Something More: Belonging in Bungou, Berserk “Sunday School,” and Dangerous Flying Witches

Anime often revels in deviant storytelling. Add that to its cultural roots, and it’s easy for misunderstanding and stereotyping to occur among Western audiences. Christians, especially, seem hesitant to embrace anime due, in part, to its oftentimes default spiritual content. Witches, demons, spirits, and magic frequently flavor Japanese storytelling, which can sound worse in word than it is in practice. As a Christian connoisseur of the medium, then, where does one draw the line between the orthodox and the occult?

In his article on Flying Witch, Medieval Otaku compiles a list of criteria for evaluating the nature of spiritual content within the anime he consumes, determining whether or not to engage it as a result. It’s a practice I think all Christian otaku would be wise to emulate, whether they write down their criteria on paper, or formulate it in their minds. Having a list of “premises,” along with the logic behind those items, not only provides viewers with accessible guidelines, but also allows for a ready response when others inquire about personal viewing habits and motives.

I encourage you to jump over to the article and leave a comment with some of your own guidelines for navigating anime’s spiritually-turbulent waters.

Read Medieval Otaku’s full article at… Medieval Otaku:

>> On Flying Witch and its Ilk

And now for a plethora of ponderous posts:

If Farnesse owned her faith the way that Guts “owned” her in their discussion of religion, perhaps she’d have more than “Sunday school” answers to retort with. Berserk hammers home the importance of having a ready response for our beliefs. [Unsheathed]

Christians are likely to be “at odds” with the world due to their beliefs and values, and Alisha (the heroine of Tales of Zestiria the X) would probably know a thing or two about that.  [Geeks Under Grace]

–> Despite reservations about the gaudy alliteration in its title, Cooper dives into the first episode of Taboo Tatoo with favorable results and outlines some content concerns for Christian viewers. [2]

Fate/Zero‘s famed “Banquet of Kings” pits leadership extremes of altruism and dictatorship against each other in a battle for superiority; but perhaps its the servant leadership style–with its dedication to higher ideals–that rings truest. [Geekdom House]

If there’s a spiritual truth that Bungou Stray Dogs emphasizes, it’s the human desire for acceptance and belonging (which only Christ can ultimately fulfill). Unfortunately, in an anime world where weretigers prowl, God is not part of the equation. [Otaku Collision]

Could part of Spirited Away‘s record-breaking success be due to its timeless, biblically-backed themes? Far from being a dull morality tale, Miyazaki’s magnum opus uses virtue to augment the story, rather than steal the spotlight from it. [Reel Rundown]

Compared to its anime peers, Sailor Moon keeps its body count surprisingly low. Perhaps the Senshi’s preference for mercy can be traced to a certain Buddhist mantra. [Tuxedo Unmasked]

Heavily influenced by Shinto, the anime medium is an ideal study in how religion and pop culture meld, and why studying one benefits comprehension of the other. [All Otaku]

An anime fan plays devil’s advocate on the subject of Japanese media subverting “good Christian values,” and explores the roots of cross-cultural misunderstandings between anime and American parents.  [Japan Powered]

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.


2 thoughts on “Something More: Belonging in Bungou, Berserk “Sunday School,” and Dangerous Flying Witches

    1. Always a pleasure to feature your work. I liked the mixture of logic, doctrine, and personal beliefs in that article of yours. Definitely succeeded in getting me to think. I hope I send some comments and feedback your way.

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