life.

Her superpower, for the record, is gravity manipulation. Good for simulating flight, bad for keeping people from seeing up your skirt.

When you have a news channel specifically dedicated to your family’s lives, it just makes things worse.

There is one complication, though. I might not have been born into a royal family, but when I became a Christian, I was certainly adopted into one.

Read the rest of this entry

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

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