Blog Archives

Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki and Laying Down Your Life

One of my favorite anime antagonists is Shishio, the evildoer from the Kyoto Arc of Rurouni Kenshin.  Shishio looks like a mummy, replaced Kenshin as the battousai, is never really bested by Kenshin with the sword, and in the dubbed version of the show, he’s voiced by always-awesome Steven Blum.  What’s not to love (or hate)?

As Kenshin goes on a journey to defeat Shishio, the hero realizes early on that he’s not strong enough as is to defeat him.  To gain the necessary skills to stop Shishio, Kenshin returns to his old master, Seijuro, to learn an ultimate skill.  His sensei ultimately presses him into developing the technique, Amakakeru Ryū no Hirameki (episode 43).  But the most interesting thing isn’t the technique itself – it’s how the disciple learns it.  Ultimately, it must be learned by using it on one’s teacher in an attempt to break the sensei’s otherwise unbreakable defense. And in doing so, the learner kills his master.

Seijuro lays down his life to teach the technique to Kenshin.

Seijuro falling to his apparent death

Seijuro falling to his apparent death

This teaching seems a bit extreme – but this is anime after all.  Reminiscent of Unohana’s teaching of Kenpachi in Bleach, there has to be great sacrifice for the result that’s received.  And although Seijuro doesn’t actually die – Kenshin is using his reverse blade, after all – is there any question that this noble and hard man wouldn’t be willing to die in this situation, having determined, finally, that Kenshin is worthy of learning it?

Read the rest of this entry

The Tangles Anime Podcast: Episode 12

Episode 12 closes out our summer series of Japan focused podcast episodes with a special Tangles panel: JP (Japes), Kaze, Jack (R86), and Daniel (Zeroe4)! All members of this month’s panel have spent varying degrees of time in Japan in very different roles with unique experiences of the country, and thus use that diversity to share and discuss the country from different perspectives! We hope you have been enjoying this summer’s series of special episodes and will tune in next month for episode 13, celebrating a full year of The Tangles Podcast!

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 – 2:43
Otaku Diet – 4:35
How did you get to Japan; What are you doing? – 37:40
How does life in Japan compare to slice of life anime? – 47:39
Best and worst experiences in Japan; Amusing experiences – 58:07
How have you seen God working in Japan? – 1:31:46
Closer – 1:53:39

Direct Download

Note: Below are the links mentioned in the podcast:

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.

Read the rest of this entry

Japesland to the Land of Japan!

Zeroe4’s not the only writer here going to Japan.

It was a just a couple of weeks ago that we gave a digital send-off to Zeroe4 as he began a long-term mission trip to Japan.  Today, instead of the biweekly Anime Today column, I’m writing this send-off for it’s writer, Japes/Japesland, on a shorter term trip to Japan.  Here’s a little bit about the mission in Japes’ own words:

We’ll be mostly in Sendai, which got the brunt of the tsunami in 2011. We’ll be doing some ministry to local surfers, helping out with local churches, doing clean-up in a fishing village that was decimated, and various other things.

I hope you’ll consider praying for his trip.  If you have any well wishes or encouraging words to say, please leave those below as well.

And on a closing note, I just had to mention this.  Ever the anime fan and Japanophile, Japes noted to me the trip is going to take place over some pretty significant days, including this one: Miku Day. :)

Take care, Japes, and god bless!

Sending Off One of Our Own: Zeroe4 in Japan

It seems like a gimme that almost every anime fan wants to visit Japan one day.  Here on Beneath the Tangles, we have one who will be going soon on a short term mission trip, and several who have already made the pilgrimage – Kaze (who’s there currently), R86, and Zeroe4.

This week, Zeroe4 returns to Japan as a full-time missionary for YWAM.  You may remember his series of posts on his first mission trip there, a couple of years back.  This time, he’ll be staying for two years.  Here’s how Zeroe4 describes his planned activities in Japan:

It is a little hard to explain all that I will be doing. Everything is constantly changing on the missions field. My goals are to travel around Japan doing evangelism and connecting with local churches, blogging about things God is doing in Japan, and using media and arts to share God’s love and truth with the Japanese.

Certainly, Zeroe4 will continue to blog here and share about his experiences.  But before he goes, I’ll open the comments below to prayers and well wishes you might like to share for Zeroe4 before he leaves.

Thanks in advance for your encouragement!

Something More: Chuunibyou Faith, Spiral: The Bond of Salvation, and Pope Francis Manga

Due to the lack of spiritually-inclined articles as of late, I’ve skipped the “Something More” column for the past couple of weeks.  It’s time to catch up!

D.M. Dutcher examines how the Blade Children of Spiral: The Bond of Reasoning resemble humanity grasping for salvation from Christ. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Dutcher also delves into Chuunibyou, and finds an interesting connection between the chuunibyou/normal lives and Christian/atheist beliefs. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Regina Doman, author of an OEL manga about Pope Francis, will be on ETWN radio today. [Manga Hero]

Our own Zeroe4 quotes Gurren Lagann as he relates to use his Japanese mission plans. [Zeroe4]

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. 

Yuki-Anne in Japan: Updates in Missions and Marriage!

It’s been a long time, but some of you may remember a series of posts by Yuki-Anne, a missionary in Japan.  An anime fan and a terrific writer to boot, she last wrote a piece for us after the Tohoku earthquake last year.

Yuki-Anne has continued to be busy with her mission work, but she’s also decided that her current mission is coming to an end this coming Spring.  But as all things come to an end, Yuki-Anne’s life reminds us that to everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1) with another announcement: she’s engaged!

Congratulations, Yuki-Anne!

If you’d like to read all about her recent activities or would like information about how to contribute to her mission work, please download her September support letter.

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

Light Invades Darkness: The Return

Tokyo Skyline

My Discipleship Training School is now over. After an intense Outreach Phase and Lecture Phase, I am on my way back to Alaska as a new season of my life begins.
Since I haven’t had much of an opportunity to post lately, I will up date you on what happened during Outreach. We started by partnering with a High School ministry called Hi-B.A. during Gospel Team. This was two weeks of hands on work in two different areas of the Tohoku Region of Japan helping with tsunami relief. The next two weeks were spent in the Philippines. We spent most of our time in Olongapo doing local evangelism and helping women get out of prostitution. The next week I was on a team doing a local outreach in Ikebukuro. We also partnered with Cornerstone Tokyo, a church body I am apart of here in Tokyo. After this came one of my favorite outreaches, the Creative Outreach. This outreach involved one week of arts as a means of spreading the gospel in Ikebukuro and Ueno Park. Finally, we went back to Ishinomaki in Tohoku. We did more tsunami relief work and built relationship with the people there. For this trip, we partnered with Tokyo Baptist Church and their satalite church in Ishinomaki. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Blessed is the Gundam, Time for Tanabata, and Christian Singer’s Anime Dub

I skipped this column the last several weeks because the cupboard has been bare when it comes to spirituality in aniblog posts.  But we return this week with a number of links to such posts.  Enjoy!

Draggle quotes Jesus’ teachings more than once in discussing several “moral fallacies” in Gundam 00 which Gundam AGE renounces. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

Cholisose sees a lesson in life involving a life without God in a pun on kami in episode 2 of Humanity Has Declined. [Sea Slugs!]

Jonathan Tappan explains the myth-based festival of Tanabata and examines several anime series that feature it. [FunBlog]

Christian singer Cait Plage, whom we previously featured on this blog, mentions how she used to participate in anime dubbing. [Cross Rhythms]

Our own Zeroe4 tells about his mission work in the Philippines and shares some pictures from his journey. [Zeroe4]


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