We here at Beneath the Tangles seem to constantly be looking for Christ-like figures in anime. Can you blame us? We are a group of professing Christians who love anime and, frankly, you see self-sacrificing figures seeking to redeem or protect their friends, family, or people in anime on a regular basis. So, Christ-like figures are common in anime. But what of other figures from the Bible? I am doing a sermon on Sunday on Isaiah 6 and have been reading a lot from Isaiah. I am also watching Elegant Yokai Apartment Life. After watching a recent episode, it hit me that Fool is an Isaiah-like figure. Let me explain.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life is a currently airing series about…a lovely apartment building filled with yokai, and our teenage main character, Yuushi Inaba. Inaba has become the owner of a magical book which has provided him with some magical insight as well as the ability to summon a number of magical creatures to assist him and treat him as master. There’s a lot of plot that takes us from point A [high schooler ends up living in an apartment filled with yokai] to point B [said high schooler gains magical book providing him with summoning abilities]. Let’s ignore that for a moment and discuss one of these magical beings who I claim is an Isaiah-like figure: Fool.
Fool (yes, that’s his name) serves as a liaison between Inaba and the other magical beings he can summon. Fool is quick to notice magical auras around them. He also is quick to recommend that Inaba summon the other beings from the book to help. He is constantly urging Inaba to use the powers at his disposal, sometimes to the point of irritation. Inaba gets visibly annoyed at Fool, who is really just trying to help his master.
Fool keeps trying to support Inaba. He provides him with wisdom. He provides him with ideas. He provides him with encouragement. He provides him with suggestions. He…kind of keeps pestering Inaba over and over again. However, nearly every time Fool is proven to have good instincts and, while annoying, is often right in his assessment of various situations. It is with this in mind that I am reminded of the prophet Isaiah.
Isaiah has a lot to say to the people of Israel and Judah. He has to warn them about their eventual exile. He has to tell them about their failure and that they will be crushed. He is trying to tell them to give in to their attackers, not due to lack of pride or because the attackers are better, but because God is sending them for punishment. Isaiah also tells them of an eventual Messiah who will come born of a virgin to free the people. Sound familiar? Isaiah has a lot to say.
In Isaiah 6, we see Isaiah being commissioned as a prophet by God. It begins with fantastical imagery of angels and the Lord on high on His throne. An angel comes down to purify Isaiah’s mouth so his lips will speak the truth of God. Then God tells Isaiah to go tell His message to the people. He also tells Isaiah to tell them as they will hear and see, but will never understand or perceive what you are saying. Basically God is promising Isaiah that the people will not listen to him. Yet Isaiah does it and continues to do so as God tells him until the nation itself falls around him.
Isaiah is yelling at a wall that is ignoring every single word coming out of his mouth. Ever have that happen? Ever try to explain something to someone and have them completely ignore what you are saying? That’s what’s happening to Fool and Isaiah. For me—that’s a massive discouragement. I hate being boldly ignored when I’m trying to tell someone something. I hate my opinion being disregarded. Fool does too, as I’m sure Isaiah did as well. However both of them have this important trait in common—they did not stop.
In the face of adversity and threats of death, Isaiah kept screaming at the people of the impending issues and the eventual Messianic salvation. In the face of literally being shoved away or into pockets, Fool kept trying to provide wisdom and support to Inaba. Both were trying to support and serve. Both never gave up. Both continued to be bold in the face of adversity.
We really need to be bolder and do the same. How often to we shirk back when we are trying to explain the Gospel? How often to do we just walk away when ignored? Do we go back like Fool or Isaiah? I’m not saying to be rude or obnoxious, but not giving up—that’s the key here. When lives are at stake, souls are at stake, or spirits attacking random high school children are at stake, we need to keep at it. We need to keep talking. We need to be a bit more like Fool.
Elegant Yokai Apartment Life (Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou) can be streamed legally on Crunchyroll.