“Cartoons” aren’t just for kids. Anime fans probably know that better than anyone. But it’s not just mature content and convoluted plots that make anime an appealing medium for adults. Through animation’s ambiguous limits, philosophy and theology can be easily conveyed in a manner that anyone can grasp (often without their realizing it). For example, a viewer can easily be exposed to the ideals of Kant in an episode of Futurama or the concept of Tao Te Ching in Mushishi.
Applying the logic of this article directly to Christianity brings to mind endless opportunities. In much the same way that philosophical concepts of alternative timelines and fifth dimensions can be easily “simplified” and conveyed through an animated medium, so too could hard-to-grasp spiritual concepts such as eternity or the Trinity. Perhaps Christianity as a whole would do well to consider the power of anime and cartoons for explaining spiritual ideas and truths where textbooks and live-action fall short.
Read the article at Religion Dispatches (warning: God’s name taken in vain):
And now for a plethora of ponderous posts:
In addition to being a Christ-archetype himself, Young Black Jack’s Hazama Kuroo brings to mind the need for a spiritual doctor with the power of a lasting cure. [Geekdom House]
>> Silver Spoon asks some important, biblically-relevant questions about the Pork Bowls (read: trails) we face in life and how they ultimately shape us into better people. [Geekdom House]
When it comes to unconditional love, Angel Beats’ Hinata and Yui = relationship goals. [MDMR]
My Last Day is an impressive (and historically accurate) re-telling of the crucifixion of Christ in anime form. Perhaps anime could lend itself especially well to other biblical adaptations. [Geeks Under Grace]
>> The anime-turned-video-game, Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, features Christian themes of mercy, loyalty, and self-sacrifice, though the “Catholic” faith is portrayed in a rather hostile light during the Crusades. [Geeks Under Grace]
Was Light really the villain of Death Note? Whether willing or just plain possessed, Light’s desire to become an omnipotent dealer of justice speaks volumes of mankind’s longing for a more perfect world and righteous judge… and why humans “playing God” is never a good idea. [Anime News Network]
Episode 11 of Erased brings to mind the Catholic ideals of justification, sanctification, and reprobation. Also, spoilers. [Medieval Otaku]
Upcoming, original anime, Hand Shakers, appears to incorporate elements of the Old Testament (particularly the Tower of Babel)… though “God” may be playing the villain this time. [My Anime List]
As part of the Something More series of posts, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality. If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please contact us to be included.