The new season of anime has brought another idol anime (think less heathen idols and more American Idol): specifically, another anime based on the iDOLM@STER franchise of idol-based video games. Cinderella Girls focuses on a new group of 14 girls, in particular focusing on the three newest members of the “Cinderella Project” group at 346 Productions: Uzuki, Rin, and Mio. Shortly after they are brought on board the project, they are put on the fast track to stardom as they are assigned roles as backup dancers for an established idol, and soon after that (in the most recent episode 5) are chosen to have their CD debut (along with two other members, Minami and Anastasia). This is all very exciting for these three, but not everyone is entirely happy with their success.
Miku is probably the most vocally displeased with how these three girls have gotten to have their idol debut already, when she has been with the project longer than they have. She challenges the girls to various games to try to take their place, tries to persuade the producer with her own debut proposal, and when all else fails, she “goes on strike” to make her case (and by “goes on strike”, she means blockading the company’s cafeteria). Her actions may be comical, but her frustration is very understandable: not only has she been practicing for a long time with no sign of her debut coming, but now she sees these three girls enter the project after her and get their debut before her–of course that would be disheartening.
Christians might also encounter a situation like what Miku goes through. They pray to God and seek after Him for something, whether that be a spouse, a promotion, or a special ministry opportunity, but God seems to remain silent about their request. This is discouraging enough as it is, but it only gets worse when they see their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, especially those who have been in the faith shorter than they have, get married, promoted, or enter ministry before they do. They know they should be happy for them, but instead they start to feel resentful toward their fellow Christians or toward God. Their faith starts to waver as they wonder, “When will my time come?”
The Twelve Kingdoms is an in-depth anime that explores 12 countries in a parallel dimension to the real world filled with characters from Japanese mythology. The main character, Yoko Nakajima, is sucked into this world after a storm and, through a random series of events, becomes the leader of one of the countries, which is called Kei.
The anime really goes into the politics in the countries and explores what it means to be a good leader, the consequences of a bad leader, and the way different leadership styles shape each country. One of the most prosperous kingdoms in the parallel world, which is actually just called Twelve Kingdoms, is the kingdom of En.
That prosperity is due in large part to the kingdoms king, Shouryu, a laid-back, confident former feudal lord. Shouryu is always aware of whats happening in En, rarely loses his cool, shows mercy whenever possible and exacts justice when necessary. Out of all Shouryu’s qualities, the one I noticed the most was his desire to make a place for all of his people. Not just some, not just most, but each and every one.