When I first watched episode two of Angel Beats!, my emotions were mixed. One one hand, I found Yuri’s background a little over-the-top and and the events of her past didn’t strike a chord with me. On the other, I started liking Yuri as a character and embraced her as the centerpiece of this series.
The second time around, things are certainly different. I went in knowing that Yuri isn’t really the heroine of the series. I listened to her words more closely. And I allowed her story to resonate with me…well, more than it did originally.
Yuri’s tale is a difficult one – her failures lead to the violent deaths of her siblings. I’ve certainly never experienced anything of the sort, but all of us have experienced pain that we consider unfair. Twice, Yuri calls her circumstances this – she can’t get over the injustice of it all, probably as much for herself having to go through this experience and live on (at least for a few more years) as her innocent siblings dying in a terrifying way.
And who does Yuri blame? Well, a most natural source. Towing the line between agnostic and believer (though probably more accurately a believer who has troubles with her faith), Yuri places her blame on God. She wants to “defy God, if he’s really there.” After all, why would a loving God allow all this tragedy to occur?
This is the problem of pain. Read the rest of this entry
Anime is almost never a proselytizing tool. So, it’s no surprise that religion usually doesn’t take the forefront in anime series. Even when religion plays a major role, it’s typically bended and used for aesthetic or plot reasons (ex. Evangelion) by the series animators. Still, it’s ever-present in anime, as religion is deeply imbedded in the country’s culture.
Today, we’ll look at four questions from the survey which address religion in anime. Read the rest of this entry
What do you believe? Is there a God? What is your faith? Do you have a faith?
I wanted to know how the aniblogging community would respond to these questions. About half of all respondents were either atheist or agnostic, with responses split exactly evenly between the two. In other words, 49% of respondents don’t believe in a god or are unsure about a god’s existence. If one combined the respondents who declared themselves Catholic, Christian (Protestant), Orthodox, and non-denominational Christian as one group, 35% of anibloggers believe in the Christian religion, which would be the highest percentage of all. Within that group, most were either Protestant (20%) or Catholic (10%). Read the rest of this entry
Not long ago, I posted a beautiful anime-style short. Following a trail from Twitter, I was led to the site where it was featured, and to my surprise, it was Rober Ebert’s website. But, I was only surprised for a second – after all, the nation’s leading film critic (and the first to ever win the Pulitzer Prize) has championed anime for many years and Anime News Network has described him as a closet otaku. He even wrote an article entitled “The Beauty of Anime.” In fact, aside from John Lasseter, there’s likely no more powerful voice for anime in U.S. mainstream culture.
Roger Ebert should be familiar to most of you. Forbes called him American’s #1 pundit (and in the Internet age, that designation is no small feat). Then again, maybe I recognize him better than most because I religiously watched “At the Movies” as a child, wanting to weekly see him duke it out with his first partner, Gene Siskel. Later, I continued to watch (and then read) because I realized: a) I agreed with him much more than not; b) even when I didn’t agree, I learned something from his reviews; and c) his writing is clear, calculated and wonderful. Even if you’re not familiar with Ebert, you certainly are with his (official) trademark of the “thumbs up” and “thumbs down,” regarding movie recommendations.
When Ebert discusses anime films, he comes at it as an admirer of the form, as when he reviewed Ghost in the Shell or selected Akira as a “video pick of the week.” The Great Movies section of his web site, which itself has become widely admired, includes both My Neighbor Totoro and Grave of the Fireflies on this list. Think of that – two anime among a U.S. movie’s critics best movies of all time. Read how he ends the Grave of the Fireflies review: Read the rest of this entry