Blog Archives

Your Lie in April Episode 4: Kira, Kira

Let’s go on a journey.

After this episode, I do believe I’m as out of breath as Kaori and Kousei are.

In episode four of Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso), our duo takes to the stage, and as expected, have troubles.  Kousei again loses the ability to hear music as he overthinks, especially about his mother.  But when Kaori decides to stop her performance and start again, Kousei is able to focus on her, and the two create a duel of sorts that brings the audience to it’s feet (before Kaori falls off of her’s).

april 4b

Throughout the episode, the theme of a “journey” is brought forth time and time again.  Kousei realizes that Kaori is bringing him somewhere.  Although he was a prodigy, Kousei had never known the music he played with intimacy, instead focusing on perfecting it technically as ordered by his mom.  Actually, that’s not quite true – a flashback shows that at one time, when Kousei was just beginning, he understood the beauty of music (as did his mother before her condition occurred or worsened), the magic of it – the kira kira in it.  But along the way, he lost that, and music became something to master rather than to enjoy and know.

Kaori is leading Kousei on this journey as one who understands the nature of music.  She has a relationship with it – something dynamic, as seen by how she approaches pieces.  And though she points to music as the journey, Kaori actually functions as music itself.  As Kousei comments, “This girl is the journey – [she's] freedom itself.”

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Celestial Method Episode 4: Reality of the Saucer

Isn’t it interesting that the only character in Celestial Method (Sora no Method) who’s not bitter or hurt (or both) is the one with the most tragic back story?

Episode four of Celestial Method takes us further into the backgrounds and relationships of our core group of former friends.  It begins with yet another slapping of Nonoka and ends with virtually all the reasoning behind the broken friendships explained.

Ultimately, the characters are unhappy because they lost what they once had.  Yuzuki is angry at having lost the specialness of Kiriya City’s culture and trust with Koharu and Sota.  Koharu is sad that she’s lost her bond with Yuzuki.  Sota is at a lost of what to do about his sister.  And Shione, as shown in episode three, is bitter at Nonoka, a friend and a girl that she looked up to, leaving her.

All of this brokenness can be traced back to Nonoka and the calling of the saucer.  Yuzuki is the only one of the group that’s vocally against the saucer, going to extreme lengths to try to build opposition to it.  She’s angry at what it’s appearance has caused.  Koharu is perhaps at the other end, with what appears to be her family shop thriving because of it’s saucer-related, touristy merchandise; her family uses the saucer.  And Shione and Sota seem to largely ignore it, focusing their emotion and attention, rather, on relationships.

It’s interesting how each regards the saucer phenomenon.  None of these postures can be maintained, however, when they come face to face with Noel, the personification of the saucer itself.  They regard her as an individual.  They listen to her, consider her, and even embrace her.

sora 4a

When you’re face to face with reality, with a real person, you often forget the ideas about the individual that have developed in your mind over time.  Have you ever done that with a person?  Maybe you have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time, and past bitterness or prejudices about him or her overtake your thoughts, and your brain develops a caricature of that person that’s immediately swept away when you’re reunited.

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Something More: Christians in Manga, Father God in Hanayamata, and SAO’s Garden of Eden

As the new season moves forward, it looks a bit top-heavy, with Unlimited Blade Works, Mushishi and a few others already being raved about.  Frank talks about Mushishi below, though most of the rest of these weeks’ links point to shows of yesteryear (or at least last season).

In the new season of Mushishi, Frank see lessons in how Christians should feel secure, even though not at “home.” [A Series of Miracles]

Hanayamata provides an opportunity for Medieval Otaku to discuss the inaccurate view so many have of God as Father. [Medieval Otaku]

In Amakusa 1637, D.M. Dutcher finds a manga focusing on Japanese Christians and providing a fair and accurate depiction of them. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

He also provides his review of the opening episode of Gonna Be the Twin-Tails!! for Christian viewers. [2]

Rob finds allusions to the Garden of Eden in episode 15 of Sword Art Online. [Christian Anime Review]

Casey review episodes 14-25 of Attack on Titan for Christian viewers. [Geeks Under Grace]

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.

Your Lie in April Episode 3: Accompany Me

I haven’t perused other Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso) posts, but my guess is that bloggings about this series, and maybe especially episode three, are full of personal accounts of anibloggers reflecting on times when they performed at musical competitions with accompaniment.  I participated in recitals and such when I was young, too, and that connection is really nice to relate to in the show.

But perhaps even more relatable, and certainly more universal, is Kousei’s reason for not wanting to accompany Kaori – for not wanting to play piano at all.  On a surface level, if you’re like a lot of my friends, you might remember music lessons as harsh or unenjoyable.  Or striking a deeper nerve, you might remember disappointing others, like your parents.  You might even recall a major failure in your life, as when Kousei broke down in the middle of a competition.

Kousei, of course, reveals in this episode another reason – fear.  He’s afraid to move forward, paralyzed into resting position, as it were, and unable to keep moving forward because he fears what it will eventually lead to.

Kaori Miyazono

All these things that Kousei is dealing with are real problems.  Just as with you and me, they are obstacles that he’ll have difficulty overcoming – if he chooses to overcome that at all.

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Your Lie in April Episode 2: I Stand Amazed

Oh, my.  I think this is the series I’ve been waiting for my whole life.

Kaori Miyazono

Episode two of Your Lie in April takes us past the mere introductions of episode one and shows us what the two main characters are all about.  Kousei is further revealed as a damaged young man, traumatized by his mother’s death (and by her life) – and yet as someone who is intentionally kind.  Kaori, the free spirit, demonstrates both her talent and personality through performance, and shows us a hidden timidity as well.

Kaori’s version draws the attention of everyone in the auditorium – in a negative way by sticklers, but in a very positive way by other judges, the audience, and her friends.  Kousei is especially moved.  Although he find Kaori annoying, and reminds himself of such, that isn’t the conclusion he reaches about her.  Ultimately, he decides this:

She is beautiful.

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Claymore, Final Chapter (155): The Gospel According to Teresa

It’s here – the end is nigh!  A wonderful, amazing, long-running manga has finally come to a close.

No, not that one.  No, I’m writing about Claymore.

At the end of September, and after a 13-year-run, Claymore finally concluded.  So obviously, it took me almost two weeks to finally get around to reading the last chapter.  But I must say, though the last entire half of Claymore hasn’t nearly lived up to the first half, the final few chapters were very, very good.

But maybe I’m just saying that because I feel they reflect something even greater than the manga itself.

If you’ve been reading the last few months, you’ll notice that Teresa of the Faint Smile, whose shocking death brought notoriety to Claymore many years ago, has returned.  Clare has transformed into her mentor, and Teresa, the strongest claymore to have ever lived, is the only one powerful enough to finally destroy Priscilla.

teresa of the faint smile claymore form

Teresa, sounding quite godly

But is it really Teresa who is victorious?  Well, it is and it isn’t.  In an internal dialogue, Teresa explains that she appeared because Clare’s wishes for and about her, and because of all that Clare had done – improving herself and building community with those around her.  Because of all this, Teresa was able to reappear.  And though Teresa’s physical embodiment will now disappear completely, she’ll remain with Clare in spirit, continuing to be with her.  And as Clare embraces her mentor – indeed, her mother figure – she knows this to be true – Teresa will always be with her.

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Something More: Good Librarians and the Good Shepherd, SAO Friendship, and Moe Buddhist Girl Figures

A new season of anime is here!  Although it may be too early to judge it, at the very least, there’s a lot of excitement in the air for new shows, with fewer sequels and more originals this season, including one that Frank talks about below in our lead-off article this week:

Frank finds a lesson of how Christians should imitate the Good Shepherd in the opening episode of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. [A Series of Miracles]

Rob finds that episode 14 of Sword Art Online provides some insight into friendship from a Christian perspective. [Christian Anime Review]

He also looks at the roles of the church body as he reviews episode six of Sailor Moon Crystal. [2]

D.M. Dutcher calls Canon “an interesting shoujo manga with some Christian-friendly themes.” [Cacao, put down he shovel!]

Casey dives into volume one of the Attack on Titan manga, providing a review that’s helpful for discerning Christians. [Geeks Under Grace]

And finally, I forgot to post a link to this article a few weeks ago, but it’s still worth sharing – the moe temple is now selling figures of moe Buddhist anime girls. Yep. [RocketNews24]

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.

Sora No Method, Episode 1: Clumsy Kids

Do you remember what it was like to be a child?  The innocence, the earnestness?  Anime sometimes features child characters, as in Usagi Drop or Aishiteruzehe m Baby.  But in episode one of Sora no Method, we’re introduced to a character that isn’t quite that young, and still exhibits those important childlike characteristics.

Nonoka, having returned home with her dad (and without her mom, who seems to have passed away), finds a girl waiting in her home.  Noel, as she calls herself, is excited to see Nonoka, who had promised to return to her, but for the latter, Noel is nothing but trouble, making messes and then, apparently, breaking a picture frame containing an important photograph of her mom.  In a fit, Nonoka yells at Noel, telling her she never wants to see her again.  Later, Nonoka is guilt-ridden when she realized that Noel wasn’t the one that broke the frame.

sora no method

Noel perfectly exhibits what a young child is like.  She loves, but is clumsy in her efforts, as can be seen with the poor job she did in trying to wash away stains she made in Nonoka’s room.  And she takes Nonoka at her word, waiting for it to be fulfilled day after day, year after year.  Nonoka no longer has that sense of innocence – she’s more like a parent (and cares for her dad, in some ways, as a wife), so it doesn’t hit her until later that Noel was being incredibly sweet.

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Planetarian: An Analysis (Part One)

Today, on Beneath the Tangles, we’re proud to present the first of three guest posts about Planetarian from James, a gaming blogger.  Check out today’s post and return Wednesday and Thursday for the rest of the series!

Recently, planetarian ~the reverie of a little planet~ —featured on BtT’s own list of recommended visual novels—was released on Steam. After reading it (and drying my tears), I was inspired to write this essay. If you haven’t already experienced the novel yourself, I encourage you to head over to Steam and download it—$10 is a pretty sweet deal, after all. (spoilers below)

Despite its short length, Planetarian’s story is striking indeed. The apparent disproportion between the novel’s simplicity and its emotional power led me to wonder, why did this story touch me so? Before I can give my answer, though, it is necessary for me to spend some time talking about the pervasive spiritual themes that are present in the story. As such, the purpose of Part One is to draw attention to these themes.

Upon reading Planetarian with a careful eye it quickly becomes evident that the story is filled with religious elements, the most obvious example of this being the novel’s ongoing discussion of prayer and Heaven. It begins when the Junker, in an offhand remark, suggests to Yumemi that she pray to God that the projector be repaired in time for the next day’s 11:00 AM presentation. Yumemi, dutiful robot that she is, promptly asks in response, “Which god should I pray to, then?” A lengthy and somewhat humorous exchange follows in which Yumemi decides she should pray to Dionysus because the Junker would like him best, to which he replies that she should instead pray to “the god of robots.” After scanning her data banks for this entity, she declares: “I cannot find the information you have requested in my base databases or in my accumulated databases.”

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Something More: Skip Beat Dependance and Christian Encouragement of Climb

After the plethora of posts last week, we only have two for this week’s column.  But fret not, they’re both wonderful articles by terrific writers.

Frank draws some significant lessons involving the journey of faith from the first four episodes of season two of Encouragement of Climb. [A Series of Miracles]

Annalyn looks back toward Skip Beat, all the way to the first episode, where she sees Kyoko’s dependance on Sho as something symptomatic in our culture. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

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.