Blog Archives

A Heart Matter: Fate/Zero’s Grail and Prometheus’ Black Ooze

For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.

-   Genesis 3:5

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Prometheus and Fate/Zero (through episode 24)

Even if you’re like me and knew little of the context heading into Fate/Zero, it was portended right from the beginning of the series that the Holy Grail was going to come with strings attached.  And what a string it is – Angra Mainyu, the “destructive spirit,” is contained within the grail.

In episode 24, Kiritsugu, coming to understand the rules of the Grail as well as the evil spirit lying within, chooses to reject it.  In trying to bring peace to the world, he would instead bring destruction to it.

Fate/Zero Holy Grail

Tainted Grail (art by ちご)

The analogy between the Grail and another sacred symbol, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, must be made.  Eve took of the tree and shared with her husband, the two eating from it to become like gods.  Kiritsugu, too, seeks that power – to know the way and create a way to do something godly. Read the rest of this entry

Fate/Zero’s Blasphemy as Praise, Gnosticism Among Penguins, and Snowy Weather Yokai

I took last week off for Christmas, which means there is a plethora of links to share on Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere today.  I’ll return to the regular Friday schedule starting next Friday.

I was surprised that although this week’s Fate/Zero included a lengthy discussion of God’s sense of justice and His nature, few bloggers discussed the scene.  Draggle examines the idea of blasphemy as praise, while Chikorita157 and Hisui, among other bloggers, summarize Caster and Ryuunosuke’s discussion about God.

Another finale that aired this week was for Mawaru Penguindrum.  Draggle concludes the show with a thorough analysis of Gnostic elements.  Chaostangent discusses certain ideas in the series, particularly the religious element of sin.  Nopy demystifies some of the show’s symbolism, which included some religious elements, like the apples.

Zeroe4 provides his otakucized version of I Corinthians 19-23:

To the Otaku, I became as an otaku (even though I serve Christ first) in order to win otaku.

On his other blog, Zeroe4 brings up Genesis when talking Chobits.

Charles Dunbar profiles the Yuki-onna yokai.

In the way of reviews, Sweetpea dislikes the religious-themed manga, Testarotho and Kuuki found Happy Science’s Rebirth of Buddha confusing.

Bobbierob’s Secret Santa show was Haibane Renmei, and befitting of the series, he writes a bit about the themes of sin and salvation in the angelic series.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogsophere 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.

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Apples, Magical Girls, and Eden

Few anime series have contained such thought-provoking Christian themes and symbols as Puella Magi Madoka Magica.  From the heavy presence of a Christ figure to Adam and Eve references, the show uses these ideas in an intelligent and artistic manner.  Although I briefly discussed the symbolism of the apple in episode seven of the series, A Day Without Me, who is no stranger to analyzing Christian symbolism in anime, goes into much further detail than I in a terrific post about Madoka Magica’s “apple scene.”  If you haven’t read it already, do yourself a favor and dive in:

Apples and Devil’s Deals: A Religious Analysis of the Apple Scene in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica | GAR GAR Stegosaurus.

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Tales From Earthsea, Forbidden Fruit, and Redemption

Long before I launched this blog last year, one site, in particular, was making connections between anime and Christianity.  In the “Spiritual Bridges,” Scot Eaton of Worship and the Arts, a “missional blog focused on Christ-centered worship, the arts, & Japan,” draws such parallels.  His site has a ton of great posts (I’ll link to more in the future).

One of the my favorites, though, wasn’t written by Scot, but by a guest blogger, Robin White.  His article is about Goro Miyazaki’s Tales From Earthsea.  Having recently watch the movie (and really enjoying it – at least until the final act), I was eager to see what “bridges” the author would make.  White points out a number of parallels between events in the film and those in the Bible, including comparisons with Adam and Eve and discussion about eternal life.

Please give it a read!

Spiritual Bridges in Anime – Tales From Earthsea

Puella Magi Madoka Magica 07: From Adam to Jesus

As I try to find the time to marathon Puella Magi Madoka Magica in an attempt to avoid any more spoilers, I had to stop to write about episode seven, in which allusions to and mentions of Christianity are far stronger than in any other episode to this point of the series.   Though a few bloggers briefly mentioned the issue, I didn’t read anything in-depth (please let me know if I missed someone’s analysis), so I thought I’d have something to add.

Sayaka Madoka Magica

Pixiv Artist さえき北都

Early in the episode, Sayaka and Kyoko, whose personality and background get far more fleshed out in this episode, discuss the idea of the pact that the girls agree to.  They exchange their souls for a miracle.  What’s interesting is that this is very much like Christianity, but in a warped way.  While Sayaka is pained by and later begins to regret her decision, feeling she’s given up her soul for a miracle (and a relatively trivial one at that), Christianity emphasizes that we give our lives to Jesus when we receive the miracle of eternal salvation.  The ideas are similar, though the feelings associated with the transfers are drastically different.

Now, for the meat of the symbolism.  Kyoko leads Sayaka to a church and begins the temptation.  A church is typically used as a moody setting for a scene (episode 5 of Cowboy Bebop comes to mind), but as should be expected of this high quality show, it becomes much more than that.  It also emphasizes the fact that spiritual issues are also at hand. Read the rest of this entry