The Warrior Nun of Manga

Nuns, nuns, nuns – is it just me, or are they more present than ever in anime and manga?  Often depicted in American media as being strict schoolmistresses who are unafraid to use physical punishment (I’m reminded of Blues Brothers), recent anime has also shown nuns as having superhuman strength and sometimes mystical powers.

Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch an anime or read a manga that focuses on these “super nuns”?  Well…why don’t you take a watch at the OP for one such series below:

At this point I guess you’re thinking, “What the heck did I just see?”

If you’re not familiar with it, that was the intended opening for an anime (which was never created) based on Warrior Nun Areala, a series created by Ben Dunn of Antartic Press.  It revolves around Sister Shannon Masters, who takes up the mantle to become this generation’s Areala.  The original Areala (Aurea) lived around 1066, the first of an order of warrior nuns (and magic priests) developed.  They serve the Catholic Church in protecting the earth against evil.

Besides Areala, other characters include:

  • Father Terrance Gomez, the pastor of church where Masters is stationed.  He is not a magic priests, but provides support for Masters in her work, in addition to his normal priestly duties.
  • Father David Crowe, a handsome, young, sunglasses-wearing magic priest.  He and Masters were once in love.
  • Shotgun Mary, a former warrior nun who left the order and now fights evil unconventionally, with a rebellious attitude, guns, and while riding  a motorcycle.
  • Lillith the Demon Princess, a sometimes-enemy/sometimes-ally of Masters who is part of a demon faction that opposes Satan. 
Warrior Nun Sister Shannon, surrounded by supp...
Image via Wikipedia
Unsurprisingly, the series has received its share of criticism.  From outside the church, some have said the series exploits religion.  From within the church, many have decried the violence and sexuality (particularly of Masters)  in the series.  Nonetheless, the series was very sucessful and spawned a number of different series.

This Wednesday, I’ll be reviewing volume one of Warrior Nun Areala and on Friday, I’ll review volume one of the Japanese manga based on the series.  Please visit the Wikipedia article on this series, which is extensive and from which I gathered much of this post’s information.

10 thoughts on “The Warrior Nun of Manga

  1. Wow, praise God and pass the bullets!

    Warrior orders were prevalent in Western Christendom, for example the Templars and the Teutonic knights so why not a fighting order of nuns?

    I also know that warrior orders are historical fact in Japan; specifically the buddhist monks of Mt Hiei. However, Nobu Obanaga pretty muched wiped them out, along with any others who got in his way of a unified Japan.

    Two of the supposedly most peaceful religions, Buddhism and Christianity, has a history of laying the smack down on any and all percieved evil in the world.

    Oh the dichotomy, oh the irony and, oh so much fun.

    1. I had no idea about the warrior orders in the west…interesting. As for the warrior monks in Japan, I do know about those – I’ll mention them in the review on Wednesday. I studied them quite a bit for a class I took years back.

      By the way, “praise God and pass the bullets!”? THAT should’ve been the title for this post, hehe.

  2. I bought the first issue of this and years later helped make this video possible. AAAAAHHHHHRRRGGGHHHH!!! … seriously? You think that? You’re gonna go with this? ya know what … fine. you do that.

  3. Mm, won’t dip my toes into this anytime soon. The often inaccurate and frequently irreverent portrayals of the Catholic faith and the clergy in anime never fail to set my teeth on edge. A lot of the tamer stuff I can let slip – cultural misunderstandings and all that – but I’ve dropped at least one series when they strayed into downright blasphemy. There are some things one simply can’t take lightly, not even under the guise of artistic licence (anything parodying the Mass, for example). Quite often it’s not just offensive in a pedestrian sort of fashion; it’s plain hurtful.

    Probably worth writing a whole post about this at some point, but let’s leave it there; comment boxes aren’t the best place for long-winded ranting. (To be clear, the rant isn’t aimed at you, old chap – the frustration-venting is directed towards the people who crank out this disrespectful rubbish. Cheers.)

    But on the subject of defending the Faith, here’s something that may be of interest. Not anime, not even Japanese, but not quite off-topic.

    1. I definitely understand your point of view. I understand the view that religion, like anything else, can be ridiculed, criticized, analyzed, and parodied. It’s all fair game. Unfortunately, that can cause pain for those who are serious about their faith, particularly when one’s faith heavily involves love, grace, and the sacrificial death of Christ.

      Fortunately, Areala is not trying to go that route. The series, from what I’ve read, is generally respectful regarding Catholicism. The hero is a nun who is faithful to God, and despite some of the objections in the manga (there’ll be some of that in my review), the Christians in the story are treated fairly. It’s an innovative read in a genre that treats Christianity more as a strange or evil sect than as a loving faith.

      And thanks for the link. You know, I took a course on the social revolutions in Mexico and Cuba and don’t recall hearing or reading about the Cristeros – I’m intrigued. And when Peter O’Toole came on the screen…that pretty much sold me. 😉

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