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A year ago…taking my son to the hospital reminded me of Usagi Drop…
…and my own surgery at a hospital did as well.
A year ago…Angel Beats caused me to think about our way versus God’s…
…of how Christians should love one another…
…about bullying from a grace-centered perspective…
…and about dads.
A year ago…I interviewed the author of Because the Angels, a book in which Christianity and anime both play major roles..
…and reviewed the work.
A year ago…we thought about how Kin’iro no Corda demonstrated how the weak can shame the strong…
…how Shinobu became a grown-up…
…and how Koko ni Iru Yo! shows us the power of forgiveness.
A year ago…Goldy wrote her first post, giving her impressions of Persona 4: The Animation…
and I teamed with Alexander to opine about Kamisama Dolls and the existence of God.
“A Year Ago” is a monthly series on Beneath the Tangles which links to posts from the site written around this date last year.
Even if you’re non-religious, Easter is a holiday that might cause you think about faith or even bring you into a church service. Whether or not you attend, you might consider delving into anime, manga, or anime-related books to indulge your curiosity, interest, or, what I would call, stirrings. Here are some recommendations for works to look at this Easter:
My Last Day
If you watch anything today, I would recommend it be this short film. Animated in anime-style, it’s a well-done work that shows the account of Jesus’ death and resurrection from the point of view of one of the thieves crucified next to Him. I would recommend this as a starting point of sorts – if you want to read more about the context of the film and what it all means, consider reading the Gospel of John or the Gospel of Luke.
Yesterday, I gave numbers one through six on my list of the years top posts regarding anime and spirituality. It’s been difficult selecting the top posts of the year, though I’ve found again and again, they’re written by my favorite writers in the blogosphere. These wonderful bloggers seem to be adept at writing about a variety of subjects, religion included.
Below are the remaining six of the year, listed in chronological order:
7. Apples and Devil’s Deals: A Religious Analysis of the Apple Scene in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
written by A Day Without Me
Kyouko herself gains knowledge, too, and likewise comes to unhappiness, although unlike her father she is capable of adapting. But she herself takes on the guise of the Snake, at least as things develop, for she offers a literal apple to Sayaka while also holding forth an apple of knowledge as well. Sayaka’s already dealt with one Snake in the grass, and made the mistake of taking the apple from Kyuubey, but tosses the apple back at the second she encounters.
Taylor Ramage reviews the anime-influence Because the Angels, writing that the author “isn’t afraid of including things that most Christians would consider “dirty” and because of that, she’s produced a story in which Christianity actually has life.”
Ephemeral Dreamer suggests a “serpent in the Garden of Eden” allusion in episode 16 of Mawaru Penguindrum.
In his post on episode three of Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing, Krizzlybear compares the ritual near the show’s end to the Buddhist Ullambana festival.
Omo’s splattering of thoughts regarding Ben-To, among other topics, includes some discussion of the theme of “giving thanks for food” in the series.
Suntzuanime points out the new monastic addition to Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and approves of the show’s “looking at a foreign concept” viewpoint toward Christianity.
Splinter discusses the distraction of manga during times that should be devoted to prayer and reading of scripture.
IUPUI received a grant to do a study on how individuals use the Bible in their everyday lives; one of those working on the grant project has previously commented on The Manga Bible.
Spike Darbyfield is a hard nut to crack. Though unafraid to speak her (opinionated) mind, Spike remains detached from those around her. She’d rather invest her emotions in watching Blood+ or working on a novel inspired by Samurai Champloo than in people. There is one person in her life, though, that Spike is crazy about – her sister, Margie, who is part of a Christian peacekeeping mission in Iraq.
However, Spike’s sheltered world is altered forever when she receives an emergency phone call. Margie has been kidnapped by a group of militant Iraqis.
Thus begins Kathleen Kern’s unique story combining anime with spiritual, political, and social elements, and inspired by Kern’s experiences with Christian Peacemaker Teams, which faced a similar crisis in 2005-06. I’d first heard of this novel while reading an article Kern had written, which told of an underlying theme in this movie: the sacred meeting the profane. Spike is the epitome of this theme. While her sister is part of a Christian organization and her birth father a pastor, Spike doesn’t believe in God and uses foul language effortlessly. It’s difficult to warm up to her at first. But as the novel progresses and she opens up, even if its bit by bit, we, too, as readers begin to understand Spike and hope for her as she deals with the pain of not knowing whether her sister will live or die, while having to develop relationships with others, something she has also avoided (unless those relationships are with 2D characters). Read the rest of this entry
Kathleen Kern is a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization which seeks to transform areas under occupation or war through non-violent methods. She is also an anime fan, and brought this interest together with a passion for her work in Because the Angels, a novel featuring a protagonist who is Blood+ obsessed. She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.
TWWK: Kathleen, your main character is a woman who is obsessed with anime, particularly Blood+. What compelled you to create such a character and to use anime as such an important part of the novel?
Kathleen: I had insomnia one night and was looking through the channels. The name “Samurai Champloo” just struck me as funny for reason, and when I tuned in–somewhere in the middle of the series, I thought it was funny and liked the fluid drawing. I liked the way that Mugen and Jin kind of looked semi-realistic, but Fuu looked like big-eyed anime characters. I’ve always been a sucker for stories that mix humor with pathos (I pretty much learned to read, by reading Heidi over and over again), which Samurai Champloo does. I think Blood+ was playing after Samurai Champloo, which has more pathos than humor, but the story line and the music drew me in. In hindsight, I realize that I started on shows with a more artistic bent than most anime series. If I had started on Inuyasha, for example, I don’t think I would have gotten sucked in (but I actually ended up watching the whole Inuyasha series, as well as some other “lessers.”) Read the rest of this entry