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Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Accel World Enlightenment, Revisiting Madoka, and Jesus Figures in Kokoro Connect and Other Anime

David examines morality in Eureka Seven Ao, and mentions the use of Catholic liturgies as naming devices.  I’m a few episodes behind in the series and am actively avoiding spoilers, so I didn’t read the article, but I’m sure it’s fine reading as is typical of this wonderful site. [The Untold Story of Altair and Vega]

Guardian Enzo finds Buddhist allusions in episode 16 of Accel World and argues that the entire system could be viewed as a quest for enlightenment. [Lost in America]

In his commentary on episode 4 of Kokoro Connect, Draggle suggests that Taichi is a Christ figure, humbling and degrading himself to help Inaba be lifted up.  He also differentiates this comparison to the same involving Shou of Guilty Crown. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

Lori Henderson really enjoyed volumes 1-10 of the Clamp manga, RG Veda, which focuses on Vedic mythology. [Manga Xanadu]

Simon Wolfe breaks down male anime protagonists into three categories, including the “Jesus” lead. [Capsule Computers]

There’s a new site in the anime blogosphere involving Christianity.  Though not directly related to anime, the author seems intent on including some discussion of anime.  Here’s a summary of what the site is all about [Sacred † Vox]:

Welcome to the WordPress blog Sacred † Vox. I created this blog for posting inspiring Catholic and Christian images, poetry and other things. I want to use this blog to reach people and tell them that Jesus loves them.

Finally, I should note a renewed enthusiasm for Puella Magi Madoka Magica, one of the series I recommend that Christians watch.  Justin suggests that it has set a new standard and should be watched additionally for the messages it conveys. [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

Otakuandrain finds the application of the entropy plot point lacking, but otherwise gives the series very high marks. [Cajun Samurai]


As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere 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. 

Accel World 03: It Ain’t All Roses (or Drifting Away from the Faith)

Accel World is totally a fantasy for the losers, the otaku, the overweight, the bullied, and the less-than-attractive.  It practically throws itself at that audience, screaming, “Live vicariously through this series!”  Also, the OP is terribly corny with a great song choice…for 2002.

So of course, I’m absolutely loving it.

Episode three was better than the previous two.  Some backgrounds were revealed and we learned more about Haruyuki’s best friends and Kuroyukihime.  And what we learned most about them is that they, too, have problems.  These beautiful, popular, loved young people have issues they struggle with as well.

Accel World

Art by しんそ

It reminds me of the difficulties Christians encounter in life.  There’s this moment that many of us have where wejust get it.  We come to see the depths of our sin and heights of God’s grace and our lives are changed.

But despite seeming to be put altogether, like Haruyuki’s friends, a Christian’s “top of the world” moment is temporary, until the high wears off and jobs, studies, financial problems, girls (or boys), depression, hurtful people, alcohol, drugs, health issues, entertainment, pornography, or any of a variety of things derail our spiritual progress.  In the short term or in the longer term, many start to lose faith, in practice if not in declaration.  Read the rest of this entry

Accel World 02: Breaking the Barrier and Responding with Dedication

In his first impressions of Accel World, one of my favorite bloggers, draggle, calls the protagonist “fat, short and unbelievably ugly.”

I…can’t really argue with him there.

But what’s fascinating is that we have a rare model of a protagonist who looks like he’s supposed to.  Ouma Shuu, for instance, is a similarly depressing character, but he’s actually pretty handsome.  Arita, on the other hand, is clearly unattractive.  Strangely enough, he reminds me a lot of Shinji Ikari, another pity-party teenager, whose body was heroine-chic thin and who wore high-waters.

With these clear physical flaws, the emotional flaws make more sense as they follow.  Arita doesn’t have to have a dramatic background; one look at him, and we understand why he’s maybe the way he is.


Wait...I'm the protagonist? (Art by shion)

While we may not be individuals that match this magical combination of being “fat, short and unbelievably ugly,” all of us are flawed – on the outside as well as on the inside. Even people who seem to have it all together are imperfect.  In my teaching life, I once taught a beautiful young lady who was also incredibly smart, studious, kind, and funny.  She went on to become a well-known model (and still found time to remember her former teacher).  As I discovered by reading her Facebook feed, however, I found that she has the same problems and issues most of us have.

Some of us are marred even further by the effects others have had on us – whether its bullies or those who have otherwise taken advantage of us.  Arita, in a sense, is the king of flawed people, and one we can identify with. Read the rest of this entry


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