“Examining Old School Anime” has enjoyed a long run, and now seems like a good time to end it. Finding theological topics within old school anime proves harder with each show. The Leijiverse brims with such topics, but sticking to Galaxy Express 999 would deprive this column of variety. Also, the art style of 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s anime does not appeal to many anime fans. I once felt the same way, until the hackneyed anime of 2009-2011 caused me to look backward. If a similar disgust afflicts our dear readers, may you remember Ashita no Joe, Captain Harlock, and other shows covered in this column.
My next one concerns light novels and bears the straightforward title “Examining Light Novels.” Despite so many of our most beloved (or hated) anime deriving from light novels, few anibloggers write about this medium. The ninth volume of Spice and Wolf will feature in the first article. Then, I intend to finish that series before moving onto Slayers and Kara no Kyoukai. After that, I’ll have to find some new light novels to read. (You’re welcome to suggest some in the comments.) Those of you familiar with Spice and Wolf know its unfriendly stance towards organized religion and monotheism. Expect most of those articles to discuss apologetics–either on behalf of the medieval Church or Christianity itself.
Yet, I don’t intend for this column to be solely apologetic. In the tradition of “Examining Old School Anime,” it will still extract various Christian themes from these works. The medium rather than the object of these articles is what has changed. Though, light novels will open up new areas for reflection. Film concentrates on what people do while books focus what people think. People’s thoughts revolve around theology more than any other topic. Modern history bears this out: try to think of one historical movement since the 17th century which has not been based on religion, used religion, or affected the way people view the relationship between God and man. These movements molded the philosophies and attitudes of both Westerners and Japanese. You can bet they appear implicitly or overtly in light novels.
In visual mediums, the attitudes and values inherited from the past are often assumed and unexamined. The reason for this is because visual mediums concentrate on action rather than reflection. Reflective TV series and films seldom do well. However, the opposite holds true with books–even with light novels. Focusing on the characters’ thoughts makes authors more concerned with why their characters act and think the way they do. I hope this new column brings out more of the theological baggage of the entertainment we consume as well as inspires you to pick up a few of these novels.
Look forward to the first article of this new column on August 31st!