Blog Archives

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.

Something More: Islam and Anime, KanColle Christians, and Dying Shinto Trees

Could this be called a world report version of Something More? This week, we have stories from Japan, of course, but also from Indonesia and, why not, we can say that a KonColle article is international, too!  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

In Indonesia, Muslim otaku reconcile their faith and anime, perhaps surprisingly even accepting fujoshi members among them. [The Indonesian Anime Times]

Arima’s feelings about his mother in Your Lie in April bring to mind how Christians have the presence of Christ within them. [Geeks Under Grace]

Christians, too, should carry one another’s burdens, as the girls do in KanColle. [Christian Anime Review]

Look who joined Beneath the Tangles! Medieval Otaku will bring his unique perspective here, while continuing the work on his own excellent site. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, though not directly anime related, suburbanbanshee has a number of interesting posts this week regarding religion in Japan:

  • Japanese Docetism Central [Aliens in This World]
  • Japan’s Meiji Period Persecution of Buddhists [2]
  • Someone is Killing the Shinto Trees of Japan [3]

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.  Thank you to Lauren Orsini, whose Otaku Links column provided me with the story about otaku in Indonesia.

 

Throwback Thursdays: Durarara!!

Durarara

Durarara!! is an anime that started airing in 2010. It takes place in a major part of Tokyo called Ikebukuro. To give you an idea about the show’s feel, think of a classical Chinese style epic taking place in a massive modern metropolis. The show focuses on three main characters, but also includes a plethora of minor characters that help move the story forward. This combination of characters help create a structure that allows you to have a better grasp of the three protagonists individual and collective stories.

Read the rest of this entry

Guest Post: Tales of Xillia and Hobbies

Although our focus will almost certainly always be anime, we hope to also delve into other Japanese media here on Beneath the Tangles, such as manga and visual novels. To that end, we’re happy to have gaming blogger Michael of Gaming and God guest for us today, as he jumps into a popular JRPG.

If you’re into JRPGs (Japanese Role Playing Games), then you need to check out the Tales Of series. They have been making titles for decades, and one of their more recent games (as of this writing) is Tales Of Xillia. The word that comes after “Tales Of” often has nothing to do with the game, so don’t pay it any mind.

Tales of Xillia 1

Milla from Tales of Xillia

Xillia is a game changer in the series. From the story to the battle sequences, it is a game that’s hard to put down! I spent hours at a time playing through this masterpiece, especially enjoying the interaction the characters have with each other.

Character development is always a strong characteristic of most Tales games. The fact that we get to see anime cut scenes (few and far between but they are there) and a lot of voiced over dialogue really helps to connect with them. Instead of reading tons of text, you are treated to many optional conversations throughout the game play and you can see the unique personality of each character come to life. It’s enjoyable to see the two main characters, Jude and Milla, going back and forth with each other. Read the rest of this entry

Converse With Us During Our Live Stream, 8:00 PM ET Tomorrow Night!

Happy New Year, all!  To kick off the year, Kaze and our other writers would like to invite you to join us in a live streaming event. We want to converse with you, our readers, and so we’ll be taking questions and otherwise discussing whatever is on your mind – anime, manga, religion, or anything else.  We hope you’ll join us starting at 8:00 PM ET tomorrow, Friday the 2nd, on Ustream.

We recommend you head over to Ustream and register now, so that you’ll be able to better interact with us and so that you’ll receive a notification for each of our events.

See you tomorrow on our Ustream channel!

Something More: Forgiving Kirito’s Sin, Real Barakamon Church, and Hamatora’s Anti-Christ

The summer season has passed it’s mid-point, and bloggers continue to find great spiritual connections in current series, joining a number of other excellent articles about some more classic ones that posted this week.

Frank finds perhaps an intentional connection to Christianity and Japan’s Hidden Christians in Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Annalyn looks into humanism and Christianity reactions to it and she jumps back into Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

In his continuing investigation into Hamatora, Medieval Otaku finds comparisons between Moral and the anti-Christ. [Medieval Otaku]

Casey Covel gives a high score to volume three of the Death Note manga in her Christian-centered review. [Geeks Under Grace]

Rob sees lessons of forgiveness and healing in episode seven of Sword Art Online. [Christian Anime Review]

Rob also finds an interesting lesson to be learned from Kirito’s treatment of Sinon in episode six of Sword Art Online. [2]

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.

Jesus Otaku: Ministry for Anime Fans

Anime Expo is always a crowded, good time, filled with fun events, including the Masquerade, a competition featuring choreographed, costumed performances.  Beforehand, groups are able to play a short introductory video.  For one group, cosplaying as Magi, that video gave them an opportunity to showcase their message:

You are loved just as you are.

Based in Orange County, the group, Jesus Otaku, focuses on “creatively modeling the love of Jesus to bring otaku and the church together.”  Sssociated with Saddleback Church, pastored by Rick Warren, Jesus Otaku is an active group of about 15 members who cosplay and attend area conventions where they purpose to let anime fans know just what they expressed in that video – that they are loved just as they are.

Ouran genderbend cosplay

Jesus Otaku’s members doing Haikyuu and genderbend Ouran cosplay

Jesus Otaku was co-founded by Jonathan and Cecilia, each impressed upon by God to start a ministry for otaku.  Emphasizing Saddleback’s church planting (including a church in Tokyo), the idea for such a ministry had been in Cecilia’s mind for years, though everything came together when Jonathan returned from a mission trip and independently announced his ideas for something similar.  And from there, a ministry was born.

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