Blog Archives

Top 5 + Guest: Most Overrated Anime

There are a lot of really great anime out there.  There are a lot of really bad series, too.  And then there’s that subset of anime that are held in high esteem, but don’t deserve all the praise or popularity that they receive.  For our Top 5 + Guest post this month, we’re tackling those series that get a lot of love, but maybe deserve to get a little more hate.

Joining us today is Tommy of Anime Bowl.  A long-time aniblogger, Tommy’s unique site combines his passions of anime and sports.  He’s recently started a Toonami podcast and has just finished up his annual March Madness character tournament (I was defending champion in the pick ’em, but came in dead last this year).

And as always, tell us below how we messed up and what shows would make your list!

Tommy’s Picks

  1. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
  2. Attack on Titan
  3. Sword Art Online (I)
  4. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
  5. Durarara!!

fma 4All my picks are incredibly popular shows which have appeared on Toonami/Adult Swim recently; shows that are household names amongst otaku, yet ultimately missing something that causes them to fall into mediocrity. The top choice is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which failed to live up to the reputation of its predecessor due to a reliance on deus ex machina – which will be a recurring theme amongst my choices. Over and over again, Edward Elric, who was a very well-developed character in the first series, ends up in Brotherhood somehow always magically making the right choice no matter what, making him as close to a Gary Stu as you can get. And while I love how Brotherhood ends – I rank its final episode second only to Cowboy Bebop’s “The Real Folk Blues” – the major conflict is resolved by a dose of deus ex machina reminiscent of Frozen (just “love,” Elsa!). Next are Attack on Titan and Sword Art Online, which are two peas in a pod. Both suffer from a never-wrong shonen lead (like Edward Elric, to an extent), and both never live up to the over-the-top hype they received upon airing. Both make heavy uses of deus ex machina – in particular SAO. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is a tough one to criticize; it’s got lots to like, and it has some really strong characters. However, if your bar is set at “Evangelion,” anything short of “masterpiece” is to fall short. (Plus my heart was ripped out in the finale. NIA!!!) Finally, Durarara!! doesn’t really fit anywhere amongst these, but I can’t figure out why everyone else loves this one. I watch it asking, “am I just watching people chat in chatrooms? How is this entertaining?” So while I do enjoy all these series, they ultimately fall short of the hype. Except Durarara!! – I can’t enjoy that. Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Crucifixion in Anime, Wolfwood’s Tithing, and Religion in Pokemon

Christmas is just under a week away? In terms of aniblogging, that means lots and lots of reflective posts – and a good number of them involving religion.  This is likely the last post in this column until next year, so enjoy your quota of terrific articles about anime and spirituality!

Trigun’s traveling preacher, Nicholas D. Wolfwood, provides us a lesson about tithing and the heart of giving. [Old Line Elephant]

Christmas Eve deaths in Log Horizon symbolize the dark before the dawn. [A Series of Miracles]

Check out the comments on a Reddit board discussion about anime and religion this past week. [TrueAnime]

The Pokemon games and religion go hand in hand – did you know? [Did You Know Gaming?]

Among the many symbols anime has adopted from Christianity is use of the cross, specifically in crucifixion scenes. In the mood for a review of such scenes? Be warned, you might find it offensive, or really funny, or both. [Isn’t It Electrifying?]

D.M. Dutcher is through with visual novel-based anime, in large part because of how Christians should view suffering as entertainment. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Though explicitly mentioned religion seldomly, Angel Beats is full of theology from various religions. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Kit ruminates on a number of titles for a series of reflective posts, including one on the Shinto-inspired Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. [Study of Anime]

Actions of the cast of the new arc of Sword Art Online resemble Christian thought of keeping the eyes on the prize. [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.  Thanks to Seasons for pointing us toward the Reddit article and to Alexander for the Pokemon one.

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: Your Pursuit in April, SAO’s New Earth, and Eureka Seven’s Messiah

Baby, it’s coooold outside! A perfect opportunity, I think, to watch anime and read about it!

Edward Elric knows he’s missing something in human transmutation equations – he just doesn’t know it’s the soul. [Old Line Elephant]

There’s plenty of comparison to be made to both the Christian and Buddhist religions with relationship to deities among the major themes Eureka Seven, episode 41. [Ideas Without End]

In Akatsuki no Yona,  Woo-Won claims to have done justice, but in doing so, is he rejecting the will of heaven? [Medieval Otaku]

When Kirito and Asuna try to reclaim their former lives in a way, in episode 18 of Sword Art Online 2, it reminds Rob of Christians who might walk away from their own second chance at life. [Christian Anime Review]

The rebirth of Jötunheimr in SAO 2 brings forth analogies of the restoration/creation of a new earth. [Geeks Under Grace]

The ferociousness at which Kaori pursues Kousei, demonstrated in Your Lie in April, is reminiscent of God’s own pursuit of us. [2]

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: Christians in Manga, Father God in Hanayamata, and SAO’s Garden of Eden

As the new season moves forward, it looks a bit top-heavy, with Unlimited Blade Works, Mushishi and a few others already being raved about.  Frank talks about Mushishi below, though most of the rest of these weeks’ links point to shows of yesteryear (or at least last season).

In the new season of Mushishi, Frank see lessons in how Christians should feel secure, even though not at “home.” [A Series of Miracles]

Hanayamata provides an opportunity for Medieval Otaku to discuss the inaccurate view so many have of God as Father. [Medieval Otaku]

In Amakusa 1637, D.M. Dutcher finds a manga focusing on Japanese Christians and providing a fair and accurate depiction of them. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

He also provides his review of the opening episode of Gonna Be the Twin-Tails!! for Christian viewers. [2]

Rob finds allusions to the Garden of Eden in episode 15 of Sword Art Online. [Christian Anime Review]

Casey review episodes 14-25 of Attack on Titan 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.

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: Faustus Metal Alchemist, Hopeful Anime Heroes, and Anime as Bible Study

A great thing about being an anime fan is that four times a year, we can get excited about a slate of new series!  While we wait on most of these to begin, a number of bloggers reflect on the final episodes of summer 2014 anime and on series older than those.

Draggle digs into his approach to bible study as he explains how to critically approach anime. [Draggle’s Anime Blog]

Michael lists five anime character he considers “hopeful,” and explains why. [Gaming and God]

D.M. Dutcher finds that Star Light Woman, available through Crunchyroll’s manga service, speaks to the hopelessness of a world without God. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

Frank compare’s the Holy Spirit’s guidance to a search for inspiration in Barakamon. [A Series of Miracles]

Annalyn is surprised by the knowledge Japanese storytellers display about Christian legends through series like Fullmetal Alchemist and Black Butler. [Watching, Thinking, Writing]e

Rob catches up on Sword Art Online, finding Christians themes in recent episodes:

Episodes 10 [Geeks Under Grace] and 11 [2]

Episodes 12 [Christian Anime Review] and 13 [2]

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.

Video: Summer 2014 Anime Review & Fall 2014 Anime Preview

It always seems as if season finales sneak up on us, and summer 2014 was no different, with shows ending their runs this week.  That also means that a packed new season of anime is about to begin!  Last night, Japes and Kaze conducted our first live stream, reviewing a number of this season’s shows and previewing a ton of shows for the upcoming season.  See our recording of the live stream below:

The live stream doesn’t actually begin until 14:12 into the video, so jump there to begin.  Here’s the entire breakdown:

14:12  Live Stream Introduction
15:58  Summer 2014 Review
17:40  Ao Haru Ride
21:06  Terror in Resonance
26:40  Sword Art Online 2
37:09  Glasslip
43:51  Aldnoah.Zero
52:20  Rokujouma, Free, Hanamonogatari
57:57  Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works Discussion
01:12:23  Fall 2014 Preview
01:12:46  Grisaia no Kajitsu
01:18:15  Log Horizon
01:22:01  Sora no Method
01:25:23  Random Anime Preview
02:14:00  Wrap-up

And thanks to all who tuned in live on Saturday.  Be anticipating more live streams in the future!

Something More: Jesusmonogatari, GGO’s False Prophet, and Christian Writers on Ghibli

School is back in session for most students, which means that summer is coming to a close.  That means the fall season of anime is just around the corner.  Can you believe it?  But writers continue to blog wonderful articles for the shows coming to a close for the summer season, including those below.

Medieval writes that Nisemonogatari “wished to scoff at a central tenet of Christianity,” as he describes allusions in the series to Christ and the Virgin Mary. [Medieval Otaku]

Frank continues to find excellent lessons for Christian living in Hanayamata, this time looking at episodes 7 and 8 and at lessons in discouragement and transformation [A Series of Miracles]

D.M. Dutcher finds in Yurika of Rokujyoma?! a character who shares similar struggles to evangelizing Christians. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

In reviewing episode eight of Sword Art Online 2, Rob warns of “false prophets” as he describes symbolic gestures by Death Gun. [Christian Anime Review]

The writers at Christ and Pop Culture show their appreciation for Studio Ghibli in reminiscing about some of their favorite films from the studio. [Christ and Pop Culture]

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.

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