In our Untangled feature, we answer questions posed to us from our readers. For today’s post, we received the following from Projected Realities:
My heart had been kind of hurting because of Darren Aronofsky’s “Noah”… not so much because of what it did to the Biblical story (that much I can deal with and ignore, though Noah ended up being a jerk) but because of how much I really felt like it pushed the limits of its PG-13 rating in ways that I’m really not comfortable with. And I was wondering if any of you guys had ever had to do that with a story, where you otherwise enjoy said story but have to make your “yes or no” opinion of it more complex than it should have had to be, because the sometimes-otherwise-good story includes various pieces of objectionable content that run the risk of making it really offensive.
TWWK: Thanks for the question! As a Christian watching anime, I’m almost exclusively watching series in that category (ha!). Well…maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it certainly sometimes feels that way. Some anime are so objectionable that avoid them entirely, but many walk that fine line. Those are the series where I need to really make a discerning decision – what’s the value of this series? How is it affecting me? Should I continue watching?
We probably all have a lot of anime series that fit this category. And in fact, the movie Noah might fit here for me as well.
Japesland: I actually quite like Noah, and I think many people don’t realize that it gains much inspiration from extra-biblical texts of the same flood account. But considering your sentiments on it, that obviously is not your issue (as you stated). That aside, however, I can definitely empathize with your situation, and I can think of one Scriptural passage with two real life applications of my own.
The passage you probably know all too well is I Corinthians 10, in which Paul addresses the topic of eating meat sacrificed to idols. To some this was sinful, while to others it was not. The deciding factor here was that it was sinful based primarily on their individual reactions and attitudes toward it.
The two shows of this that come to mind in my personal life are Game of Thrones (sorry, not an anime!) and the Monogatari series.
While I loved the Song of Ice and Fire books and greatly enjoyed season one of Game of Thrones, I simply decided I could not watch it in clear conscience. As an unmarried single male with a lively imagination, the frequent gratuitous nudity and sexuality simply went beyond my limits. However, I state that knowing several well-founded Christian friends who do not struggle as much with those issues and are able to consume it without issue.
On the other hand is the Monogatari series, with which I have the deepest love-hate relationship. I absolutely adore the direction of the series, from art to composition to writing. However, Monogatari (especially Nisemonogatari and the most recent entry Tsukimonogatari) features some of the most ridiculous ecchi I have seen in something that has not reached hentai status. Perhaps it is due to being animated, or perhaps I am simply more attached to Monogatari than Game of Thrones, but I have overlooked those scenes in order to consume what is otherwise a fantastic series. I will never re-watch some episodes for said content, but it has not stopped me from consuming the series as a whole.
TWWK: Monogatari definitely fits the bill for me. I eventually dropped it, despite really otherwise enjoying the show. Coincidentally, my love for the material of ASOIAF and the Game of Thrones series has me continuing to watch, though I definitely do see a gazillion redeeming qualities within.
How about you, Kaze?
Kaze: The first one that comes to my mind is OreTsuba, which I wrote about here. Saya no Uta was even more complex when it comes to weighing the pros and cons. However, in the cases of both, they really don’t tread any border so much as just straight up being R-18+, which is why I normally just don’t even mention them to people. But I think there’s something to be said about stories where “this has content which is 100% objectionable but I acknowledge the overarching theme/story as good.”
Monogatari definitely walks the border more closely than those 2.
TWWK: This season, Yuri Koma Arashi is firmly entrenched in the whole “walking the border” camp. The entertainment value is very high, but the yuri elements (though see Frank’s article on yuri) and fanservice have me very close to dropping the show. But my respect for the director and wonderful experience with Mawaru Penguindrum have kept me hanging on for now.
On a concluding note, I was reminded of Oreimo by Zeroe4, who gave me that series as the first that came to his mind, and that maybe hits the question more the head than any of our examples, because it deals more specifically with principles related to religion than some of ours and the idea of relationships and what crosses the line. Thanks again for the question – I hope our responses helped!
Readers, please respond! What series come to mind for you? How do you deal with watching them when it makes you uncomfortable to do so?