Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 1)

My “I’ve been meaning to watch that…” list is growing weekly, it seems.  There are so many good series out there, and so little time!  But one anime that has intrigued me for months and which immediately topped my list was Higashi no Eden (Eden of the East).  I started watching it a couple of weeks ago, and for the first time since viewing Suzuka (ehhh…let’s not dwell on why is what this mediocre series that had me addicted), I pulled very late nights to finish the series in a couple of days.

Simply put: I was blown away.

There’s so much to enjoy about the show – it’s mysteries, mix of goofiness and seriousness, terrific characters and wonderful animation designs among the reasons.  Further than that, I found it interesting how strong the series ran with Christian parallels.  The series name might be a dead giveaway, but I don’t intend to go into detail about the overall plot and the idea of Eden; instead, I want to focus on particular characters and their parallels to roles in the Bible.  In particular, I want to discuss three seleção – one each today, Wednesday, and Friday.  First up?  Everyone’s favorite sexy businesswoman/serial murderer, Kuroha Diana Shiratori.

By the way, the following posts are full of spoilers for the series.  I haven’t yet watched the films, so any further conclusions and connections from those will obviously be left out.

Shiratori is a woman who was once a victim, and has now become the victimizer.  Before becoming a seleção, it’s likely that she was raped.  Of course, women throughout history (and still today throughout the world) have struggled to rise above the role of victim.  Through most of human history, women have had few legal rights.  In historical Judea, women had some rights (they could own property), but certainly not on the level of men.  Shiratori, however, uses her newfound money to shift the balance of power, using both her power as a CEO and her beauty to exact vengeance.

In the case of rape, women are often victimized on two fronts – during the actual act, and in its aftermath.  Victims sometimes receive a label and the most unfeeling of society may even say that “she had it coming to her.”  Judgment is placed on one who has already endured so much.  A parallel can be drawn to one of the most beautiful stories in the Bible – that of Jesus and the adulterous woman (John 8:1-11).  The Pharisees, trying to trap Jesus, bring a woman to him who was caught in the act of adultery, saying that she must be stoned.  Jesus, of course, utters the famous words: “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.No one does, and Jesus tells the woman that he does not condemn her and that she must leave her life of sin.

Eden of the East
Image by r9M via Flickr

Where’s the man in all this?  If the woman was caught in adultery, certainly the man must’ve been as well.  But the burden is placed directly on the woman.  Shiratori, too, must’ve felt this extreme lack of injustice – how could a man do this to her?  The woman in the Bible suffers the double indignity of being picked because of her gender and being at the mercy of men.

In addition, like Shiratori, the adulterous woman, too, must’ve known she was going to die.  She grew up knowing the law – it was clear that a stoning, probably egged on by an outraged group, was going to happen.  Shiratori knew that her actions would eventually lead to her death.  She believes that Takizawa is there to kill her, mentioning the idea almost with acceptance.  Both know that their actions are wrong, and both will receive judgment…or will they?

Of course, both end up living.  The woman is rescued by the compassionate Jesus.  Meanwhile, Shiratori is rescued, in a sense, by Takizawa, who offers to show her love that she has not known from any other man.  Shiratori doesn’t believe she can be loved by a man, but is intrigued.  She sees Takizawa’s pure heart.  Although he passes out, Shiratori actually shows compassion, seemingly beyond her character, staying by him and somewhat attending to him.  He has changed her heart, if even just a bit, through showing love.  I haven’t watched the movies, as I mentioned above, but my feeling is that Shiratori will play some role – and as a protagonist, not an antagonist.  Before this scene in the series, though, all of her actions (her cold-heartedness, her violence and her dismissal of an employee among them) peg her as a villain.  But as Jesus healed the “sinful” woman, Takizawa heals Shiratori.  Now, both can leave and lead a better life.

Kuroha Diana Shiratori

Source: Pixiv (unsure of artist)

Jesus healed other women as well – some physically, and all spiritually.  Mary Magdalene has demons removed from her.  Another woman, who had been subject to bleeding for seven years (she experienced physical difficulties and also emotional and social from being condemned as unclean), also finds healing through faith.  Both were immediately and drastically changed when meeting Jesus.  Shiratori, too, undergoes a change just by meeting the Jesus-figure, Takizawa.

Shiratori is representative of many women who came in contact with Jesus – they can’t helped but feel compelled to a person who is seemingly normal.  The Bible indicates that there was nothing in Jesus to attract us to Him – yet He became the center of the world’s largest religion.  Likewise, Takizawa is not in the high-fashion field Shiratori is in, and isn’t glamorous, sexy and dangerous like she.  But his sense of mercy, justice and innocence attracts her.  Jesus was not attractive, but His words and actions attracted all people.  Women were particularly drawn to Him, it seems.  Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, and others became his followers.  He often spoke to and approached women, offering them the same compassion and justice that He showed men.  At one point, He tells Mary Magdalene that God is both His father and her father, creating a sense of equality of men and women before God.

There are other interesting parallels if I wanted to go all Da Vinci code with Mary Magdalene…but I won’t go there.

In the end, in a world where men (or at least one man) were awful to Shiratori (and in Judea where women were fairly powerless), one man changed things.  Shiratori came to realize that not all men are bad (in her heart at least, if she didn’t already know in her head).  Women who came to know Jesus were likewise changed by a man who recognized them, loved them and cared for them as much as he did for men.  Grace only needs to be given by one person; and grace can change everything.

TWWK

Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

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