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Hannes’ Complacency

Throughout the entirety of my Christian life, there has been one thing that holds me back more than any other. One thing that I fear one day will spell some sort of enormous failure in my spiritual walk. That thing is complacency.

Maybe that’s why I felt more sympathy and compassion for Hannes and his initial actions in Attack on Titan than disgust. At the time of the first attack, Hannes lived a life of complacency. He was a soldier, a defender of the wall, and a committed fighter against the titans. A complacent fighter, but committed nonetheless, if that makes sense. Clearly he believed in the fight against the titans as evidenced by his intention to go after them to “ settle a score.” However, when finally in the fray, he found himself…unprepared.

When we first meet Hannes, he’s drunk. Even though he and his comrades are supposed to be guarding the wall in case of an attack, they have been lulled into a false sense of security by peacetime and the monotony of guard duty.

aot

He laughs off Eren’s scolding him for this, even making a joke that he is probably right about their unpreparedness. But he is, truthfully, convinced that things are pretty much under control and why make more effort than is necessary, right?

I feel like I do this so much in my own life. When things are bad, you better believe my nose is in that bible daily, but get things going pretty good and it’s easy for me to get distracted. I’ll put of reading tonight to watch this show, I haven’t prayed today but I’ll do it in a second, I stayed up late Saturday, I’ll sleep in and miss church this Sunday. I’ll go next Sunday. It’s fine. I’ll get spiritually fed tomorrow.

The bible is clear it is dangerous to adopt this attitude.

 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

- 1 Peter 5:8

I had a friend say to me very recently in small group, “I just want people to realize we’re in a war.” …And she’s right. I can’t continue to live my life forgetting where I am and what’s actually going on. I can’t act like nothing that big is ever going to come against me. Just because I can handle things right now on the bare minimum of spiritual food and training I sometimes subsist on doesn’t mean it will be enough for what I could face tomorrow.

It wasn’t enough for Hannes, although he thought it would be until the very moment he came face to face with a titan.

“Don’t go underestimating me Carla. I’m gonna slaughter these titans and save all three of you!”

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He had an idea of how he was going to act and what he was going to accomplish based on his personal experiences and his identity as a fighter. But, the damage of his complacency and lackadaisical approach to his responsibilities was too great.

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When actually faced with the situation he was supposed to be continuously preparing for, he could do little more than fearfully run away. The only thing he could do about the situation he was supposed to conquer after that was sobbingly apologize to Eren.

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That moment Hannes stared in the face of the titan made me think of something that truly scares me. What will be the consequences of my own complacency? Who is going to get jilted because of my unpreparedness? Even though I know who and what I am in the good times, I wonder what kind of person will I prove to be when the pressure is on.

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: Christian Anime Idols, Sailor Moon Gossip, and Integrity in SAO

The end of the summer season is here!  While some may not have enjoyed it much, it’s been one of my favorites in recent memory.  At least, judging by some of the posts below, it’s provided plenty of fuel for discussion!

Milesvibritannia looks at the issue of morality in anime, delving deeply into a number of series, including Tokyo Ghoul, Death Note, and Liar Game. [Anime Anemoscope]

Frank explains the biblical idea of “hating your family,” among other items, in his analysis of episodes nine and ten of Hanayamata [A Series of Miracles]

Frank also really enjoys the way that Locodol flips the anime idol formula, and see lessons applicable for Christians. [2]

D.M. Dutcher is able to find good application from a strange episode of Getchaman that features a molten lava Jesus and Jesus being carved on Mt. Rushmore. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Rob reviews episode five of Sailor Moon Crystal and discusses biblical teachings of gossip and looking at a person’s heart. [Christian Anime Review]

He also stresses the importance of integrity in his review of episode nine of Sword Art Online 2. [2]

Kit explores the deathly symbol of the higanbana, an autumn flower, which is seen in anime like Hell Girl and the Madoka Rebellion movie. [Study of Anime]

Casey Covel gives an extended review of the first volume of Attack on Titan, with particular emphasis for Christian viewers. [Geeks Under Grace]

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.

DVD Review: Attack on Titan, Part 1 (Blu-Ray/DVD Combo Pack)

attack on titan blu-ray reviewAttack on Titan: Part 1
Blu-ray/DVD Combo
FUNimation
13 episodes

When a highly anticipated property receives its translation, rescripting, and dubbing, consternation and grumbling are always sure to follow.  How closely do you (and can you) stick to the original writing and voicing?  Stay too close, and you run the risk of unintentionally dulling a property; move too far away, and you could alienate a fanbase.  With Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin), FUNimation mostly found a nice middle ground with one of the most engaging anime of recent years.

Attack on Titan traces mankind’s resistance against the titans – creepy, sketchily-drawn giants that devour humans – when they unexpectedly tear open walls that had held them at bay for a century.  Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, a trio of spunky youngsters, join other cadets and the larger army in the fight to defend civilization against a seemingly unstoppable threat.  This DVD combo set encompasses the first 13 episodes.  The first half mostly deals with demonstrating the deadly threat of the titans, as well as showcasing the training by Eren and the others, while the second half deals with a large-scale battle between the army and their gigantic foes.

Attack on Titan is one of anime’s most gripping series both because of its genuinely terrifying plot, in which everyone is in constant danger and no one is safe, and because of the look and feel of the series.  From the dark, but colorful shades used, to the most unique and fun anime weapon of recent years, 3D maneuver gear, the series bleeds a style that’s all its own.  But SnK is more than skin-deep.  During my first viewing of the series, when it originally aired, I was so taken by sudden plot developments and the horrific (though rarely gorey) imagery that I missed the well-constructed tale.  My viewing of the DVD helped me focus on the storyline, which functions by unfolding rapidly and then slowly unraveling both secrets of the world in which the characters live and the back stories and personalities of the characters themselves.  Series fans rewatching the show will also note plenty of little giveaways in character quotes and actions that foreshadow major events later on.

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Attack on Titan, Chapter 54: Kind Krista to Unhappy Historia

One of the things I’m looking forward to in the eventual next season of Shingeki no Kyojin is watching some of the supporting characters take on bigger roles.  For instance, Historia Reiss (formerly Krista Lenz), one of my favorites, has taken a pivotal role recently.  Chapter 54, in fact, inferences that the significance of her role is no less than that of Eren’s.

Of course, the Historia we know from the manga is very different from the one we last left in the anime.  She’s gone through some painful experiences since then, and we’ve uncovered her traumatic past and felt the pressure that has been put upon her.  She had been masking herself with a facade, which has now been lifted to reveal rotting wood underneath.  Despondent and unsure of herself, Historia asks Eren if everyone is disappointed in the real Historia.

Eren x Krista

It was only a matter of time before Eren x Krista became a thing… (Art by クロバラ子, Pixiv ID 41371983)

What follows is a Naruto-esque assertion from Eren which I think rings rather hollow (Eren’s a better character when he’s a mess than when he inspires).  Because I think what we’ll eventually find out is that Historia is a kind person – not naturally, but because of the influence of her real mother (I’m guessing that’s the woman from the chapter) and some others, like Ymir.  Historia will shine through and do something important,  out of love for those around her.

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Shingeki no Kyojin, Chapter 51: The End is Worth the Means…Right?

The newest chapter of Attack on Titan leaves off where the last one ended, with the aftermath of the great battle that occurred.  Mikasa is taken away with broken ribs and Erwin, with one less appendage, is attended to.  And while physical clean-up is occurring, humanity’s military leaders are also cleaning up behind the scenes, figuring out what all the discoveries point to.

The most important of these revelations is uncovered through poor Connie.  His experience in his hometown, combined with other evidence, suggests that the titans (perhaps all titans) were once human.  While the manga readers have supposed this from early on in the series, this disclosure is apparently new to Levi, Erwin, and Hanji.

shingeki no kyojin manga

Capture by matsuoka-rinrin (Tumblr)

All three react with pain and discomfort.  The moody Levi, in a rare state, vocalizes the inference that he’s become a master murderer.  Erwin seems half-crazed, and more out of character than any of the rest.  And Hanji…well, Hanji’s reaction might be most interesting of all.

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PBS Idea Asks, “Are the Titans from Attack on Titan Really Evil?”

I think you all are going to like this.

The PBS Idea Channel, an award-winning Youtube series hosted by Mike Rugnetta, frenetically focuses on different aspects of culture each week in a fun and intelligent way.  This past episode, the channel attacked the titans.  Yes, the anime titans.  Mike Rugnetta and his crew focused last week’s show on Attack on Titan (they’ve also previously discussed Evangelion).

More specifically, PBS Idea asks the question, “Are the titans evil?”  From Kant to cancer, Nietzsche to the Daleks, and instinct to maxim, the episode presents interesting supports and angles to tackle a question the aniblogs have also been asking.

Check out the six-minute episode below and tell us what you think.  Are the titans evil?  And what do you think of the channel?

Attack on Titan, Episode 24: Remember When

The general feeling about Eren Jaeger is that, like countless leads before him in other anime series, critical viewers of Shingeki no Kyojin find this lead to be annoying and less-than-likeable.  Me, on the other hand – I’ve liked Eren relatively well, though that could be because I’m deep down in love with SNK.  And so, I’m willing to overlook his many negative qualities and chalk it up to “Well, if I was in that situation…”

That is, until this episode.

Eren Jaeger shingeki no kyojin

Art by 木又-友達募集中

For the first time in the series, I’ve found myself feeling rage toward Eren, as he watched his comrades die and his remaining family fly toward certain death because he’s unwilling to fight a turncoat who he knows to be have betrayed and killed his friends and fellow soldiers.

GUH.

Of course, I changed my tune a little when I thought about how much of myself and other Christians I saw in the Eren of episode 24.

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Attack on Titan Podcast at Ashita no Anime

An atheist and two Christians walk into a podcast…

And they talk about Attack on Titan.

Sorry, no joke here, just the short of Ashita no Anime’s most recent podcast, featuring Alexander, Japes, and myself.  Though it’s about an older episode of Shingeki no Kyojin, I hope you’ll still check it out.  I’m not much of commentator, but Alexander and Japes are excellent.  And while you’re at, please check out Ashita no Anime and Japesland, a fairly new blog that often makes connections between Christianity and anime, as we do here.

Ashita no Anime Podcast 10 – Attack on Titan with Charles & Japes

Attack on Titan, Episode 07: Grace, Guilt, and Good Ideas

Another week, another terrific episode of Shingeki no Kyojin.  But at this point, everything still feels like setup and context – when do we find out about some of these secrets (looks like very soon)?  When will the troops start fighting back with ferocity (other than Mikasa)?  When do we start getting to know the other characters?

I should sit back and just enjoy the series and all the build-up, I suppose, but my anxiety is that the series will conclude without finishing the run of the manga, and I’ll be left out in the cold.  Well, if that’s the case, at least we got to see some real development for one of Attack on Titan‘s terrific characters, Mikasa Ackerman.

This week, Mikasa addresses the remaining squads with a speech that half inspiring and entirely condemning.  The characters, some reticently, follow Mikasa into battle, but with different reasons in mind, and resulting in different consequences.

Mikasa Ackerman

Art by へび

Note that more than once it’s mentioned that if the troops just stay there, they’ll eventually die.  It’s simply a rational and good idea to take their chances.  There’s also a feeling of guilt – those in the supply depot are trapped and dying, and Mikasa is running into battle by herself, so these elite cadets should at least help, right?  But when reality strikes again, in the form of the ominous giants (and an out-of-commission Mikasa), many of the soldiers begin to crumble, particularly the guilt-driven Jean, who stands frozen in fear while his comrades die.

However, one soldier stands out by being brave, and perhaps it’s a surprising who it is.  Read the rest of this entry