Blog Archives

1,000 Posts!

Well…this milestone snuck up on me.

This post is our 1,000th here on Beneath the Tangles!

A little over four years ago, I began Beneath the Tangles as a way of bringing Christian conversation into the anime community.  The blog was obviously quite different at the time – less personal in tone and more overtly religious.  My very first post was dated September 12th, 2010: My So-Called Virtual Life.

That first year was really about finding my way with the blog.  I did several columns (none of which we now continue), engaged anibloggers in a large survey (from which we received some very positive and very negative response), and grew relationships with readers, mostly within that blogging community.

However, over the years, the tone of the blog changed as we found our voice and reached out to a more general audience of anime fans.  I say “we” because the biggest change of all was the addition of co-bloggers, who have now really taken ownership of the blog – developing their own columns, media projects, and generally making their own way.  Here are the my co-bloggers, with their join dates (because I think they’ll get a kick out of seeing those):

1. R86 (October 10, 2011): A friend before he was a co-blogger, R86 is actually the only one of the writers here I’ve met in person (a few of the others have met each other though).  He remains one of my closest friends, and someone who I can go to for advice, about anime or life in general.

1. Goldy (October 10, 2011): Joining at the same time as R86, Goldy brings a lot of anime-related experience to the blog and has a tone to her writing that I really admire – wise, calming, engaging.  I’ve counted on her to really carry the blog a number of times through the years.

3. Murasaki Lynna (October 18, 2011): Lynna joined shortly after our first two additions.  I was glad to have her join because she’s a wonderful writer and her interests reach out to a different audience than the rest of us.  What I found out later is that she’s also a real sparkplug, adding an exciting energy to our group.

4. Zeroe4 (February 28, 2012): Through the years, a little community of Christian anibloggers has developed – and it may have started with us and with Zeroe4, who was doing “Christian aniblogging,” if that’s a category, for a long while before he ended up crossing over to the dark side our blog.  Very sincere and very helpful, I’ve long counted on Zeroe4 to do a variety of projects/posts for us.

5. Hansha (June 14, 2012): Probably no one convicts me as much as Hansha does through her posts.  I depend on her greatly not only for her writing expertise, but also the content she writes and for the sincerity and honesty in which she delivers it (and in which she lives)

6. Kaze (March 18, 2013): What can I say about Kaze? He’s living the life of an otaku – he’s the best source I know for anime-related news. He also brings a unique viewpoint to our blog, one that I think forces us to think outside of our cozy little Christianese ways.

7. Japesland (September 18, 2013): If you started following our the blog over the last year, it might surprise you to find out that this isn’t Japes’ personal blog for how much he writes!  We’ve grown in a lot of ways through the past 12 months, in large part because of Japes’ energy and dedication.  And oh yes, he’s a good friend, too!

On the other side of the screen, there is you, the audience.  Thank you so much for reading along, whether you’re a recent convert or if you’re among the handful that’s been here since near the beginning.  Ultimately, we’re writing for readers – not for ourselves.  We want to engage you in good discussion, whether it’s encouraging you think about these topics we write about on your own or in public through the comments.  I hope we’ve done well the past four years, and that we’ll continue to deliver thought-provoking content for many more posts to come!

Secret Satan, er, Santa

At my church, we play Secret Santa each year.  It’s done in a very simple manner – we bring a small gift to our Christmas party, and the participants draw numbers for the order in which we select.  Takeaways are allowed.

I absolutely hate this tradition.  And so, I choose not to participate each year.  Bah humbug!

The reason I don’t like it is because without fail, there’s always a person or two that gives an over the top “WUT? WAT A HORRIBLE GIFT” response when opening a perfectly nice present.  I wonder if the giver feels hurt.  I imagine they sometimes do – the giver, who is very likely an overburdened parent (at our church), went out of his or her way to buy something thoughtful, and they get a really crappy response in return.

So of course, I participated in two other Secret Santas this year!

Art by YON (Illustration ID 40161301)

Art by YON (Illustration ID 40161301)

The first is among friends and should go quite well.  The second is usually fun as well – it’s the wonderfully managed anibloggers’ Secret Santa, set up by the lovely folks at Reverse Thieves.

I loved the submissions I ended up receiving.  I hoped that those I submitted would be well-received as well.

Unfortunately, via social media, I’ve found out they weren’t.  I felt terrible for the viewer*, because I didn’t want that person to sit through endless episodes of a pain-inducing series.**  But then, I started to feel terrible for myself, as people piled upon the anonymous Secret Santa.  The Secret Santa (me) was jeered and laughed at, and called names, including my favorite, “Secret Satan.”

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Readers’ Response: What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday!

Art by 嵐空

Art by 嵐空

There are many things I’m thankful for, but I want to emphasize particularly how thankful I am to you, the readers of this blog.  For much of this year, I’ve shifted much of the time I usually use for this blog and moved it toward developing my Tumblr page.  Even so, readers still come here and many of you comment – thank you.  And a special thank you to all those that are consistent readers of Beneath the Tangles, both anonymous and those known to me.

And with this year of transition, I’m grateful, more than ever, to my writers:

  • Goldy, who is simply one of the most creative people I’ve ever known
  • Hansha, whose energy and intelligence are electric
  • Japes, whose friendship I greatly treasure
  • Kaze, who challenges me think about my own faith as he writes posts here
  • Lynna, who is gracious, graceful, and kind
  • R86, who is simply one of my best friends
  • and Zeroe4, who inspires me by his faith

And how about you all?  Would you share with us one or two things you’re thankful for this year?

Something More: Sunday Without God, The World God Only Knows, and Aniblogging About God

Annalyn explores the loneliness of being a Christian aniblogger. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

Frank tackles how two series, Sunday Without God and The World God Only Knows, deal with the “God” mentioned in their titles and how that imagery compares to the Christian God. [A Series of Miracles]

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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. 

Reader Response: Who We Mean to Be

When I started Beneath the Tangles several years ago, I came in with a very direct, but ambitious and broad mission.  As the years have passed and as I’ve learned more and more about the community I’m engaging, and as it has changed, my approach and goals have changed.  My purpose has especially been in the forefront of my mind lately as Beneath the Tangles expands into the Tumblrverse and other outlets.

But some things haven’t changed.  I was reminded of that through a wonderful email sent by a reader whom I’ll refer to as Jessica:

I discovered this site recently and just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the work you’ve done.  I’m a Christian, an anime/manga fan, and, in addition, a fan of a lot of entertainment that’s not specifically Christian, and your articles really echo a lot of my own feelings.  I think, on your Christian lenses for anime (which I also use for other things) I tend to take the redemptive approach, and I’m uncomfortable for reasons both religious and philosophical with works that are so nihilistic as to offer no hints of redemptive themes at all!

Jessica refers to the broad spectrum in which Christians view entertainment.  I’ve adhered to one specific approach from the beginning (though I’m currently exploring another one, well-known among many Christians).  Our blog falls into one of several categories, depending on the post, and maybe several at once.   But we never fall into the extreme, separatist category – we engage the culture, and particularly anime, as something we can learn from, enjoy, and embrace (or sometimes decidedly not).  We’ll always talk anime, as long as the blog lives on, as we explore the Christian ideas that are important to us and to many of you readers.

In addition to those kind words, Jessica added some more thoughts – and these particularly touched me:

Also, specifically to TWWK: I just wanted to mention that as a bisexual Christian, I found your past handling of same-sex issues in manga/anime very thoughtful and sensitive.  Even if our interpretations differ, I believe your approach–and hopefully mine as well!–allow us to better understand each other and find common ground in Christ.

And anime. :-)

And this, too, is something imperative for our goals here.  Even if we disagree (this may be the post that Jessica refers to), even if we’re on separate sides of the coin, I hope that this place provides an environment where we can all feel safe to explore, discuss, and relate.  Too many times, Christians engage culture by either running from it or attacking it.  We don’t want to do either here.  Instead, we want to explore it by loving you, which we do by listening to what you have to way.  And I hope that we’ll learn from each other as we go – I certainly know I’ve learned a lot from you all.

So thank you, Jessica, for your kindness.  And thank you, readers, both for bearing with us and for being part of a unique community in the anime blogosphere.  I hope that we, the bloggers, will keep our part (and improve) in making this a place that you’ll always find warm and engaging.

 

Call For Guest Posts!

Hi, readers!

Thank you for visiting Beneath the Tangles.  We appreciate you spending a small time of your day with us.  Whether you’re a devoted reader of months or years, or a one-time visitor, we definitely value you.

But as a reader, have you ever thought of possibly creating your own piece for Beneath the Tangles?  We’d love to have you write a piece for us!  Even if you’re not a prolific writer or blogger, we’d still like you to consider posting something for us.

You’ll also be helping our crew during the summer months – I’m developing a special project that will take some time away from my blogging and will otherwise be particularly busy this season.

We only ask the following of you:

  • Write about anime in your post
  • Write about religion/spirituality in your post
  • Write at least at a high school level

While we prefer posts that reflect our personal beliefs about Christianity, we welcome others as well for these guest posts.  I also welcome non-Christian views, which I’ve also promoted on this blog in an effort for us to gain comfort with one another and to learn about each others’ religions.

If you want to participate, please comment below (include your email in the prompt) or send me an email at beneath.the.tangles AT gmail.com.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Call Out to Our Readers: Let’s Connect!

There are a lot of ways to describe my purpose behind this blog, but maybe the best way is by saying it was to develop relationships.  I’ve hoped that the blog has edged more toward community than website (though it has a significance ways to go) as time has gone by.  In an effort to further this goal, I’d like to ask you, the readers, to share with us your digital information – how can we get in touch with you and how can other readers get in touch?

So please, share as much info as you’d like in your comments below.  Give your blog URL(s), Twitter name, Tumbler URL, Facebook link, etc – any information you’d like to share with us.  Let’s connect across mediums and maybe get to know each other a bit better.

I look forward to interacting with you wherever your online presence dwells!

Welcome Our Newest Co-Blogger, Kaze!

I’m really proud of the group of writers we have here on Beneath the Tangles.  Of varied backgrounds and experiences, they represent the blog well and are better writers than I am.  And although I was actively looking to a new blogger to the group, I connected with Kaze and it seemed clear to both of us that he was meant to join our ranks.  Please welcome him!  You’ll get a taste of his unique perspective on Wednesday, when he’ll be sharing his first post, a very personal one.

In the meantime, get to know Kaze a little more through the Q&A below:

TWWK:   How did you become a fan of anime?

Kaze:  I originally watched childhood classics such as DBZ, CCS, Kenshin, and Gundam Wing. The first Japanese-dubbed anime I saw was probably Love Hina, and from there I moved onto very standard gateway anime: FMA and the big 3, and I really enjoyed them so I looked for more; before I knew it, I was keeping up with anime that was currently airing and here I am now.

TWWK:  What are your favorite types or genres of anime? How about favorite shows?

Kaze:  I’m willing to watch almost anything as long as it is legitimately good, but as far as favorite genre, it’s definitely romance. ef~A Tale of Memories and its sequel is still one of my favorite shows. Bungaku Shoujo is another one of my favorites, and I’m sad to see it only get a movie and a few OVAs. Other favorites include Nanoha, Katanagatari, and Hunter x Hunter.

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Carnival Time: Anime Wish Fulfillment, Part II

Yesterday, I reminisced about my childhood as I gave my first post as part of Iso’s Blog Carnival on anime and wish fulfillment.  Today, I conclude with some of minor things I would like to do (here’s one: I would love to be able to kick butt), and the paths I’ve dreamed about taking.

The Moves – Cowboy Bebop

My first best friend (I moved often as a military brat) was into martial arts (probably tae kwan do).  I admired him and wanted to learn, but I was fearful of getting hurt and never joined.  Of course, I later regretted this inaction.  And of all the styles of martial arts, one of the most attractive is Jeet Kune Do, invented by Bruce Lee and practiced by Spike.  And come on…what hot blooded male doesn’t want to move like Spike and be like water?

The Music – La Corda d’Oro

This one I still have some time to do.  R86 and I have often spoke about how we enjoy this overlooked show, and certainly music is a joint reason why.  R86 performs music frequently (and publicly), while I’ve barely practiced in the last decade or more.  But I plan to take up my violin again in the near future, and while I’ll never be at the level of the geniuses in this show, with some practice I’ll be good enough to enjoy myself.  And who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky and a leprechaun will appear and grant me musical powers!

Kin’iro no Corda

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Carnival Time: Anime Wish Fulfillment, Part I

Justin’s failed attempt to avoid a “wish fulfillment anime post” led me to Iso’s latest proposal for the Blog Carnival series.  Though I love my life in the here and now, it’s still fun to think about the little things I would have liked to add to my life, and certainly anime is the tops, man when it comes to having us put ourselves in place of a character who is thrust into something we might dream of doing.

Here are my “wish fulfillment” anime:

The Childhood – My Neighbor Totoro

Some of my best memories of childhood had to do with nature – walking through the woods, playing in old wagons, and somersaulting down green hills.  But those instances were few, as I spent most of my life living in an urban setting.  It would have been nice to get away and live a childhood of imagined adventure, chasing down totoros and finding trouble with a sibling (I’m an only child).

Totoro

Art by Naru

The City – Kanon/Whisper of the Heart

I thought my hometown (El Paso, TX) was a delightful place growing up.  As soon as I moved away, however, I realized how much I’d been missing.  Nestled in the mountains, I enjoyed the scenery, and I treasured the times I spent wandering through the sprawling desert that was literally just a street away.  But I would have preferred a beautiful city of interconnected paths and pretty backdrops, like Seiseki Sakuragaoka.  Or a wintry wonderland that evokes sad, nostalgic, or mystical tones, as Osaka is portrayed in Kanon.

Seiseki Sakuragaoka

Screen capture from Wonders in the Dark

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