Blog Archives

Kokoro Connect: Michi Random and How a Body Functions

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Me!

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Absolutely.

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True.

It felt like a belated Christmas gift to return to anime viewing this week and find that the remaining four episodes of Kokoro Connect had been released.  It was among my favorite series this year, and as you can see above, just grew in my eyes with this additional arc.

Nagase’s suffering, which I found to be more adolescent angst than the others until this point, comes full front in the Michi Random episodes.  When Heartseed makes it so that the emotions (or thoughts) of the characters are transmitted to various members of the group at random (or not quite random?) times, Nagase, whose whole life is fraudulent, breaks.

Nagase Inaba

Art by ものくろあくたー。

Of course, the group is so tightly knit – even more so after their experiences with Heartseed – that they are affected as well.  Nagase’s hurts, as Yui states, are their own, if to a lesser extent: Aoki struggles to find how to comfort Nagase.  “Every bit of [Yui's] heart is exposed” as she is desperate to come out of shell and assist Nagase.  Inaba screams out in her head, “I’m scared! I’m scared!” as she considers disbanding the club.  And Taichi…well, Taichi gets his heart handed to him on a platter.

More than that, the entire school is affected.  This class and others start rumors, people are hurt and, well, more people get hurt, particularly later on in the show.

Read the rest of this entry

Top Blog Posts About Anime and Religion in 2012: #11-20

Last year, I gave my 12 favorite posts about anime and religion to end the year.  And though I had to leave out a number of great article to fit within that number, I was generally happy with the list.  This year, I just had to expand my list to twenty to match the volume of great content being written by anibloggers.

anime girl praying

Art by けむけむ

Yesterday, I gave numbers 1-10; here are the remaining ten, in chronological order:

11. Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: Christianity in Anime
5.6.2012
written by Lady Saika of Lady Geek Girl and Friends

A particularly strange case is that of Saiyuki – the story is based on a a founding myth of Mahayana Buddhism, for cripe’s sake, and the main character is a Buddhist priest, but in the anime at least, we see statues of the Virgin Mary protecting a town from demons in a way that nothing Buddhist can.

Read the entire post

Read also: Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: Let’s Make a Deal and Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: An Examination of Clergy in Anime

Read the rest of this entry

My Favorite Things (2012)

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Christmas songs are ubiquitous during the holiday season.  In my household, we have Michael Bublé, Martina McBride, Andrea Bocelli, and MercyMe playing constantly.  The music of the season has become part of the holiday tradition for many families.  A lesser tradition here on this blog is my rewording of a song that has become a holiday classic – “My Favorite Things.”

Chihaya is only a few weeks away;
Anime tropes even if they’re cliche;
Saber rises above the other kings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Art by スロウス@ついったは住み家

Art by スロウス@ついったは住み家


Mawaru Penguindrum
coming on Blu-Ray;
Kiritsugu finally fights against Kirei;
Rikka to Yuta with a pinky clings;
These are a few of my favorite things.

Yuta and Rikka

Art by 鳩

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Kokoro Connect and Being More Than Our Sin

Just one link this week, but it’s a good one!  Nick Calibey discusses how our sin does not define us, using Inaba from Kokoro Connect as an example. [A Rather Silly Blog]

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As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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. 

TWWK’s Top Anime of 2012

2012 is ending in a whimper, at least for me, as there are few series I’m absolutely loving this fall.  That seems to apply to the year as whole.  Looking back at my list of best anime from 2011, there were a number of series that jumped into select company among my very favorites, including Hourou Musuko, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Usagi Drop, and Mawaru Penguindrum.  I had yet to see Steins;gate or the first season of Fate/Zero at the time of that posting, but they would have been included in the group as well.

Because of the lack of great series this year, I’m not giving as many shows on the following list.  I dropped dozens of series this year, too; they didn’t interest me enough to continue watching, failed to keep my interest for the entire season (ex. Accel World and Eureka Seven Ao), or were dropped for other reasons.  I also want to note that didn’t see a number of critically acclaimed series this year, skipping out the likes of Space Brothers, Jorgumand, Kimi to Boku and the latest Natsume Yuujinchou,and stalling on Psycho Pass.

And because I didn’t complete too many shows in 2012, this end-of-year list functions more to show my favorites than those I judge the best.  Let me know your favorites in the comment section below.

Merely Okay: 3 to 4 Stars

Little Busters

First, the bad: the series has been, well, boring.  It also has way too many girls who act like they have some psychological condition.  Luckily, the show has been trending upward lately, and I’m eagerly anticipating the second season.  There are also some fun characters (mostly male). Read the rest of this entry

Kokoro Connect: Unveiled Secrets

The following is a guest post by Cheradee, a reader of this blog, a college student, born-again Christian, and anime fan.  If you have an interesting idea for an article, feel free to send us your own guest submission for review.

Kokoro Connect centers around five first-year students who for different circumstances, ended up with no club to join so they formed their own club. Weird things started to happen on them one after the other, specifically swapping of souls, uncontrollable actions driven by their emotions and regressing to become younger. These incidents led them to learn each other’s secrets: things that they don’t want others to know about them and they don’t realize about themselves. Because of this, they developed a deeper understanding of each other and a stronger bond of friendship.

Art by 三毛之助

Art by 三毛之助

We all have something that we don’t want to show others or we don’t want them to know. Yet there is someone who knows everything about us:

You [Lord] know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.

- Psalm 139:2-4

There may be some painful experiences, bad personalities, fears, doubts and other things that we don’t want others to know, but they are never hidden from God.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Sayaka Miki’s Body and Soul, Yui’s Idols, and Hope in Angel’s Egg

Ty-chama examines the connections to the story of Noah’s Ark and to the ideas of faith and hope in Christianity within the film, Angel’s Egg. [Watashi wa Bucho!!]

Nick Calibey continues his series of posts about Madoka Magica by examining the connection between body and soul, as expressed in the series and by St. Cyril. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Draggle examines the idea in episode 12 of Kokoro Connect that Yui’s life is meaningful because of community and love, rather than because of the former idols she has constructed. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

A student is requesting MAL users to respond to survey she is conducting on anime spirituality. [MyAnimeList forums]

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As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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. 

Kokoro Connect: What Would You Tell Your 6/11/14-Year Old Self?

Kokoro Connect continues to amaze me.

Episode 11 marked the beginning of the third arc.  After the painful, but deep “unleashed desires” arc, I was surprised at how much this episode engaged me.  I expected a denouement, perhaps, but instead saw the start of an arc that appears to be a little less painful, a little funnier, and little more Aoki and Kiriyama packed, and equally interesting.

As the members of the Cultural Research Club regress into miniature, younger versions of themselves and then return to their normal age, they are bringing with them the pains of their past.  And along with those pains, perhaps they’re bringing regrets as well.

Kokoro Connect

Do you have any regrets? (Art by いな)

So I’ll ask you all – what would you tell your younger self if you had the chance?  Is is something about being fearful, as with Inaba?  Does it have to do with a relationship, as with Aoba?  Or is it about finding yourself, like with Nagase?  Or might it have to do with an activity you used to participate in or a promise you made, as with Kiriyama?  Or would it be something else entirely?

If you could give a piece of advice to your six-year-old self,  your-eleven-year old self, or your fourteen-year-old self, what would you say?

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Godless Haibane, Saints for Anime, and Faith in Madoka

This has been an exemplary week for religion/spiritual/Christian themed post in the blogosphere.  While I usually post links to articles that sometimes only briefly mention connections to spirituality in anime, there are a number of well-written post this week fully dedicated to the topic.

Alexander, whose no stranger to blogging about his transition from Christian to atheist, takes an interesting approach to Haibane Renmei, departing from his usual episodic posts to explain how the the series rather espouses his Humanist beliefs. [Ashita no Anime]

Nick Calibey uses hermeneutics in writing a wonderful essay to Orthodox Christians explaining the value that can be found in watching anime. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Nick also begins a series on Madoka Magica, introducing the series and particularly defining faith and discussing it in terms of Madoka’s relationship with her mom. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Draggle outlines Inaba’s confession and redemption scene in episode 10 of Kokoro Connect, comparing it to Paul’s gospel message in the Book of Romans. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Ladybacula examines how clergy are portrayed in anime, using Justin Law of Soul Eater and Apocryphos of D.Gray-Man as examples. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

John Noel has a fascinating post comparing Sword Art Online to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave; he also mentions Christian symbolism in the show. [chaostangent]

Landon dives into the, er, “[messed up] theology” of Hells. [Mecha Guignol]

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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. 

Kokoro Connect, Episode 10: Wholly Yours

Do you know the story of Elisabeth Elliot?  While she is particularly well-known for her views on dating and marriage, she first came to the public attention because of her husband, Jim.  Along with four other men, Jim Elliot was a missionary to the remote Waodani tribe in Ecuador.  Despite their friendly overtures, Jim and the others were murdered by Waodani warriors.

What happened next is incredible. Elisabeth decided to also go to the Waodani.  She lived among them and evangelized to them; her actions demonstrated a love that eventually helped end the tribe’s violent ways.

This is grace – and this most unexplainable and unnatural action has the power to transform.

In Kokoro Connect, Inaba has spent the entire series hiding.  The whole group, of course, knows that she’s bossy, but Inaba hides her “true self” – a selfish, untrusting, and insecure person.

Kokoro Connect

Art by 蒼林檎

All series long, Inaba has been literally running away.  Read the rest of this entry