The idea of “becoming a god” is a frequent trope in anime. A character gains some sort of power or ability and often maniacally uses it for evil and he becomes, in his own mind, a god. Sometimes, though, a character becomes godlike without falling into that madman mentality. There are a few abilities that remind me of God himself – not simply super strength or invisibility or flight, but something more insane, something that can change existence itself. In Charlotte, Shunsuke has such an ability – “time leap.” And in episode ten, Yuu plunders it and becomes godlike himself.
The results of the episode demonstrate exactly why this power is so immense – not that, as a viewer, I’m complaining. It was lovely to see Shunsuke’s sacrifice (one that was more easy for viewers to consume than, say, Okabe’s more fatalistic time leaping in Steins;gate), the comeuppance that Ayumi’s attacker received, and Ayumi herself being rescued by Yuu. But we also see how calculated everything was – how each time he leapt, Shunsuke was able to more easily bend people and experiences to his will because of his foreknowledge, and then later how Yuu did the same to rescue his sister. Instead of wielding some invisible strings, which is sometimes what people think of God, Yuu uses time and relationships to move toward the ending he desired.
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Christians as Black Rock Shooters, Kiritsugu’s Wish in a Sinful World, and a Religion of No Underpants
Zeroe4 elegantly compares to the world of Black★Rock Shooter to ours and calls us all “Black Rock Shooters of sorts.” [Zeroe4]
John predicts the new Bible manga will be useful for some, but lacking for others. [AnimeNation]
Katherine discusses the idea of humanity, free will, and choosing evil in examining the result of Kiritsugu’s wish, if it comes true. [GAR GAR Stegosaurus]
Bianca Montes of UT-Arlington’s student newspaper gives us some family background (including that she is “rocking a few tattoos as a Christian”) to contextualize the idea of openness and tolerance she identified in her first visit to an anime convention. [The Shorthorn]
And finally, something would be amiss if I didn’t mention Draggle and friends’ thoughtful study and theories about…the lack of underpants and religious practice in Queen’s Blade society. Here are some particularly delightful snippets from the collaborative effort [Draggle’s Anime Blog]:
Much like the Israelites wandering in the wilderness of Canaan were forbidden from worshipping idols after they repeatedly tried to do so, the religion of Queen’s Blade actively forbade pants as blasphemous and idolatrous after women, possessed by demons, began to wear them. Clearly, the god of Queen’s Blade is a pervert. There will be no virgin birth in this world.
As the series has shown us, males are inherently unholy creatures. They are unable to partake in the worship of god and wear pants (a mark of the unclean) shamelessly.
In a society concerned primarily with fertility and the worship thereof, it makes sense that pants would be eschewed. After all, pants get in the way of both the sexual act of fertilizing the egg, and the worship of the sacred bearer of fertility.
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Christian Manga for Earthquake Victims, Free Will in Mirai Nikki, and Happy Science Anime!
It’s been a particularly busy week in spiritual stories related to anime, specifically involving organizations. Let’s get right to it!
Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC) is beginning distribution of Risk Ride, a manga purposed to address those filled with hopelessness upon the one-year anniversary of the massive Japanese earthquake and possibly thinking of suicide. Illustrated by a mangaka who lost her infant to SIDS in the months before last year’s quake and written by a member of CCC staff, the manga follows two motorcyclist friends on a journey. Missionaries will distribute the manga and open conversation using the piece, which points readers toward Christ. [Christian Post]
Pluralistic Japanese religious group, Happy Science, announced plans to release an anime film, “The Mystical Laws,” in October. Directed by Cowboy Bebop set designer, Isamu Imakake, the movie will be based upon the book by Ryuho Okawa, the religion’s founder and Messiah-figure. The plot is interesting and certainly very anime-like, so I’ll be interested in seeing the ratio of entertainment to propoganda in this feature. [Anime News Network]
Akira mentions the prevalence of Christian schools in anime, providing historical background and drawing connections between missionary schools and the elite in Japan. [Moe Fundamentalism]
Zeroe4, one of our bloggers, continues his series “Under the Mask of Lies” on his other blog by comparing Puella Magi Madoka Magica to living the Christian life [Zeroe4]:
When someone first becomes a Christian, everything is amazing and wonderful. Their hearts are on fire, but soon after the enemy tries to wipe out that fire. They then learn to fight.
In analyzing episode 22 of Mirai Nikki, draggle discusses the heavy topics of free will, rules of the universe, and the omnipotence of God. I was about to respond to one point in regards to omnipotence, but of course, draggle mentioned much of what I said just a little further down the page [Draggle’s Anime Blog]:
The second answer (and the one I find more interesting) is that God can create a rock he can’t lift. And God can lift the rock which he can’t lift! An omnipotent God created the laws of space, time and nature, but these laws do not bind him; only his creation. So it seems plausible to assume that God also created the laws of logic, and is not bound by them either. He’s omnipotent, after all.
Draggle also continues with his neat series of posts on Guilty Crown featuring his revision of a hymn (in this week’s post, it’s “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”) as sung by another blogger (this week it’s Anya). The lyrics and his commentary analyze some of the (over-the-top? too obvious?) religious symbolism in the show. [Draggle’ Anime Blog]
Wikketkrikket analyzes Absolute Boyfriend and Ai Love You, examining the nature of humanity, taking a Christian point of view. [Wikketkrikket]
Marina reflects on an episode of Natsume Yuujinchou that revolves around a Moon Splitting Festival. [Anime B&B]
Sweetpea reviews Osamu Tezuka’s masterpiece, Buddha, and comes away thinking she need to adjust her ratings of other manga a little lower. [Paper Chimes]
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.
“I have always loved you,” says the LORD. But you retort, “Really? How have you loved us?”…(Malachi 1:2)
When I was a child, it seemed silly to me that God would put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. If he knew Adam and Eve would disobey him, why did he give them the chance? I’ve eventually come to understand why: that God decided to give us the choice. He allowed us to stray from him. He didn’t have to give us free will, but he did.
I didn’t think that an anime called Princess Tutu would make me ponder that again. It was a long time before I decided to take a chance with what seemed like an average magic girl anime. Happily, I was wrong. Princess Tutu has a unique kind of storytelling that draws from many different fairy tales and ballets, searching deeper into the somewhat darker themes in them that it’s easy to miss. It tells the story of a town where reality and fantasy have been melded together. This happened when two enemies, a noble Prince and an evil Raven, leave the unfinished story they had fought in. The Prince manages to seal away the Raven, but shatters his heart into many pieces to accomplish this. The story comes to a stand-still, and the Prince becomes devoid of all emotion.
Draggle discusses Himari’s comments in episode 19 of Mawaru Penguindrum about not amounting to anything in terms of free will.
Omo uses The Passion of the Christ to illustrate a point about how viewers watch anime.
Animekritic briefly mentions an allusion to Mary (mother of Christ) in his recent post on Narutaru.
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.