Blog Archives

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Wisdom of Heartseed, Ghibli in Catholic Magazine, and Christianity in Evangelion, Trigun, and FMA: Brotherhood

Draggle continues to examine Kokoro Connect with Christian language, finding the kids caught up in a battle between flesh and Spirit, and Heartseed as similar to Ecclesiastes’ teacher. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Sarah Greydanus, the teenage daughter of reviewer Steven D. Greydanus, reviews Whisper of the Heart. [National Catholic Register]

After finally finishing Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sweetpea provides her overview of the series, including some commentary on the use of religion in the show. [Going in Blindly]

Rocklobster review a classic, Trigun, and includes examination of Vash as a stand-in for Christ and of Wolfwood’s portrayal as a priest. [Lobster Quadrille]

Annalyn is rewatching FMA: Brotherhood, and notes some commentary about religion in the show. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

On a more somber note, Annalyn also reflects on the death of a young man she knew. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

Kokoro Connect 05: If You Had 30 Minutes to Live, What Would You Do?

Kokoro Connect continues to surprise me by how touching and involving it all is.  Though not without its faults, it’s still one of my favorite series of the year.  After a strange (but still compelling) fourth episode, five did was episode fives of good series often do – hit an early high point in the series.

Art by 三毛之助

Without going into much detail, a central theme to this episode is to do that which you have to as if there’s no tomorrow.  If you could be brave enough to escape the fear of the moment, knowing that there is no fear of repercussion in the future, what would say?

And so, I’ll ask this question of you all:  If you had only thirty minutes to live, what would you do or say?

Please use the comment area to tell us what’s in your heart – no names and specifics necessary, of course.  I hope that perhaps, this episode and this question might persuade us to be brave ourselves and live stronger and deeper.

Kokoro Connect 05: Hurt Me Bad (in a Real Good Way)

A while back, I had difficulty getting my son to close his eyes while I washed his face in the shower.  I’d have to tell him multiple times to close his eyelids in the same shower session.  One day, I just let him do what he wanted, and to his discomfort, soap ran into his eyes.  He had a miserable time.  But now, I never have to ask him to shut his eyes – he does it without any encouragement on my part.

Kokoro Connect demonstrated the same principle this week.  At the close of the episode, Heartseed lets the gang know that he presented this awful situation to them as a way of pushing them forward – of making them do the things they needed.  The pain opened them up and caused them to do what was necessary.

Art by 五歳

This push reminded me of these lyrics*:

Oh but you move me
Out of myself and into the fire
You move me
Now I’m burning with love
And with hope and desire
How you move me

These actions reminded me of God and his relationship with  us.  While I can’t relate Heartseed’s dishonesty or manipulation to God, a basic similarity arises.  A message, oft repeated in evangelical circles (and said much more eloquently by others than I’ll paraphrase here), is this: God doesn’t mind hurting you if it helps youTemporary pain might be necessary for eternal growth. Read the rest of this entry

From the Dust Returned: Aquarion Evol Breaks Death’s Chains

Draggle, a wonderful writer who I frequently refer to (see the end of this article for links), graciously offered the following write-up as a guest post on this blog.  We both felt it appropriate for this site.  Enjoy!

You shall die. You speak incorrectly; say I will finish dying and you will be correct, because ever since I began living I began dying. — Francisco de Quevedo

Aquarion Evol has been a guilty pleasure of mine for the past season.  For the most part, it’s all fluff: gratuitous mecha battles, thinly veiled sexual metaphors, and, of course, holes. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover the second half of episode 13 thought-provoking, and, dare I say, a downright mystical experience.

Read the rest of this entry

How to Kill a God

Now watch closely, everyone. I’m going to show you how to kill a god. A god of life and death. The trick is not to fear him.

- Lady Eboshi, “Princess Mononoke”

A common and compelling trope in anime is of characters challenging God.  In Princess Mononoke, for instance, Lady Eboshi attempts to literally kill a god.  And though more of the variety of the countless kami, the god she intends to kill is the Forest Spirit, who could represent a supreme God.  In other series, like the more controversial Angel Sanctuary and Neon Genesis Evangelion, the killing of God is more directly aimed at one God and often the Christian one.

Princess Mononoke

Eboshi risks life and limb (literally) to kill a God (Art by すう)

The irony is this – while these fictional characters risk everything in an attempt to kill God, the act has already been done.  And it’s been accomplished by God himself. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Crown Shuu with Crowns and Song, Fan Service in Church, and Rick Santorum Talks Boku no Pico

I grew up singing “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” but never a version like this!  The multi-talented Emily of Altair and Vega sings Draggle’s reworked lyrics to the hymn, conveying events in Guilty Crown episode 19 that paint Shuu as a Jesus figure. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Abilene Christian University professor, Richard Beck, discusses what might be viewed as fan service in the church. [Experimental Theology]:

Because it seems to me that a lot of churches are so beholden to American consumerism that they are almost wholly given over to fan service, if only to attract the ‘spiritual shopper.’

Inushinde pokes a little fun at Rick Santorum and his opinions on homosexuality through a satirical piece involving the presidential candidate and Boku no Pico. [Shinde Iie Anime Blog]

Jay gets a deal on Haibane Renmei and finds the show to be full of interesting commentary on sin. [Jays' Tee Vee]

On his personal blog, our own Zeroe4 completes his “Last Requiem” series regarding death, briefly referencing Eden of the East. [Zeroe4]

Jordan reviews the Jesus anime film, “My Last Day.” [The Otaku HQ]

And finally, though I’ve largely avoided discussion of Asura’s Wrath on this blog, I found Marlon Votta’s article about the game and it’s detractors (on religious grounds) to be interesting and worth mentioning. [INENTERTAINMENT]

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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.  Special thanks this week go out to Draggle, who tweeted me about Professor Beck’s post. 

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Gundam and Questions of Life and Death

There are only a couple of links this week, but they’re good ones:

Last week, I mentioned that Zeroe4 was beginning a series musing on death from a Christian perspective and in association with anime.  His post in the series sets up context, giving his feelings about life and death.  His next post in the series is really terrific, using anime like Code Geass, Death Note and particularly Gundam series to talk about war and more emphatically, the “war for our lives.” [Zeroe4]

Landon’s post about Samurai Pizza Cats is really a lament about college, including a section on an “evangelical atheist” professor who not only drove him crazy, but challenged his beliefs. [Mecha Guignol]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere 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. 

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Pokemon and Priests, Dreams of Crusading Anime, and Superflat Artist Tackles Buddha in Qatar

It appears to be Catholic week here at Beneath the Tangles, emphasized by a couple of blog posts relating Catholicism with anime:

I am not arguing that the Church is a lot like the Pokemon world. (Alright, I am.) But more than that: The natural cry of the human heart — as best shown in the desires of children — is answered by the life of the Church.

You read it right – a post at Bad Catholic connects Pokemon, of all series, to the Catholic Church.  But the blogger doesn’t stretch to fit a point – Marc’s post is a thoughtful one about order and hierarchy, which makes the argument given in the quote above.   He is an excellent writer and I encourage you to read the entire post. [Bad Catholic]

Ghostlightning tells his readers what kind of anime he’d love to see produced (and invites us to to join in with our suggestions) – his would heavily involved Catholicism.  If you know Ghostlighning, you’ll know that he’s knowledgeable about a world of things, including the Catholic Church.  [We Remember Love]

Ash Brown, a librarian, reviews Underground: The Tokyo Gas Attack and the Japanese Psyche, an English translation of noted Japanese account of the Tokyo sarin gas attack predicated  in 1995 by the religious cult, Aum Shikryo.  Ash is a terrific writer and his site is well worth a visit.  Also of note is that this book was frequently referred to in The Untold Story of Altair and Vega’s excellent colloquium series on Mawaru Penguindrum. [Experiments in Manga]

The always entertaining Monsieurr LaMoe definies chuunibyou and gives a variety of examples of chuuni, anime and otherwise.  Among his models are a number related to religion, including Christ himself, with the writer modifying scripture with the following verse [Anime Diet]:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a chuuni will never enter it.”

Artnet reports that famed artist, Takashi Murakami, who is known among other things for artwork that explores “sexual complexes of otaku culture” (Wikipedia), explores Buddhism in a new show in Qatar, just in time for Buddha’s birthday (February 15). [Artnet]

Zeroe4 introduces a series of post on death, in which he’ll muse on the subject from a Christian point of view while also relating anime to it. [Zeroe4]

Finally, although I’m a few weeks late on this one, it’s worth mentioning Cytrus’ post on a Yui-centered episode of Angel Beats.  He discusses a bit about the joyful aspects of the afterlife. [Yaranakya]

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere 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.  Special thanks this week to Don of Zoopraxiscope for the link to the Bad Catholic article.

A Word Fitly Spoken: Shikamaru in Naruto Shippuuden 153

It’s time for us to entrust things to others, not to be the ones to whom things are entrusted. It’s troublesome, but we can’t just keep complaining. Eventually you’ll be the one treating others to ramen. And you’ll be called ‘Naruto-sensei’ or something. We can’t just be rugrats (gaki) forever. Not if we want to become exceptional ninja like Asuma and Jiraiya-sama, that is.

- Nara Shikamaru, Naruto Shippuuden, episode 153

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

- Paul the apostle, II Cor 1:3-4 (NASB)

In my efforts to get caught up on Shippuuden sometime before I die, I had already been missing my favorite character in the series. Shikamaru had been absent for dozens of episodes, after all. But I couldn’t have asked for a finer speech from him, when he finally did appear again. I think the most powerful thing about Shikamaru’s speech, perhaps even more than its content, was the position from which he delivered it.

WARNING! Spoilers ahead! Proceed with caution if you have not watched at least until episode 133 of Naruto Shippuuden. Read the rest of this entry

AnoHana: The Sadness and Joy of it All

Thus that which is the most awful of evils, death, is nothing to us, since when we exist there is no death, and when there is death we do not exist.

                                       – Epicurus

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai has brought me more enjoyment than any show so far this season, due in no small part to a heavy theme that weighs on the characters’ shoulders (sometimes literally, as in the case of Poppo is episode 4).  It speaks to a belief that believers of most religions and even those who don’t practice an established religion believe – that after death, life goes on in some form.

Meiko Menma Honma

Art by 蓮見りな (Pixiv)

For those left behind, death of a loved one can be very painful.  At the very least, it can change one’s life – in the case of AnoHana, it apparently has changed the entire life courses of each of the main characters. Read the rest of this entry