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Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Violence, Grace and Redemption in Trigun

In 2003, a wonderful essay about Nicholas Wolfwood was posted in the ToonZone forums.  Academic in nature, the essay discusses the Christian themes of sinful nature and grace as they are present in Trigun, particularly shown through Wolfwood.  The essay is excellent and gives a lot of insight about the series.  It also touches on the idea of why Christianity hasn’t stuck in Japan, mentioning Shunsaku Endo’s Silence, which also focuses on this theme.

Unfortunately, since that time, every other trace of the essay on the Internet has apparently disappeared.  You’ve probably experienced this as well as me – you’ve tried to return to something you read or saw once in the past only to find that it’s gone.  Poof.  And so, I’ve decided to repost the entire essay below.  If anyone knows the author or where the original source comes from, please let me know.

Nicholas D. Wolfwood
Violence, Grace and Redemption in Trigun.


This article is an analysis of Nicholas D. Wolfwood from a Christian perspective. It will make most sense if you’ve seen the entire Trigun anime series. Also, it contains serious spoilers for the series. Consider yourself warned. Japanese animation (or anime, as it is called both in Japan and in the West) is an intriguing contemporary art form that, like Japanese culture itself, weaves Western influences and Eastern traditions together in oftentimes strange and unexpected ways. Through its juxtaposition of contrasting cultural elements, anime can provide careful viewers with illuminating insight into both Japanese and American culture. And when anime touches upon religious issues, it offers Christians trans-cultural perspective on their faith. Read the rest of this entry

The Faith of Yasuhiro Nightow

As Wolfwood Week continues on Beneath the Tangles, I felt it would be appropriate to discuss the mangaka responsible for creating this multi-faceted character – the creator of Trigun, Yasuhiro Nightow.  While Nicholas Wolfwood obviously has many connections to Christian spirituality, as demonstrated through the posts this week, Trigun itself is full of themes and ideas that could also be called “Christian.”  Perhaps this is because Nightow is generally known as one of the few successful mangaka who believes in Christ.  He is Catholic.

Or is he?

It’s long been considered general knowledge that Nightow is Catholic.  Wikipedia once referenced that he grew up Buddhist, but studied Catholicism and converted to it, while retaining Buddhist principals.  However, that reference to his faith was removed when the citation for it, which was to his U.S. website, became a dead link.

Read the rest of this entry


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