Examining Old School Anime: How a Mazone Shows the Importance of Mental Prayer

Episode 15 of Space Pirate Captain Harlock features, after Queen Lafresia, the most interesting Mazone we’ve yet met.  Aurora been posted inside an ice palace at the North Pole, where she waits for Captain Harlock to investigate the curious pattern produced by an aurora borealis.  Her only purpose in life is to kill Captain Harlock, and Aurora has meditated on him and their fateful meeting for years.  However, her long contemplation has brought home to her how good Captain Harlock is, and she quite naturally falls in love with him.  (What woman can resist the manly bearing of Captain Harlock?)  Unfortunately for Aurora, she tries to trap Captain Harlock inside the palace and picks a fight with Miime, an alien woman who owes her life to Captain Harlock.  The Mazone’s attack is cast back on herself and brings about her demise.

Miime, surprisingly powerful for a soft-spoken woman
Miime, surprisingly powerful for a soft-spoken woman

That the Mazone had fallen in love with Captain Harlock, considering their generally suicidal and malicious nature, came as a complete surprise to me.  But, how can one meditate on a good person without loving them more?  At the moment, I’m listening to Michael Korda’s recent biography of Robert E. Lee.  Certain biographers and pundits have made attempts to demonize the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia for owning slaves and fighting bitterly for a cause which would have perpetuated the peculiar institution.  But, when one examines the man himself, we see a devoted father, a patient husband, an officer who adhered to the highest standards of duty, a man of cheerful good humor, a general capable of meekness despite the attempts of others to strain his temper, a forgiving gentleman, a devout Christian, and an accomplished flirt.  To put it briefly, one gets the picture of a man who is not only very difficult to hate but even worthy of emulation.

Similar to the attitude certain people take toward Lee, many people find it unfortunately easy to hate God.  They blame God for all the troubles in their lives and neglect to credit God for His blessings.  They mock the Bible for its seeming contradictions and remember every harsh deed as they forget moments of mercy.  In doing all this, they create a wicked caricature of God and excuse themselves from really looking at God, which is the situation Isaiah 6:10 describes.  When it comes to Our Lord Jesus Christ, atheists also refuse to look at Him or declare the Gospels fairy tales.  They somehow manage to find harshness in a man without any meanness or otherwise diminish His status to that of a merely good man.  In the latter case, they become even more flustered on the occasions when someone brings up the point that Christ must be “mad, bad, or God.”

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But, even devout Christians can be severely tempted by the idea that God is cold and judgmental.  The world and the devil always portray God as a coldhearted judge, which is the precise opposite of what God is: Love.  The great refuge for a Christian amid these temptations to doubt God’s goodness is mental prayer or contemplation.  The simplest way to contemplate is to read Scripture, especially the Holy Gospels, and to ruminate on what a certain passage means about God.  One cannot merely read.  As St. Pio of Pietrelcina said, “In reading, we seek God.  In meditation, we find Him.”  Every believer seeks the presence of God, which dispels every doubt and dissolves every problem.

Often, the easiest way to engage in mental prayer is through repetitive vocal prayer, such as the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  This type of prayer has the benefit of helping the mind concentrate on a particular mystery as the lips and fingers are busy counting off the vocal prayers.  But, simply meditating and trying to understand the mystery at hand through begging God for knowledge can be even more fruitful.  The main thing is to continue thinking about God and His goodness lest the mundane cares of the world, fleshly pleasures, or hostile voices make us forget that God is a Loving Father and Merciful Savior.

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If the Mazone through simple meditation could fall in love with an enemy without the help of grace, how much more can we, assisted by grace, grow in the love and knowledge of God simply by often recalling Him frequently to mind and striving to love Him?

5 thoughts on “Examining Old School Anime: How a Mazone Shows the Importance of Mental Prayer

  1. I have a lot of thoughts on this subject.

    “I’m listening to Michael Korda’s recent biography of Robert E. Lee. Certain biographers and pundits have made attempts to demonize the Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia for owning slaves and fighting bitterly for a cause which would have perpetuated the peculiar institution. But, when one examines the man himself, we see a devoted father, a patient husband, an officer who adhered to the highest standards of duty, a man of cheerful good humor, a general capable of meekness despite the attempts of others to strain his temper, a forgiving gentleman, a devout Christian, and an accomplished flirt. To put it briefly, one gets the picture of a man who is not only very difficult to hate but even worthy of emulation.”

    I think that there’s two ways to solve this question that are equally right. Sometimes you do something so awful that reasonable people could look at this horrific one thing you did and be unable to ever see you as a good person again. But at the same time (And this is fundamentally what my problem is), sometimes you come to know something about the humanity and nobility of a truly awful person, and after that you can never truly see them as a monster again. The rule here is: “You can’t un-see what you’ve seen.”

    I once played this moral problem out in a story about this guy who raped his wife. Basically, early in this one man’s life, he was a cruel and selfish person who valued his own social standing above all else. Seeing his wife in love with another man, he imprisoned that man (effectively) and raped his wife. His wife later commits suicide, and the lover vows to get an answer from the rapist.The lover isn’t human— He’s a robot, a slave, but sentient. He’ll live for as long as his body lasts.

    When the lover finally “gets out of prison” and meets the rapist, he finds out that the rapist is dying of that universe’s cancer and has become old and senile. The rapist no longer even remembers what happened. To complicate the whole situation even further, it turns out that AFTER that incident the rapist became the most stalwart defender of worker’s rights imaginable. In his universe, that rapist was single-handedly responsible for more good than most people alive.

    But at the same time, can we really blame the lover for not being able to forgive him? All the wonderful, repentant things the rapist did might exonerate him in God’s eyes (Mainly because they were the result of faith), but the rapist still did what he did. I don’t think there is or even can be a right answer here, except what one knows the Bible says.

    “But, even devout Christians can be severely tempted by the idea that God is cold and judgmental. The world and the devil always portray God as a cold-hearted judge, which is the precise opposite of what God is: Love.”

    Yet it can’t be denied that a lot of people have a reason for thinking like this, and sometimes it’s a pretty good reason. A Christian gay man, unable to have any romantic interest in women, often will see God not as Love but as a madman who has condemned him to a life of loneliness he doesn’t want. He’ll have to pray a lot to make peace with himself, and wonder inside himself….

    Why doesn’t God treat people equally? Why does God give greater burdens for some people to overcome, and then cruelly judge them when they have only the resolve of a normal man? Does God want to test the strong of Will, and if so what kind of Love needs to test how strong it is?

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Those two points you make are quite valid, and the fable you relate displays several interesting ideas. I imagine the jealous husband as devoted to his own honor, which leads him to imprison his nefarious opponent in love and use his wife cruelly. This same devotion to honor would explain why he did so many good things for others after his wife’s suicide. Perhaps, he might have been trying to atone for his irrational cruelty toward his wife. (Greek mythology tells a tale of Aphrodite and Ares sleeping together, showing romantic love and violent madness as bedfellows.) All the same, I can’t much pity the wife or her lover–perhaps, I can pity the wife to a degree if the marriage was arranged and the husband behaved coldly towards her. Still, everyone knows that a jealous husband’s wrath has no bounds, and the two adulterers were obviously in the wrong. For the lover, I have no pity.

      The trial which you mention of the Christian man with homosexual leanings is worthy of great pity; but, who compassionates him more than God? One must keep in mind that God gives every man sufficient grace for salvation no matter how miserable their condition. The abyss of God’s mercy would seem completely excessive and unnecessary were it not for the abyss of human misery, which itself is the throne of God’s mercy. One must remember that Jesus Christ died for the whole world at an individual level. For the gay man, Christ suffered pain after pain saying, “Now, I gained patience for him through my humiliation. Now, self-control through my painful scourging. Now, interior peace through my crown of thorns. Now, I cry out ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani’ in taking upon myself the very abandonment he feels. Last, I commend myself to the Father along with him if only he accepts my forgiveness and grace!” Only when we feel disconnected from Christ’s Passion that suffering and humiliation can overwhelm us. Nevertheless, that suffering and humiliation is very real and often crushing, which is why Our Lord’s Passion is the chief subject recommended to the contemplation of us poor children of Eve suffering in this vale of tears!

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  2. “I imagine the jealous husband as devoted to his own honor, which leads him to imprison his nefarious opponent in love and use his wife cruelly. This same devotion to honor would explain why he did so many good things for others after his wife’s suicide. Perhaps, he might have been trying to atone for his irrational cruelty toward his wife.”

    This is implied throughout the Roleplay to have been exactly what happened. The lover himself, still very much alive, is explaining this bit to someone else. He’s trying to figure out how to cope with the fact that his old opponent in love, as it were, became someone he didn’t even recognize as the same person. It brought up a lot of issues of obligation, revenge, repentance, and forgiveness that were interesting to play out.

    “Now, I cry out ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani’ in taking upon myself the very abandonment he feels.”

    I suspected as much. It has been my running theory that He didn’t just put Himself upon the cross—- For a great many men have suffered worse and at younger ages. He took on the weight of all the world’s sin, up there, all of the sin that He did not commit. An agony so hideous you can’t conceive of it—- Our own anxiety and fear and envy and hate seems more than enough to overwhelm us. Let alone everybody’s!

    My strange friend and I are, still, stunned by this as we have always been. Praise be to Him, the person whose nobility is a balm to all wounds and a sword in the Heart to others.

    But still…

    “He must keep in mind that God gives every man sufficient grace for salvation no matter how miserable their condition”

    The suicide of many in that man’s condition leads me to the belief that this statement must be taken on faith alone. And that this is rarely as easy as it seems.

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    1. “On faith alone” these days gives the impression that one must believe in God without evidence. But, God always consoles those who seek Him while suffering trials. Often great suffering is accompanied by great consolation. And so, God gives us enough light–occasionally, only just enough (at least, as seen from our perception)–to get through the darkness. Most of human wisdom is encompassed by the words wait and hope, as Alexandre Dumas wrote.

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