When I sent out the call for co-bloggers several weeks ago, my excitement was high, but my expectations low. I wondered if I’d get any applications, and with my stringent requirements, I felt that even if I did, I might have the unenviable task of rejecting applicants. But God absolutely blessed me by sending three wonderful applicants my way, all of whom I believe will be wonderful additions to Beneath the Tangles.
Today, I’d like to welcome the first two – each of whom I personally knew or knew of and respected greatly before I even knew they’d apply. The first, R86, has been a co-blogger of types by function, if not by name, up until this point – he’s posted quite a bit on Beneath the Tangles in the past and I’m glad to call him my friend. The second is Goldy, whose interest in applying excited me to no ends! She’s a knowledgeable and strong writer who’ll bring a different viewpoint to what would otherwise be a boy’s club.
To officially bring the two in, R86 recommended that we do a Q&A – I couldn’t think of any better way to introduce my new co-bloggers!
TWWK: How did you become a fan of anime?
R86: By accident. I just decided one day to check out this anime thing that so many young people my students’ age were watching. I was hooked before I realized what was happening.
Goldy: Like most kids with a TV, I watched cartoons. After years of being obsessed with Pokemon and Digimon (never missed an episode), I was finally introduced to anime through 4kids’ One Piece and Mew Mew Power. Since I didn’t have cable, that was my only exposure to this thing called “Japanese animation” and it was only later I found out how much better a lot of the anime series were made. Or rather, how much of this stuff there was and how good it was.
TWWK: What are your favorite types or genres of anime? How about favorite shows?
R86: I don’t have a favorite genre as such — as long as there are at least a few male characters for me to identify with, and the series involves deep learning or character transformation in at least some of the characters (preferably as a result of interacting with other characters), and the character design isn’t too distorted from real life, then I’m in. Sports, space, mystery, adventure, music, and superpower shows are often on my watch list, but I’ve watched and will continue to watch almost anything.
Goldy: I rarely watch a show based on its genre. The story and characters usually give a series its life. I often focus more on animation more than genre as well unless it’s different from the normal (i.e. Cowboy Bebop with sci-fi/western). I’ll watch almost anything, but I have a very soft spot for anime based off of/inspired by legends, literary works (from anywhere in the world), or historic facts or real life events. Also ones based on art and music interest me a lot.
Some of my favorite shows are Ouran High School Host Club, Giant Robo, Samurai Champloo, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Baccano! to name a few.
TWWK: But hey, you’re more than just anime bloggers. What do you do in “real life”?
R86: I am a chemistry professor at a small school in Minnesota. I teach general and organic chemistry to both majors and nonmajors. I also have a research position at Texas A&M University (aka That Other School In College Station, to Austin dwellers such as TWWK), so most years I spend some time in both states.
Goldy: I am currently a senior in college studying art for a bachelor’s in Illustration. Going to college is basically “my job”, so I try to stay busy with it as well as other activities. I usually spend my time doing homework, drawing, conducting a Japanese chat every week with some CAA members.
TWWK: How about other interests?
R86: I’ve been a musician all my life, and specialize in woodwinds, with flute being my main instrument. Computers, writing, and foreign languages are also lifelong interests of mine. Drawing is a more recent one, though I wish I’d taken it up earlier in life. Gaming is another interest, but I try to keep myself too busy with the others to give myself enough time for it.
Goldy: Mainly drawing, playing video games, Japanese, and some writing. Drawing is a somewhat required interest for my future planned line of work, but I do enjoy it. I don’t play video games as much as I used to, especially when I’m going to school, but the new Professor Layton game is coming out and I’m quite sure that’s going to be taking my money and time very soon. Japanese has been an interest of mine for a while now since I started studying it in school two years ago. And sometimes I dabble in short story writing, but mainly I like “talking” about writing than actually “writing”.
TWWK: Do you have a blog other than Beneath the Tangles?
Q6: The theme of this blog is unique since it revolves around Christian spirituality. Both of you are Christians. Could you give us the short testimony about how you came to this faith?
R86: On a challenge by some Intervarsity folks when I was in college, I read the Bible cover to cover, Genesis through Revelation. I was looking for some loophole that meant Jesus was fine for other people, but not for me. Even before I started Matthew, my theory that this loophole even existed was looking like the longest of long shots. And so far from finding that loophole in the New Testament, though I don’t remember exactly when or at what point, I came to believe in this Jesus whom I was trying my best to dodge. And somehow, 20 years have passed since then. Where did the time go?
Goldy: I was “officially” saved when I was five year’s old, but never really understood it that much until probably my junior year in high school. While growing up, I realized I could be terribly skilled at being a “good Christian”. I often got comments on how wonderful a child I was, from adults, and from my peers how perfect I was. And don’t even get me started about Sunday School. I always had the right answer (not something to brag about, by the way). Though, over a period of many years of this attitude and lost friendships, I came tumbling down to the painful conclusion that all my “hard” work had been in vain. Works do nothing to save me or “make me a better Christian”. I realized over several instances (it takes a while to get things through my head. God knows me better than I do myself, so He is always very persistent with me), that God and His love is the only thing that matters and my works or my attempts to be “good” do nothing. That being said, I think faith without works is dead, though it shouldn’t be the main focus. Life is a learning process and I definitely still am learning as I pursue God in my life.
TWWK: And finally, on a less serious note, let’s end on some fill-in-the-blank!
If I were Haruhi Suzumiya, I would…
R86: … find some way to wipe that smug, self-satisfied grin off Koizumi’s face. Esper indeed. A surprise half-birthday party perhaps?
Goldy: …probably take a trip to the country and investigate crop circles. Or better yet, try to find The Doctor. Series merge!
Mecha anime are…
R86: … 90% ponderous, noisy machine groanings, 8% Stuff Blowing Up, and 2% Manly Tears. Not that this is a bad thing.
Goldy: …too cold and metal-y for me to get much interested in yet.
K-On! is so…
R86: … Sorry, I’m too busy performing eye reduction surgery on the main characters, giving them actual noses, and lowering their voices about an octave. Once that’s done, I’ll get back to you.
Goldy: …much fun! I’ve only seen a little of it so far, but after the first episode, I wanted to grab my guitar off the shelf and start strumming it.
My life would be incomplete if I’d never seen…
R86: … Ookiku Furikabutte. But everyone knew I’d say that. Two years ago, I’d have said Saint Seiya. I hope I’ll say something else in another two years.
Goldy: …Giant Robo. I look back and regret every minute waited to watch this anime. Every minute and every second.
R86: Yet another series to put on my list. I don’t take it lightly when Goldy recommends anything this strongly.
My favorite thing/character/setting to draw is…
R86: … fanart that captures the character being fully himself or herself, that expresses what it’s like to be in that character’s skin. “Look, it’s Naruto standing there like a stick –” not gonna cut it. I can live with some anatomical errors as long as there’s a sense of authenticity in a piece (mine or someone else’s), as long as it gives us a sense of what it would feel like to be that character if he or she really existed.
Goldy: …eyes, oddly enough. All types of eyes (manga and realistic). But, I enjoy drawing anything and everything I can think of if it strikes me as interesting. Sometimes I’ll draw some fan art from a series I’m currently watching.
My soul reaper bankai would, of course, be called….
R86: … Iinioidane — “Smells good, doesn’t it?”
Goldy: …Kintoge — Me and my unoriginal “gold spine.”
and its power, most naturally, would be to…
R86: … grant a steaming hot coffee to everyone in the room. Venti size, of course. “Boil!” — Niero! Iinioidane!
Goldy: …have an effect of piercing words in the opponent’s head. That word toge also means “biting words.” Nothing flashy, but I suppose still powerful. “Stab!” — Tsukisase, Kintoge!
TWWK: Thanks for answering the questions – and certainly thank you for joining!
I’m looking forward to developing this site further with my new co-bloggers. I hope you readers out there will stay tuned and see what our little group has in store. 🙂