TangleCast 39: Of Voice Acting and Christian Existentialism

Team Trinity is back! Where did they go you might ask? To Kumoricon, of course, where @vintageinmyveins visited with J. Michael Tatum, the voice actor behind Sebastian (Black Butler), Rintaro (Steins;gate), and Iida (My Hero Academia). Based on Tatum’s thoughtful responses, Team Trinity dives into acting methods and motivations, the use of art to search for truth, and the nature of philosophy, faith, and existence. Yep, it gets pretty deep.

And we want your feedback as well! Each week we’ll ask a question on the podcast and feature your answers the next time that team rolls around. Here’s this week’s CQ (Cast Question): Is it possible to have an anime about a game (ex. Yu-Gi-Oh) be good?

Check us out on iTunes or through our RSS Feed! Also check out the article Hannah referenced about her interview with Samurai Dan.

16 thoughts on “TangleCast 39: Of Voice Acting and Christian Existentialism

  1. “and she refused to buy a sword”

    *unfollow*

    “Stephen King is not inherently a murderer.”

    Also, your interpretation of everything is wrong.

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    1. I thought the Stephen King line was funny… 😛

      Team Trinity is certainly an interesting trio—one minute, you’ll hear something that you might qualify as brilliant, and another, something you’ll disagree with entirely. But most of all, I think they do an excellent job of stirring conversation (I wish I was so thoughtful when I was their age!). I love ’em, maybe most of all because I’m a little bit of them all—I’ll find London’s observations compelling, and then become grounded in Hannah’s thoughts, and then remember how I once so I identified as being a Christian hedonist, like Aric.

      As you know, I value your comments and love your writing—please feel free to give us some more feedback if you’d like, though I can’t promise I’ll publish it this time haha. And thanks, as always, for the thoughts!

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  2. 1. When it comes to meaning in our individual lives, I suspect Matthew 25.31-46 has profound implications. Jesus indicates that in the final judgment, people will be surprised at the significance the King assigns to their actions. Some will find their deeds were not nearly so great as they believed, and others will learn their deeds counted for a lot more than they realized at the time. We don’t know what value our lives have in God’s eyes, but that ignorance doesn’t make our choices meaningless.

    2. I’m thinking Hannah is Dr. McCoy, Guy With English-ish Accent (sorry, couldn’t remember your name) is Spock, and Eric is Captain Kirk. Just FYI.

    3. Magic: the Gathering designer Mark Rosewater, a column explaining how he defines “game,” holds that some, but not all, sports are games:
    https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/making-magic/what-game-2018-06-04

    4. Emotion vs. logic – why must either be preeminent? The God of the Bible presents himself as the Logos (John 1.1) and he also presents himself as having a wide range of emotions (e.g., joy, grief, love, anger, etc.). This same God is the one who inspired the writing of the Psalms (poetry capturing a range of emotions) and the Song of Songs (passionate, romantic love poetry). This God who is is the source of logic and truth and order and reason and rationality, and who is also experiences deep emotions, created us in his image. It should come as no shock, then, that we find within ourselves both logic and emotion. To deny or denigrate either aspect of the image is a slight to the Creator himself. Denying aspects of our nature is also unhealthy; we should not disregard rationality in favor of being driven to and fro by our feelings, but neither should we stifle/ignore/bury our emotions and try to live according to some sort of cold rationality. Instead, each should help guide us without either wholly dominating our will.

    5. It seems pretty clear that God created us for relationships. I suspect God has specific purposes for creating each of us individually, as well, but we share this common purpose of being created in order to have relationships with our Creator and with our fellow humans. The “greatest commands” on which all the others depend are “Love God” and “Love your neighbor” for a reason. In the recurring trifecta of values found through the New Testament – trust, hope, and love – Paul directly says the greatest is love. In the beginning (which Jesus looks to for learning God’s intentions for man), we find humans in relationship with each other and with God. Before that, every aspect of the entire creation was “good,” except in one point: man being alone was “not good.” In context, God resolves this via creation of woman and marriage, but that story also reflects a broader truth that we are meant by God for loving relationship not only with him but also with other humans. I submit that love is a combination of feeling and action, of emotion and choice: “a more perfect union” of the rational and emotional facets of our nature. Basically, in the fight between emotion and logic, love wins. *mic drop*

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    1. Definitely with you on the Magic the Gathering citation there with Mark Rosewater. He’s kind of like a hero to me in terms of gaming. MTG would make a great anime! They made short manga out of it, I thought. I also catch the mtg reference in your name.

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  3. Without the context provided in the podcast, a lot of folks answered this question by giving adaptations of video games, though there are a couple responses here that really respond to the question at hand:

    @samuru1 (one of our writers) said: Yes there are anime based on games that are good! For example, Tales Of has several, I will leave the link below but the two I have seen are Tales of Abyss (beat the game as well!) and Tales of Symphonia (beat it as well). They were really well adapted. Also (I did search to make sure I didn’t miss any) check out Rockman.EXE, Gungrave, Valkyria Chronicles and Persona as well

    Also if you meant a “game” like a board or card game, then yeah, I guess Yugioh and there’s others like Beyblade

    My comment from Facebook: Yes! Chihayafuru is an AMAZING series, and it’s technically about a card game.

    @kazehydra (a former writer for BtT) through that same Twitter handle, said, “Chihayafuru.”

    The rest of these are through Instagram:
    @maka_mamani: No game no life is naice one too kakegurui
    @treyrobinson: Bakugan was pretty decent
    @fregginpariss: Yes! Yugio, SAO, No Game No Life
    @animewhizzBeyblade: Yu-Gi-Oh
    @justinsayana: Log Horizon! Yu Gi Oh!
    @dahmelimelon: Omg, yugioh, the first series was AMAZING. I love how they used card games to solve their conflicts but that wasnt thr story overall. So much character development and relationship building. I loved all the messages it delivered. By far one of my favorite anime
    @asocial_ambivert: I don’t think Overlord counts but there was a chinese SAO rip off that I hear is good not too long ago about esports or sumthin’
    @recon.sora: no gae no life. But a lil bet ecchi
    @animemusic900: Tales of vesparia is a good one
    @celtic.nerd: Street Fighter II: The Movie (The anime, not the van Damme one)
    @asocial_ambivert: I believe that competent writing can make anything good
    @asor.ah: Kakegurui is technically about games and it’s a great anime
    @insusmasha85: Kakegurui
    @muffi12151: Angels of death?
    @animenerd277: no game no life??
    @_the_anime_flower: Doki Doki literature club
    @mizuneibi: Yeessss !!!!!!!!
    @mikks75: No Game No Life?
    @argo_odm: No game no life
    @lethal_magikarp: The u-Gi-Oh one of the spin offs though
    @soulku0224: Steins;gate is a visual novel that has wonderful anime adaptations
    @justinsayama: Yes! Yu Gi Oh!
    @bryanle: Danmachi! It’s a little different though. Rather it be about being in an RPG game, it’s more like if RPG was real life?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow thas a LOT of replies haha. I was going to mention Street Fighter but they beat me to it. Oh, theres also a short King of Fighters OVA I think 4 of them or something that was real good too

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    2. I’ve seen Chihayafuru praised before, but I tried a couple episodes and it just didn’t grab me. Can you sell me on why I ought to keep watching it? What is there to look forward to? 😀

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      1. Chihayafuru has a slow start giving that background with the three main characters as kids, but it picks up when it returns to modern day after a few episodes.

        The appeal is in how the show simultaneously gives you that the feels in the heart and satisfaction in your head. As the series progresses, character growth is so well shown through engaging matches featuring unique characters that you get enough time with to really care about,

        And you especially care for your mains as they each struggle and grow and regress, all while strong tones of friendship and romance are strewn throughout.

        It’s a special, special series. Despite its length, I’ve watched it three times, most recently with my wife and two kids, the youngest of whom prefers it to My Hero Academia and any other series aimed at a younger age group.

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  4. Oh, and although I’ve never seen it, I should mention Hikaru no Go, since its so beloved. OHH, and March Comes in Like a Lion! It’s a really introspective and sensitive series that tackle topics like depression, loss, abuse, single parenting, etc., all while still maintaining a wonderful sense of humor and the competitiveness that comes in the world of shogi. It’s a personal favorite of Peter, one of Team FtK’s podcasters.

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  5. The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done! actually managed to make the game interesting to me, but the moronic jerksnout protagonist and the show’s creepy lolicon harem slant made it a bad show overall.

    To make a story be ABOUT a game, seeing the game being played has to be a substantive part of the story. There are countless good stories that include games, but the games serve as background details, scenery, or symbolism for story’s primary content (plot, characterization, etc.). From what I’ve seen, writers find it challenging to spend significant time depicting a game being played while also keeping plot advancement and character development from grinding to a halt. Another issue is the level of detail: how do you depict a game in a way that is A. simple enough for non-player viewers to understand what’s happening, B. something non-player viewers will find remotely interesting to watch, and C. in-depth enough with the rules and gameplay details to be realistic and satisfying for player viewers? Another pitfall of…some…game-centric anime *cough*YuGiOh*cough* is turning the story into a 20 minute advertising segment.

    So yeah, having considered the question, I conclude that I have yet to see any GOOD anime that can rightfully be said to be ABOUT board or card games (i.e., excluding video games and sports).

    All the anime I can think of that A. I genuinely liked, and B. spent significant time depicting a non-sport game being played, are about MMORPGs. I suspect this is because playing video games doesn’t impose burdensome restrictions vis-a-vis advancing the plot, the activities that can be displayed, the settings that can appear, or the characters’ ability to emote and communicate – all manner of things can be depicted using within a game and through the players’ avatars. With a tabletop game, if the competition is serious, then probably there’s very little direct communication between characters taking place. The protagonist has an internal monologue about how the game is going, the opponent may get to monologue about their impending victory, and sometime the players’ friends will make self-evident statements to each other about how their friend is doing, but the nature of competitive gameplay cuts down on interpersonal communication during games. Likewise, the location of a tabletop game is static, and though the players will engage some movement, it’s mostly limited to manipulating small objects by hand. All of these are obstacles to making the anime interesting. I’m sure it’s not impossible to make a good anime about a game, but it looks pretty tough to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you so much. This was an absolutely fantastic and philosophically and theologically crunchy podcast. Your perspectives compliment each other very well. I want to talk to you about all the things of all time. One gripe: All this talk of existentialism and not once did Sorin Kierkegaard get name dropped? 🙂 Maybe I missed it.
    But in regards to the “nothing mattering” line, consider Matthew 6:28-30
    28 And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
    We matter to God more than anything else in the universe. God didn’t send his Son to die for the trees or the oceans or the birds. How dare we even consider the possibility that we are of no value? Our lives can be hard at times, but God knows all of it and exactly what it’s like. He’s always there for us.

    In regards to emotion vs logic, I believe both are important. Both are required, and each person experiences and finds strength in them different. They are both gifts from God. How could we look upon anything God has given us as a hindrance? There are certainly decisions of mathematics, economics, and science that emotions cannot solve, but there are matters of human interaction that logic cannot resolve. We might see someone crying and try to discern what they are crying about, and if there is no way to fix the problem, logic can do no further but try to rationalize away the pain when in reality the person might just need a hug or some similarly irrational response to help them feel better. I love that God’s plans for us involve and require both and that each person can contribute something.

    In regards to your question it’s definitely possible to have a good anime based on a game. Overlord IS Dungeons and Dragons. Monster Rancher is pretty Isekai, and I liked that one pretty well as a kid. I’ve heard Cardfight Vanguard is decent.
    I’d personally love to see a Magic the Gathering anime that focuses on the trials and tribulations of an aspiring pro MTG player.

    Keep up the great work. I loved this podcast. I really appreciated how you weren’t hesitate to dig into eachother’s takes or even the interviewees beliefs if you thought they could be refined or correct. I really liked that a lot. Thank you. God bless.

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