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Digimon Adventure: The Skullgreymon in the Room

I recently watched the Digimon live stream of the entire first season. It was a pretty fun, nostalgic watch, especially reading all the live comments from other fans made for a more interesting experience. I realized several things about Digimon that ran counter to my thoughts based on a mixture of nostalgia, realism, and incorrect memories. I initially recall Digimon being slowly paced, but its pacing is actually pretty darn good. While suffering the syndrome of “monster of the week,” each episode provides necessary growth of the characters (in this case, literal digivolving). When you think about it, they put in 5 arcs into 54 episodes, which made for little downtime.

A fun fact I realized is the battle in the real world takes place in Odaiba, and the famous Tokyo Big Sight is featured several times. Since the time period was also early August, this further meant the battle occurred just prior to summer Comiket! The chat had some fun joking that Digimon was really about saving Comiket. Also, apparently the soundtrack abused Bolero a lot more than I recall. Sometimes it didn’t even make sense to be playing such a song but there it was, playing in the background. Aside from obvious usage of stock footage, I also realized Digimon is quite poorly animated at times. Abrupt scene transitions and points where a couple seconds were very clearly cut indicates that there were some production issues, or possibly simply due to episode time constraints and not caring how bad the results looked. There were numerous places I couldn’t help but admit “yeah, this is some really bad animation quality,” but hey it’s Digimon, one of my most nostalgic childhood shows, so whatever.


One of the most impactful moments in Digimon to me as a child was the digivolution of Greymon into Skullgreymon. Rewatching it was…well a lot less exciting than I recall. Instead, a statement later on is made that I must have forgotten. I recalled Taichi’s forced methods as a cause of Greymon’s incorrect evolution. However, the reason was slightly different in that it was an incorrect display of courage – but technically courage nonetheless. Taichi does display a form of courage, what his crest resembles, but it was one where he purposely put himself in danger for the sake of power. It was not the forceful actions but rather a twisted form of courage which gave birth to Skullgreymon.

Christianity is known for many things today, oftentimes bad things. There are too many outspoken people who call themselves Christians while spewing hate and slander towards others. It is amazing that these people can claim to love Jesus and God while wishing death upon others. It is perhaps an extreme, modern example of the Pharisees, except these people today do not even necessarily hold positions of power or education. They are merely people who put others down to raise themselves up, at least in their own minds. This cannot even be called a twisted form of love – it is malice, plain and simple.

But what about more “normal,” everyday Christians? There are plenty of examples of Christians who don’t condemn others. Some might not be able to help judging, but they do have enough self-control to stop themselves from acting on those thoughts. In fact, some Christians are so inclined to avoid conflict, they won’t even bring up these issues with their fellow Christians. And this avoidance is the opposite problem of condemning people who aren’t Christians. It is a problem that probably crosses the mind of most Christians at some point in time, but very few will actually bring the topic up, perhaps afraid of confrontation. Those who do are often quickly shut down with excuses like “it’s not a big deal.” And I’m not necessarily referring to extreme problems like murder but smaller, everyday sins that, while understandable, are nonetheless wrong.

Allowing such actions by fellow Christians to occur right in front of us might be called a form of love for them – we are willing to accept them despite their flaws, forget their struggles with sin, and focus only on loving them for who they are. But in reality, like Taichi’s twisted form of courage, this is a twisted form of love. Read the rest of this entry

My Favorite (Anime) Things, 2014

Every year, I revisit the lyrics for “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music and revise them to fit the anime I’ve watched and manga I’ve read over the previous years.  I do this just because I like it.  Maybe you’ll like it, too, and do what I do – sing the words below to that favorite holiday tune:

Child recitals by Kousei and Kaori;
Sphinx, bombs, tears, and riddles from Watanabe;
Ko and Futaba riding in blue spring;
These are a few of my favorite things.

zankyou no terror episode 8

Rin and Haruka in the land down under;
SAO 2 wasn’t wholly a blunder;
Return of a female Brittania king;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Rin and Haruka

When Naruto ends,
So does Claymore,
And it makes me sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Announcing a return to Highton View Terrace;
Shinbo’s romcom I certainly did cherish;
One week amnesia and angst it did bring;
These are a few of my favorite things.


Going to the last film by Miyazaki;
Munching on yum treats like mochi and Pocky;
Nisekoi’s OP always makes me sing;
These are a few of my favorite things.


When the season’s bad,
And ClariS disbands,
When I’m feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Something More: Magi Love, Christian Lessons from Naruto, and Kill La Kill Buddhism

While shows like Your Lie in April and Wolf Girl and Black Prince continue to give great material for spiritual discussion, it’s interesting that some series with big moves on the horizon – Naruto with a final movie upcoming and Digimon with a return of it’s season one characters – also provide opportunities to discuss religion in posts this past week.

Magi’s Mogamett is a complex character, not least of which because the love he demonstrates isn’t in line with an active, kind love, as discussed in Paul’s famous writing about the topic in I Corinthians 13. [Anime Monographia]

Buddhist principles of breaking cycles of suffering and power can be found in Kill la Kill. [Anime Commentary on the March]

Takayama Ukon, who was a Japanese general some 400 years ago (and who has been featured as a character in several anime), could be up for beatification next year. [Aliens in This World]

Kit reports that her Shinto panel at Nekocon went well, and that the inaugural issue of Kotoshiro, a Shinto journal, is accepting submissions. [Fox of Hearts]

The folks at Geeks Under Grace reflect upon Naruto, whose manga run just recently ended, and the Christian lessons it helped instill in them. [Geeks Under Grace]

Cooper finds scant religious content to expound upon in his review of Digimon Adventure, which “failed to meet some of [his] expectations but exceeded in others.” [2]

The reveal of Princess Serenity in Sailor Moon Crystal speaks of an individual’s awakening to their own sin in light of grace. [3]

Kousei’s faith in Kaori might mirror a Christian’s faith in Christ. [4]

Meanwhile, his lament about the piano in episode five of Your Lie in April reminds us of the importance of each gift we’re given. [Christian Anime Review]

Erika and Sata’s relationship in Wolf Girl and Black Prince brings to mind the Parable of the Sower. [2]

How does “honor your mother and father work” when they’ve stepped over some boundary, as with Asuna defying her mother in episode 19 of Sword Art Online 2? [3]

Christian disciplines, along with marathoning Daily Lives of High School Boys and Meganebu!, are among the things Annalyn does for refreshment. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

In the Answerman column, Justin Sevakis rants about how many rally against voice actors, convention guests, and others, with Vic Mignogna (well known for his “conservative Christian” stances and thoughts) as the prime example. [Anime News Network]

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.  Thanks to Medieval Otaku this week – it’s through his blog that I found the Kill la Kill article]

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).


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

Read the rest of this entry

The Stigma of an Anime Divorce

In multitudes of anime series, the children largely have free reign, and often in very dangerous situations.  One or both parents are nowhere to be seen – they’re either just not part of the script or one is deceased.  TV Tropes calls it “parental abandonment.”

What’s rarer than deceased anime parents is finding those that are divorced or separated.  In my list of anime I’ve watched, I could think of very few examples (some series I haven’t seen that include this storyline are Sailor Moon, Captain Tsubasa, Soul Eater and Mirai Nikki).  And oftentimes, the split is either played for laughs (Marmalade Boy) or to create a dramatic, tragic story.  Very few times is it played out, well, normally, as with Takeru and Yamato’s parents in Digimon and Kouki’s parents in Usagi Drop.

Digimon T.K. and Matt

Art by こな@ついったたた

The divorce rate in Japan is much lower than than in the U.S., but it’s still significant at 27% – and it’s rising.  There must be a variety of reasons for this lack of representation in anime, not least of all lack of entertainment value.  But I also think the following also has to do with it:

There is still a stigma attached to divorce that can lead to a lifetime of hardship. Some elite private schools reject children from single-parent homes. Many employers try to avoid hiring divorced women if they can help it. But this has changed quite a bit in recent years as divorce has become more common.

– Facts and Details (Divorce in Japan)

Although this stigma is less strong in the U.S., and even less so in other western countries, it’s still there.  And a lot of times, the feeling of guilt impressed upon divorced couples comes from Christians.  Those who are supposed to be most loving are the ones who shame divorced men and women. Read the rest of this entry

The First Day of Christmas Anime: Digimon

Digimon Adventure 02
Episode 38:  “Holy Night the Big Digimon Reunion!” /  “A Very Digi Christmas”

Characters from season one (not two), but hey, its the better season anyway...

The Christmas Story

Note: All the names are and plot points reflect the Fox Kids dubbing, since that’s the once I’m familiar with.

As the episode begins, Ken, now a member of the team, shyly invites the other to his Christmas party.  The Digidestined accept, as “Davis Claus” also leads a plan to present the original Digidestined team their Digimon for Christmas.

After reuniting with their Digimon, Tai, Sora, Jyou and Izzy (and Jun, too, of course!) go to a concert Matt’s band (THE TEEN-AGE WOLVES) is throwing (Note: the band sounds soooo 90’s – they remind me of Spin Doctors).  But the music is interrupted when a control spire appears and Digimon run rampant.  The rest of the kids, who are playing cards at Ken’s party, soon join the older group in sending the Digimon back to the Digi-World.  Everyone gets a good night’s rest with their digital friends, but awake in the morning to find that control spire have appeared around the world, beginning the Digimon World Tour arc.

While this episode isn’t particularly Christmas-y (no Santa Claus, Christmas cakes, or snow – and certainly no Christian symbols), it does present us with some Christmas spirit-y moments. Read the rest of this entry

“Shikigami! Descend, O Great One!” Spiritual Gifts Personified in Onmyou Taisenki

If you’re like me, sometimes you watch an anime that doesn’t seem all that great, but for some reason captures your imagination anyway. Perhaps you realize why only later. For me, Onmyou Taisenki (“The Great Battle of Yin and Yang”) was such a show.

The premise of the anime is nothing that hadn’t been explored before in shows such as Digimon. Humans called 闘神士 toujinshi form contracts with animal-like guardian spirits known as 式神 shikigami. The toujinshi uses a colorful gun-like “drive” to cooperate with the shikigami, in order to fight either demons or other toujinshi-shikigami pairs. Further, the shikigami (and, by extension, their toujinshi) belong to either the 天流 tenryuu (“Heaven Style”) or the 地流 chiryuu (“Earth Style”), with other affinities toward certain seasons and elements. In this manner a great dualistic battle plays out, with strong Taoist overtones.

Three koujin sequences for the price of one:  the toujinshi Tachibana Riku, Asuka Yuuma, and Oogami Masaomi call out Byakko-no Kogenta, Byakko-no Rangetsu, and Seiryuu-no Kibachiyo, their respective shikigami

Read the rest of this entry


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