Blog Archives

Spring Anime 2015 Review (Part 1/3)

As the summer season is nearly upon us, it is time for our spring anime review of 2015! This season we have a ton of anime to review by our diverse writers, so do look forward to seeing most of the season’s anime getting reviewed (though we certainly missed some nonetheless!).


Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic
Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic

Japesland – 7/10

I actually didn’t start the season with this show. I had seen the first season, and though I liked it, it really wasn’t anything spectacular considering all of the other 4-koma schoolgirl comedies out there. But I changed my mind a few episode in and decided to catch up. If you know anything about my rating system, a 7/10 is nothing to sniff at, and with that in mind, I quite enjoyed this second season of Kiniro Mosaic. The hilarious use of the Japanese language, and many cultural nods (but accurate and not) give it a bit of a feeling similar to classics like Azumanga Daioh, and while I don’t think Hello!! Kiniro Mosaic will be making many “best of” lists, it’s definitely one to consider checking out if you enjoy the genre.

Read the rest of this entry

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.

Something More: Magi Love, Christian Lessons from Naruto, and Kill La Kill Buddhism

While shows like Your Lie in April and Wolf Girl and Black Prince continue to give great material for spiritual discussion, it’s interesting that some series with big moves on the horizon – Naruto with a final movie upcoming and Digimon with a return of it’s season one characters – also provide opportunities to discuss religion in posts this past week.

Magi’s Mogamett is a complex character, not least of which because the love he demonstrates isn’t in line with an active, kind love, as discussed in Paul’s famous writing about the topic in I Corinthians 13. [Anime Monographia]

Buddhist principles of breaking cycles of suffering and power can be found in Kill la Kill. [Anime Commentary on the March]

Takayama Ukon, who was a Japanese general some 400 years ago (and who has been featured as a character in several anime), could be up for beatification next year. [Aliens in This World]

Kit reports that her Shinto panel at Nekocon went well, and that the inaugural issue of Kotoshiro, a Shinto journal, is accepting submissions. [Fox of Hearts]

The folks at Geeks Under Grace reflect upon Naruto, whose manga run just recently ended, and the Christian lessons it helped instill in them. [Geeks Under Grace]

Cooper finds scant religious content to expound upon in his review of Digimon Adventure, which “failed to meet some of [his] expectations but exceeded in others.” [2]

The reveal of Princess Serenity in Sailor Moon Crystal speaks of an individual’s awakening to their own sin in light of grace. [3]

Kousei’s faith in Kaori might mirror a Christian’s faith in Christ. [4]

Meanwhile, his lament about the piano in episode five of Your Lie in April reminds us of the importance of each gift we’re given. [Christian Anime Review]

Erika and Sata’s relationship in Wolf Girl and Black Prince brings to mind the Parable of the Sower. [2]

How does “honor your mother and father work” when they’ve stepped over some boundary, as with Asuna defying her mother in episode 19 of Sword Art Online 2? [3]

Christian disciplines, along with marathoning Daily Lives of High School Boys and Meganebu!, are among the things Annalyn does for refreshment. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

In the Answerman column, Justin Sevakis rants about how many rally against voice actors, convention guests, and others, with Vic Mignogna (well known for his “conservative Christian” stances and thoughts) as the prime example. [Anime News Network]

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.  Thanks to Medieval Otaku this week – it’s through his blog that I found the Kill la Kill article]

Something More: Blue Exorcist Pluralism, Jesus in Planetarian, and More Godoka

Happy Halloween, all!  This is probably a good place to mention that the writers here at Beneath the Tangles are NOT the type to tell you avoid Halloween festivities because of pagan stuff blah blah blah.  Enjoy your night – but be safe!!  

Unfortunately, no spooky posts below…though maybe the first one, regarding a popular series about exorcism, is an appropriate place to begin on this holiday!

Matthew points out the error of a Buddhist group in the Blue Exorcist manga stating that Christianity and Buddhism are fundamentally the same. [Old Line Elephant]

In episode one of the podcast, the hosts dig into an interpretation of a forum member’s interpretation of the Planetarian visual novel from a Christian perspective and are very impressed by it.  That same forum user, James, later completed his ideas and guest posted them on our blog. If you’re interested, the discussion begins at 1:57:00 on the podcast. [Kazamatsuri]

Frank rejoices over Crunchyroll’s licensing of the remaining Encouragement of Climb episodes while digging into episode two and how Aoi’s climb up Mt. Fuji reminds us of a young Christian’s journey in faith. [A Series of Miracles]

He also wraps up his series of posts on Barakamon by pointing at a number of significant lessons for Christians in episodes 11 and 12 of the series. [2]

Moe discusses Madoka’s god form frequently while analyzing an important theme of Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Rebellion Story. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

In his analysis of episode 8 of Sailor Moon Crystal, Rob finds an interesting parallel between battle in the episode and the cosmic battle of Christianity. [Christian Anime Review]

Rob also discusses Sailor Moon’s claim of one committing and unforgivable sin in episode 7 of the same series. [2]

And he reminds Christians of where they should place their true value and worth while digging into episode 1 of Your Lie in April. [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.



Something More: Good Librarians and the Good Shepherd, SAO Friendship, and Moe Buddhist Girl Figures

A new season of anime is here!  Although it may be too early to judge it, at the very least, there’s a lot of excitement in the air for new shows, with fewer sequels and more originals this season, including one that Frank talks about below in our lead-off article this week:

Frank finds a lesson of how Christians should imitate the Good Shepherd in the opening episode of Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai. [A Series of Miracles]

Rob finds that episode 14 of Sword Art Online provides some insight into friendship from a Christian perspective. [Christian Anime Review]

He also looks at the roles of the church body as he reviews episode six of Sailor Moon Crystal. [2]

D.M. Dutcher calls Canon “an interesting shoujo manga with some Christian-friendly themes.” [Cacao, put down he shovel!]

Casey dives into volume one of the Attack on Titan manga, providing a review that’s helpful for discerning Christians. [Geeks Under Grace]

And finally, I forgot to post a link to this article a few weeks ago, but it’s still worth sharing – the moe temple is now selling figures of moe Buddhist anime girls. Yep. [RocketNews24]

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: Encouraging Hanayamata, Lying Kirito, and Blue Exorcist Theology

This summer season has provided a lot of fun, entertaining series, and surprisingly some thought-provoking ones as well!  One that surprises me in the lessons it gives, as evidenced by Japes’ article earlier this week, is Hanayamata, which has also provided some great material for Frank.  See his article below, along with some other other terrific ones over other series.

Frank looks at the roles and purpose of Christians in his analysis of episodes three and four of Hanayamata. [A Series of Miracles]

Episode five of Sword Art Online 2 revolves around Kirito’s deception, and Rob takes that as an opportunity to discuss lying. [Christian Anime Review]

He also reviews episode 3 of Sailor Moon, and finds a connection therein to Christian hypocrisy. [2]

Matthew Newman digs into Christian principles demonstrated in Blue Exorcist. [Old Line Elephant]

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: Less Game More Life, Ranma Devalues Akane, and Good Samaritan Art Online

This week was full of great articles about spirituality – many, as usual, about Christianity, but note the first link below, from academic and frequent convention panelist, Charles Dunbar, which focuses on Shinto and Buddhist traditions.

Charles Dunbar investigates A Letter to Momo and discusses the spiritual idea of our loved ones watching over us after death. [Study of Anime]

Frank sees Seishuu’s actions and thoughts as an example of pride, humility, and fear in episodes three and four of Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Michael looks at No Game, No Life and takes a Christian perspective with gaming addiction. [Gaming and God]

He also examines the idea of doing ministry at conventions. [2]

Annalyn digs into Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet and the reason why human life is valuable. [Annalyn’s Thoughts]

She also looks specifically at the beauty of women in her essay on Akane from Ranma 1/2. [2]

Rob continues is Christian-centered anime reviews, looking at the idea of forgiveness in Sword Art Online II, episode four. [Christian Anime Review]

He also draws a really neat parallel to the Christian idea of helping others in episode four of SAO II. [2]

Medieval Otaku digs into the complex question of the morality of Kisara’s vengeance in Black Bullet. [Medieval Otaku]

And finally, Josh presents a little baptismal humor involving Sailor Moon. [Res Studiorum et Ludorum]

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.  Thanks this week to Don for pointing me toward Josh’s post!

Something More: Beyond the Boundary (But Stuck on an Island)

The summer season is now in full swing, and as Japes mentioned, it’s a particular fun one.  I’ve personally found more engaging series this season than I have in any season the past several years.  But our links this week don’t only point to current series, they also refer to past ones which are among the most popular in anime fandom.

Michael sees in Ao No Exorcist the ease in missing the supernatural world and explains how we can experience it. [Gaming and God]

Looking at Izumi Nase from Kyoukai no Kanata, Medieval Otaku points out how dangerous it can be to take too many burdens upon oneself. [Medieval Otaku]

Rob looks at how Usagi interacts with others from a Christian perspective in episode two of Sailor Moon Crystal. [Christian Anime Review]

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. 

Anime Today: Not a Sequel

After being on hiatus for a week, your favorite column, Anime Today, has made a triumphant return! (Kudos to those of you who even noticed that I was gone…). And with this come back, I bring a slew of new anime, courtesy of the Summer 2014 season!

It seems like this season, and perhaps even this year, has been the season of (notable) sequels. Between Free!, Sword Art Online, Sailor Moon, and, broadening our range, the nine-year, long-awaited return of Mushishi, it seems that most of the heavy hitters are returning all at once. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Sailor Moon Crystal

Art by とらお (Pixiv ID 44225402)

With time being such a valuable commodity in my life now, when I pick up a slew of anime each season for both my personal interest and reviewing purposes, having such a large amount of titles with such high production values and established premises makes my viewing experience so much more enjoyable (if you read Kaze and my recent season review, you’ll know that we are both rather harsh graders and also watch shows to completion in spite of poor quality, making this even more important for me).

As an unabashed, though somewhat late-coming fan of the first season of Free!, the first episode of season two was a pleasure, albeit a bit underwhelming. Although I wasn’t a particularly large fan of the first season of Sword Art Online, the first episode of season two seems to promise much better pacing and cohesion for this second season, which particularly excites me. Although I never got around to watching Sailor Moon so many “moons” ago (har har), the reboot has been an… interesting experience. And finally, I don’t think I need to say much about Mushishi, considering if you have followed any of my recent writing at Beneath the Tangles, you likely know how highly I regard it.

Needless to say, I am by no means a critic of sequels. Sometimes they can disappoint, and sometimes they do exactly as they promise: provide more of a type of content that people already loved.

As I pondered this new season, and reflected on how connected to my life and beliefs, I remembered several conversations I had had with a friend of mine about storytelling, both ancient and modern (thanks, Sean!). The reuse of archetypes throughout history and the origin of those archetypes. Symbolic and poetic literature versus literal and historical storytelling. Character development and world building.

And one thing seemed to draw all these topics back together, regardless of personal beliefs: the Bible.

Though I have not intellectually equipped myself to tackle these topics myself (you would have to direct yourselves to my friend for that), this onslaught of sequels reminded me of a common sentiment regarding the division of the Bible into the Old Testament and the New Testament. Is the New Testament merely a “sequel” to the Old Testament? Disappointing as it may be, by the end of this article I will likely not be able to provide you a solid answer to that, at least without resorting to arbitrary semantics (meaning transcends mere words). However, I hope that you will still feel compelled to think on it.

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Christian Seiyuu: Michie Tomizawa

As I’ve emphasized in the past, Japan is by no means a Christian nation.  Estimates place the country’s Christian population at around 1-2%.  So it’s no surprise that the anime industry employs only a handful that openly claim to be Christian.

But there are a few.  The most famous might be Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow (who may no longer be of the faith).  Another is semi-retired seiyuu, Michie Tomizawa.  A relatively cursory search led to a writing Tomizawa gave about her faith, and I’m elated to share this with you.

Michie Tomizawa does little voice acting these days, but she was once very active.  Among her most noted roles are Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon and Linna from Bubblegum Crisis.  She retired before marrying in 2002, but still occassionally lends her voice.

Michie Tomizawa

She also seems to be an outspoken Christian.  An unknown individual did some research, discovering a testimonial Tomizawa wrote in her church’s newsletter.  He or she also found and translated an essay Tomizawa wrote under her married name, Michie Itou. Read the rest of this entry


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