The end of the year means retrospection and of course, “best of” lists. During my time in the aniblogosphere, I’ve been blessed to read hundreds and hundreds of wonderful posts, and though I don’t visit aniblog sites as much now as I did in the past, I still read articles related to anime and religion each week. We present them on Fridays as part of the now-named Something More series.
Though I have a great collection of co-bloggers, I’ll leave staff-written post out the following list. Instead, the list below is of articles 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):
In summary, I think that the small percentage of Christians who are anime fans and the large percentage of fansubbers who steal anime are two numbers that go hand-in-hand. Sure, there are Christians who watch fansubs, I know that I did for an arc of Bleach before giving up the crime for good. But I don’t think these statistics are any coincidence; instead, I think it’s something to ponder.
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Third, in the final phase of her divinity, it’s so captivating to see those segments of infinitesimal rays and those countless radiations. I see it as something that represents the Highest Cause—the emblazoning of the eternal Spiritual Light/Sound of the World. Hence, this trinity of the organic and inorganic facets creatively shows the clashing and merging of the physical and spiritual world. Or simply, the wonderful transformation of an ordinary school girl to sexy goddess-like Harmonic.
Think of the religious, the priests and bishops, the monks and nuns, the sisters and brothers. The world might see them as quaint, or even laughable. But I see them as Pokemon, as Airbenders and X-Men. Each an archetype, each categorized by an unique charism, an individual power.
As for the Voxes themselves, described as demons, they are a prime example of triple deities, a very common archetype throughout the history of religion. Also taking into account the word, rinne (輪廻) from the series title, it can be translated into samsara in English. Samsara is a concept found in Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions that describes the endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth. We could assume that the Voxes makes up one entity as a whole with three aspects, and that those three aspects are life, death, and rebirth.
Stories about saviors who will return to save the lesser offs of society aren’t exactly uncommon. But naming the episode ‘Advent’ removes any question of what the creators’ intent was here. The frequent verbal mentions of angels and visuals of people dressed up in white robes with wings and halos reinforces that the returning savior we’re meant to think of in this case is Jesus.
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To a non-Japanese Catholic watcher at the time, the fact that [the finale of Madoka Magica] aired on freaking Good Friday made the message of the show all the more powerful, as it echoed (again unintentionally) the same type of qualities that lie at the core of why Christianity celebrates Holy Week.
The goddess in Tsuritama who is enshrined in Enoshima is called Benzaiten (Goddess of Eloquence), a Japanese name for the Hindu goddess Saraswati. Tsuritama depicts her as a combination of these two cultures. It doesn’t completely explain Akira and Tapioca’s presence in the story, but it gives a hint as to why there are Indians in the show, given that they are associated with one goddess.
The Japanese glorify/objectify/fetishize the objects of their affection to a “religious” degree (e.g. idols). The Will to Weeaboo is probably at least in part a yearning by a monotheistic people to break from that shell and worship however many gods/idols they want and abandon them at a moment’s notice, just like the Japanese do. In Japan, this glorification means that the object of affections’ fluids are much coveted. So much blind men seeking the healing spit. In a weird way then, the non-Christian Japanese engage in their own practices via mechanisms that themselves are recognizable biblically.
Once again, oddly enough, I’ve learned a lot of Christian lessons through different moments in different anime. Some of these anime were funny, but most were serious (without taking themselves too seriously, thank God), and almost none of them said a direct word about God, Jesus, or Christianity. Actually, most of them had nothing to do with religion. They were simply great works of animation. Great stories.
I feel that cons and congoers often suffer from the popular misconception that they are in some way hedonistic and “godless.” Given the attire and attitudes of some of the visible layer at the con, this is hardly surprising, but also extremely unfair. While anime conventions might appear, at least on the surface, to be counter to widely held and “accepted” practice of religion, in many ways what goes on at the con is hardly irreligious.
Please return tomorrow for numbers 11-20!