Blog Archives

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.

Read the rest of this entry

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

Interview with Singer and Voice Actress Cait Plage

On March 29, artist, songwriter, and worship leader Cait Plage is releasing All We Have is Now, her new EP.  The release “shares what God has placed openly on her heart.”  Cait describes herself as a bubble-tea-sipping singer-songwriter who once voiced Japanese anime and loves a good seaweed salad.”  I was blessed to have an opportunity to correspond with her about music, faith, and anime.

Cait and one of her favorites, Yuna