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. 
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. 
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. 
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.