Blog Archives

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 11

In episode 11, our beloved host, Charles/TWWK (wait… what?), will be interviewing JP/Japes featuring questions about Japan submitted by you, our readers and listeners! Just like last month, JP is still working in Japan, and so this episode will focus on his impressions based on his time in Kanazawa.

Thanks for listening! Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed! Also, be sure to email us with any questions you would like included in our “Listener Mail” portion, including the name you would like stated in the podcast and your website or blog for us to share!

Time Stamps:
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 0:54
Otaku Diet – 1:25
Q&A – 5:13
Closer – 1:00:36
Blooper – 1:01:25

Direct Download

And check out the pictures below from JP’s time in Japan – many match the sites he mentions in this episode:

The courtyard at my school. The school, despite being a college, looks just like the stereotypical Japanese high school!

The courtyard at my school. The school, despite being a college, looks just like the stereotypical Japanese high school!

Kenrokuen, probably the most famous tourist spot in Kanazawa!

Kenrokuen, probably the most famous tourist spot in Kanazawa!

Kanazawa Castle... or what remains of it anyway.

Kanazawa Castle… or what remains of it anyway.

Read the rest of this entry

Help Requested: We Need Your Questions for Japes in Japan

As you may know from last month’s The Tangles, Japes is currently in Japan working on a summer internship. For a forthcoming podcast, I’ll be asking Japes questions about his experiences, and we’d love for you to join in as well!  Please comment below with questions you might like Japes to answer.  Here are some ideas:

  • Personal: Ask Japes about why and what’s doing in the land of the rising sun
  • Culture and People: Ask about Japes experiences with the Japanese
  • True or False: Does Japan live up to the ideas we may have about the country here in the west?
  • Anime: What is anime and anime fandom like in Japan?
  • Religion: What is it like being a Christian in a non-Christian nation?

Add to that anything else you’d like to know!  Thank you in advance – we appreciate your participation!

Edit: We’re all set now, so we’re closed for further questions. Thanks for your questions, all!

Something More: Noragami Religion, Hopeless Black Butler, and Persecuting Naruto

The past two weeks have been overwhelming in terms of just how many articles have been posted relating to anime and religion/spirituality.  There’s so much to dig into – I hope you have as much fun reading through these articles as I did!

Are you headed to SuperCon at the end of this month?  If so, check out our own Samuru’s panel, “Finding God in Anime and Video Games.” [Gaming and God]

Part of what makes Noragami a fascinating series is how it tells us quite a bit about modern religion in Japan. [Fantastic Memes]

In times of weakness and pain, there we can find strength in something (or hopefully, someone) greater. Just see Iwasawa from Angel Beats as an example. [Old Line Elephant]

Speaking of Angel Beats, the most direct reference to God in the show is from Takeyama, who wants people to call him “Christ.”  Mmm…not so fast. [2]

Ciel from Black Butler believes that some people are beyond redemption…but the Bible and many examples from within (like Job) and without (St. Augustine) prove otherwise. [3]

The complete story of Oscar, as presented in Rose of Versailles, reminds us of the value of life itself. [Mage in a Barrel]

In response to Anime Reporter’s essay on homosexuality and the referendum for marriage quality in Ireland, aniblogger JekoJeko takes the question from a Christian point of view [Unnecessary Exclamation Mark!]

D.M. Dutcher offers some advice for Christian speculative fiction writers using Bubblegum Crisis as a basis. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

For Christians who feel persecution, they might find an odd bedfellow in Naruto. [Lady Teresa Christina]

The world of Haibane Renmei without a doubt shares some ideologies with Christianity. [Kidd’s Anime Blog]

I’m a month late on this article, but it’s more than worth linking to

Oregairu’s Hayato as Satan? In a sense… [Christian Anime Review]

Wiseman from Sailor Moon perhaps has some similarities to 2 Thessalonians’ man of lawlessness. [2]

Episode 3 of Re-Kan! gives us that common anime scene of a character who refuses to cry, then breaks down.  But why the resistance?  After all, “Jesus wept.” [3]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

Untangled: How Should a Christian React at a Japanese Shrine?

In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers.  Today’s question/comes courtesy of Hannah, who dives into anime, animation, and writing on her site, Lady Hannah Beth:

I take the martial art aikido in California at a Christian dojo, however, I am moving to Hawaii very soon and I would like to keep doing my aikido. I’ve looked at pictures of the new dojo in Hawaii on Facebook and my current Sensi says that the have a shinto shrine in the room where they practice. I heard Japes on the last podcast as he passed many shrines and buddhist graveyards on his walk while in Japan. My question is, as Christians, what should our reaction be when we come face to face with a shrine or we feel we are in a situation that seams spiritually off?

Japes seems to be the appropriate person to respond to this query – here’s what he had to say:

Hi Hannah,

This is a very common problem for many Christians who either have an interest in Japan, or end up going there for some other reason. I may, perhaps, be a bit on the liberal end of the spectrum in my answer, so take it with a grain of salt, but I can offer a bit of what my experiences have led me to believe.

When I visit these places, shrines (Shinto) and temples (Buddhist) in particular, I narrow down my response to two main influences:

  1. Am I compromising my beliefs?
  2. Am I compromising my community?

In answering the first question, everyone is a bit different. I’ve met Christians who believe that they feel a demonic presence at, for instance, Shinto shrines, and refuse to walk through the torii (the iconic Japanese gates) for fear of demonic influence. It is beyond the scope of this post and beyond my personal ability to judge whether or not these feelings are “accurate,” but I know that I feel differently. I personally LOVE visiting Shinto shrines for much the same reason I like visiting parks or gardens: they are purposefully placed in beautiful locations and kept to maintain some sense of that natural beauty. When I visit, I feel that I can thank God for the beautiful nature that He has created. Read the rest of this entry

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 10

For episode 10, JP (Japes) will be giving a bit of a commentary on his impressions of life in Japan and what it means for a Christian otaku. The episode takes place on the scene, in the mountains of Kanazawa, Japan, and due to this drastic change in topic and formula, the episode is significantly shorter than usual. Next month’s episode, episode 11, will also feature a different podcast layout, but will include both Charles (TWWK) and JP (Japes). Thanks for listening! Feel free to stream the episode below, subscribe on iTunes, or check out our RSS feed! Also, be sure to email us with any questions you would like included in our “Listener Mail” portion, including the name you would like stated in the podcast and your website or blog for us to share!

Time Stamps:
Intro – 0:00
Announcements – 1:05
Otaku Diet – 1:51
Closer – 33:36

Direct Download

Anime Today: Experiencing Context

If you listened to our latest episode of The Tangles Podcast, you probably know that I am soon headed to the land of Japan. Actually, within 24 hours of this article going live, I will be on a plane crossing the Pacific (God willing).

On a somewhat disconnected note (I promise it will make sense soon), I’ve also recently noticed a trend in my viewing habits this season: 6 of the 8 anime I am currently following follow Japanese school life. In fact, as I’ve perused my MyAnimeList profile, I’ve noted that many of my favorites come from this genre.

Kiniro 1

Now how do these previous two paragraphs connect? Quite simply, actually. For the three months I will be in Japan, I will be working as an intern for a Japanese university, assisting in English instruction, among many other things. The thing that I most love about school life anime, namely the the reflection of genuine Japanese culture (sugar coated and fictionalized, to be sure), is exactly what I will be experiencing firsthand.

Obviously I’ve been granted a somewhat rare opportunity to gain this experience, and definitely not one that many of our readers will experience, so how does this relate to you? This upcoming experience has brought me to the conclusion that for someone to have a true passion, that must have the passion to develop a holistic understanding of whatever the object of that passion is. For my roommate this past academic year, one of those passions was Star Wars, thus he was highly engrossed in many products of the Star Wars expanded universe. For me, that passion is Japanese culture, and one natural consequence of this is my desire to experience life in Japan as I shall be this summer.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Maria Watches Over Japan, Eschatology of Korra, and a New Christian Anime Forum

As another anime season draws to an end, it’s time to get excited about new series around the corner! But before that, we have season and series finales coming up, and with the importance that ideas like salvation, grace, and transformation play in many anime, it’s a rich time to dig into spiritual topics as expressed through some of our favorite shows!

Many Christian geeks will proudly display their Naruto gear, but aren’t so open about faith. What does say about them? What’s the response? [The Budding Philosopher]

And on that tangent, why do Christians often separate the nerd side of themselves from the “Christian” part? [Believers and Fandoms]

In shows like Maria the Virgin Witch and Maria Watches Over Us, we get a glimpse into how much the Japanese know of Catholicism, and how they view it. [Eugene Woodbury’s Blog]

The Legend of Korra tackles eschatology, or the religious perspective on end times. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The “Sneak Entry” arc of Bleach contains some religious content and themes (perhaps not enough) for Christians, if you like the series enough to look past it’s shortcomings. [Geeks Under Grace]

Episode 17 of Your Lie in April demonstrates the way Christians should show friendship to one another. [2]

And speaking of Your Lie in April, have you noticed it’s similarities to Kids on the Slope?  Not least of all is a Christian message of sharing love. [Famous Rose]

D.M. Dutcher highly recommends Figure 17, and finds it mostly safe to watch for Christians. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

A new Christian otaku community has sprung up.  Here, the founder reflects on the significance of “wholesome” anime. [Christianime]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

 

Something More: Kill la Cross, Madoka’s Universal Church, and Sailor Moon Mythology

Welcome to the first of our more sporadic version of Something More.  The blogosphere has been resplendent in it’s spiritual-related articles the last couple of week, regarding anime series both current and classic.

Christian symbolism runs rampant in Kill la Kill, as do opportunities to discuss Christian themes and ideas, particularly as they relate to clothing, in the series. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The Spice and Wolf light novels paint God as malicious, but does this really to his true character? [Medieval Otaku]

Christianity plays a role, at least superficially, in countless anime series, as Eugene Woodbury states:

At the same time, in terms of theology, the suggestively Catholic Haibane Renmei can stand beside any of C.S. Lewis’s work as a powerful Christian parable. The same is true of anime such as Madoka Magica and Scrapped Princess, though you may have to look harder to see through the metaphors.

But he also goes on to suggest that the Japanese view toward the faith may rather reveal a positive view for many of the country’s feelings toward religion as compared to western ones. [Eugene’s Blog]

Speaking of Madoka, Woodbury recently explained that the series is “an exploration of the doctrine of universal reconciliation.” [2]

Is Mushi-shi a fatalistic series? Perhaps quite the contrary… [Organizational ASG]

To the tune of Christian themes, there’s more to A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd than meets the eye. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Sailor Moon draws more than merely character names from Greco-Roman mythology. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

And continuing with Sailor Moon, episode 14 of Sailor Moon Crystal emphasizes the power of prayer…even if it is to the Crystal Tower. [Geeks Under Grace]

The dividing of the girls in episode 5 of KanColle brings to mind the discomfort the early Christians must have felt as they started their mission. [2]

As part of the Something More series of posts, 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 to be included.

Christian Love in the Nana Fan Base

A year ago, I wrote about how God’s love could be compared to that of a yandere. This year I’d like to make another kind of comparison on the topic of love, but instead of focusing on God, I want to focus on Christians and our love for God. Our love for God is, or at least should be, the greatest emotion we can possibly offer. It is a love which drives us to worship Him, follow Him, strive to be like Him, and serve Him. Anime loves to depict similarly idealistic characters – from the main character who always has to help others to the school idol who is loved by the entire school to the deredere archetype that is just helplessly in love with another. Anime, and people in general, love the idea of love.

But in real life, these ideals often fall apart. Especially in Japan, people who reflect even a fraction of such ideals are hard to come by. It is a sad irony in that although Japanese people can be so friendly on the surface, their hearts are so disconnected from each other. But while they may fail to emulate the type of godly, unconditional love which Christians (should) have, that doesn’t mean similarities don’t exist. And while rare, such a type of love is something which the Japanese are drawn to.

Nowhere have I seen this more than among the Nana Mizuki fandom. Perhaps my view is skewed since, well, I don’t pay nearly as much attention to any other fandom, and as a whole, the otaku culture in Japan has a fascinating difference in lifestyle compared to most other Japanese (but that’s a different topic for a similar phenomenon). In my short time in Japan, with moderate interaction with other Nana fans, I have come to feel that the love fans feel for Nana is similar to the love Christians have for God. Of course, I’d be the first to admit the numerous reasons why it’s an imperfect parallel, but compared to other Japanese people, and even compared to other fan bases, there is something here that reminds me of Christian love, and there is something about Nana that draws people to her in ways that remind me of how people are drawn to God.

Nana2 Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Religion at Katsucon, Hinduism in Death Parade, and Heaven in Wolf’s Rain

Truth be told, this week’s post was intended to be the last regular column of Something More.  I felt that especially with an umber of the writers we feature here having recently joined our site, the column had outlived its usefulness.  That was still my thought this morning, until I realized just how many spirituality-related articles were posted in the aniblogosphere this week.  And so, we continue forward, though it should be noted that Something More may post on more a biweekly schedule from this point forward.

And now, onto this week’s articles!

At Katsucon this weekend? Then you’ll no doubt want to check out Charles Dunbar’s panels on Japan and religion. [Study of Anime]

If you’ve noticed the religious allusions in Death Parade, you’re not the only one – it’s chock full of Buddhist, Shinto, and especially Hindu imagery, and may also have something to tell us in alignment with the last of those three religious philosophies. [Isn’t it Electrifying?]

The first episode of Super Sonico demonstrates to us how fanservice can reveal adulterous desires. [Old Line Elephant]

The concepts of sin and repentance surprisingly find themselves instilled in an ecchi game, Criminal Girls, Invite Only. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

She’ll spend an upcoming post on religion, but even this week’s post regarding queerness, the first in a series on Kill la Kill, makes some mention of Christian imagery and ideas. [Taylor Ramage’s Blog]

The wolves in Wolf’s Rain seek a literal paradise, but is that what they need? And how does that compare to what otaku seek? [Black Strawberry]

Episode 3 of KanColle demonstrates to us a principle recorded in the Book of James: tomorrow is not guaranteed. [Geeks Under Grace]

Could a solution to the way women are represented in games be found in the understanding of sinful nature? [2]

Adam Ledford completes his series on the history of Christianity in Japan by discussing the Shimabara Rebellion and the faith in Japan following the failed rebellion. [Tofugu]

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.

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