New Year’s is often a good time for retrospection – personally, professionally, even regarding one’s hobbies and interests. On Beneath the Tangles, that means looking at the two major items we discuss: anime and religion/spirituality. Though all of the writers here are Christian, I’ve also been sure to link to posts that discuss anime and manga in relation to other religions, particularly through the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere posts, which appear here every Friday and on other occasions.
Though I’d love to talk up my co-bloggers, I’ll leave out any of the posts written by staff (well, you can find a few of my favorites here, here, and here). Instead, the list below is of posts written by other anibloggers involving anime/manga and religion/spirituality. Numbers one through six are listed in chronological order (seven through twelve to follow tomorrow):
If the Fractale system removes the problem of suffering due to privation entirely, it is arguable that it has done more than God would do for creation. This is why it presents itself (or perhaps there are those who present it as) the operational God of this world. If your most basic needs are taken care of (an income to survive, to participate in the market), then aren’t you free to pursue your dreams?
What’s with the swastikas? Visitors to Japan are sometimes unnerved by Japanese street maps, which indicate Shinto shrines with a torii symbol, and Buddhist temples with a swastika. The swastika is an ancient Indian religious symbol, representing the evolution of the universe, or in Buddhism, eternity.
[Mirai] begins to see them through the lens of humility and love rather than self-interest. Her question is not so much, “how are they in my way?” as “how can I be of help to them?” which is where she is at the end of episode 5. In episode 6, she and Yuuki finally begin to try to help Mari in her own struggles. Looked at in general, this plotline should be a familiar one. This is how Christians believe God transforms people who follow Jesus, who while still being sinful are embraced–to the point of death–by him and carried through the wreckage of the world, walking together toward home.
To dig into Madoka’s spiritual ascension even deeper, let us examine the definition of nirvana. Nir-vana. Nir means to leave, be without, or be free of. Vana defines several natures, including the path of rebirth, forest, weaving, and stench. Therefore, nirvana is the state of being away from the path of rebirth permanently, as Madoka’s final change is the end of her timeline.
“Church of Madoka” jokes aside, she did essentially decide to become the patron saint and protector of magical girls. And like the blue dress of the Virgin Mother, before they die, all of them see her: The magical girl who made the ultimate sacrifice to save them, the redeemer in frills and lace, buttons and pretty bows.
While the convention is in town, the local convention center/hotel/venue takes on a sort of “semi-sacred” status. Much like Mircea Eliade mentioned in “The Sacred and the Profane,” (1957) these venues are intrinsically mundane, but become sacred through the collective experience of the attendees. They take on sacred aspects when experienced, or when in the presence of, a “religious man,” in this case a fan or congoer, and become a “threshold to the experience of the sacred, a division between the profane reality and the sacred reality.” (1957)
Please return tomorrow for numbers seven through twelve!