TangleCast Episode 52: Are We Glorying in our Shame?

This week on the TangleCast, Matthew of Team Anchester brings on a familiar guest and podcast contributor, Alex. Together, they try grappling with the controversial topics of sexual content in anime, what Scripture says about it, and what that means for Christians. Where is the line when it comes to sexual humor? Is there even a firm answer to be had? We discuss these questions and more in this episode of the TangleCast!

0:00 Introduction
2:02 Last week’s Cast Question
7:27 Aside for non-anime fans
8:20 Anime and Sexuality DiscussionIntro
10:36 Discussion—Supply and demand for sexual content
17:24 Discussion—Can sexual humor be glorious?
26:11 Discussion—What makes us laugh
34:30 Discussion—Perverse humor and tropes in anime and the anime community
47:09 DiscussionConsuming sexual tropes and how it affects us
55:52 Discussion—How to be different in the culture
01:03:53 New Cast Question and Closing

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): What is one series about which you can say, the story was so enjoyable you overlooked the “fan service?”

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Matthew G

Matthew G is interested in things. Many of them anime-related. He’s also trying todevelop a taste for manga as time allows. Since his start as a long-winded, scatter-brained hobby blogger two years ago, Matthew has become the swashbuckler-in-chief for Team Anchester of the TangleCast, where he can be found taking shonen far too seriously, staring squinty-eyed at modern culture, and harping on the supremacy of God. So, like, your grandpa + anime.

5 thoughts on “TangleCast Episode 52: Are We Glorying in our Shame?

  1. This was quite a powerful episode for me. I would like to say that from my perspective, any work of art or literature can have elements to learn from within it. It’s just that sometimes the learning isn’t as valuable as what you might lose or compromise yourself with in its absorption. After all, it was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil which was the item to be avoided by Adam and Eve. Knowledge is not the ultimate good of mankind, it’s wisdom.
    Ultimately I know this to be true, as it’s something I’ve struggled with before, and I was of the mindset where I wasn’t at all picky about what I consumed, but I always had a lingering consciential voice asking me if what I was doing was right. Some animes I know have been bad for me, but indeed there have been a few which I feel at least had justifiable elements. There’s a Christian writer whom I really respect named David French at National Review who is a fan of Game of Thrones. He gets asked occasionally about how he synthesizes the contradiction between abstaining and partaking in shows with these elements. He sometimes says that he absolutely cannot justify it as a Christian, but it’s the best show on television. I don’t think I entirely agree with that sentiment for everything or even that show, but one can gain wisdom from worldly things even if just by seeing it as bad examples or warning signs. Each person will have their own vulnerabilities as to what is tolerable, and it is important that we never cause any of our brothers and sisters to stumble in their walk like with Paul speaking about the eating of foods prepared to pagan deities. It’s not wrong inherently since ultimately it’s just food and the pagan blessing doesn’t change the food, but if it causes disillusion to a fellow believer, we need to stay far away.
    One of the shows I like the best which has content of a sexual nature is The World God Only Knows. It’s right into my wheelhouse being a gamer who enjoys stories of romance with a smart protagonist. As part of the human condition, everyone has desires and wants, so to excise these impulses entirely from our artwork portrays a false vision of the world even while we’re called to overcome our own innate desires as Christians. The show portrays the characters in very human ways and each of the girls has some kind of emotional struggle they are trying to overcome, and it’s the protagonist’s job to show care and affection to them to help them regain their self worth or overcome a trauma.
    One of the shows I am not particularly proud of having watched while at the same time seeing that you can have some wholesome messages amidst vulgar content is Everyday Life With Monster Girls. I absolutely would not recommend Christians not watch this show as it’s heavily steeped in ecchi, but I did learn that it’s possible to have an anime of this nature with characters who are actually decent human beings with a sense of agape love instead of just eros. Writers of this kind of content are not just all slobs lacking social skills or vile hedonists. They’re regular people with their own wants desires and motivations. Everyone is in need of Christ’s love and guidance in our lives, and he indeed loves all of us. We have no true human enemies on this Earth, and we should treat others as such.

    When you did a search for instances of laughter in the Bible, we can sometimes miss things because just a word search won’t find all the humorous spots in the Bible.
    Some instances I’d like to reference include Elijah contesting the prophets of Baal, and when no fire came to burn their sacrifice, Elijah suggested their god might be relieving himself. I’d have laugh at that, and I bet he might have too. There’s a time where God made a pun with the use of an almond tree to Jeremiah (chicac) to show him God would watch over (Chicade) his people. There’s also a time I like where Jesus tells the Pharisees in Luke 13 31-33 that “surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!”. I’d have probably improperly busted a gut at that given my affinity for dark humor because the Hebrews had a tendency to murder all of God’s prophets.
    Thank you for the show, Matthew. I appreciate all the work you put into it. God bless.

  2. I´ve always found the coin in the fish’s mouth in Matthew 17:24–27 as some sort of extended joke on Peter and/or the tax authorities, and while Luke 14:12-24 is serious in its call to take care of the poor, just imagining the Pharisees being told to invite not their relatives but the poor, the crippled and the lame is quite funny.

    As for the series, Mawaru Penguindrum. The (spoilers) incest imaginery, domination imaginery and sexual imaginery were all-present, and I found some of the scenes quite troubling, specially those involving Kanba and Ringo. I even stopped once, as I felt the show was harming me. But the story was very clever and full of redemption, so I designed some boundaries and guidelines (watch it in public, jump ahead whenever things started getting risky, stop if I needed it). I´m glad I did, because I was able to enjoy the series to the end, and it was very human and moving.

  3. Twitter
    Rich (@redcar_tenken): Kill la Kill

    Facebook
    Tommy (tommyaphillips.com, patron): Now, when it comes to fanservice, I’ll fully admit that I enjoy it. I’m not at all trying to claim I’m above sexual humor and fanservice; in fact, I’m guilty as charged of enjoying stuff that I shouldn’t. I agree fully that I’m wrong in enjoying it.

    Instagram
    @half_shade_ (mutual): I don’t watch much ecchi shows, but I guess Maid Dragon was pretty good.

    Cory (@kokorodaki), mutual: Children Of The Whales. I wouldn’t say it was overlooked, but by the time the fan service was a big thing (there was a pool episode with a lot of barely covered nudity at like episode 9 or something), I was already very invested in the story.

    Mia (@galaxyjuuice), mutual: Maid Dragon and BLEND-S 😂

    @treyrobinson_______ (mutual): There was a lot of fan service that I had to overlook in this one but I really liked the fights and such in high school DxD 😅

    @thathilomgirl (BtT writer): Shokugeki no Soma, but before the story quality declined in the manga

    @adarshanshul: Mirai Nikki

    @jamiejc2106: Highschool dxd

    @wil.lowe: Kimi no Nawa ^-^

    @rookie887 (mutual): Everyone of them

    @argo_odm (mutual): Last exile fam the silver wing

    Lisa (@hellohappycrafts), mutual: Food wars, food wars, food wars lol. Also, resurrected as a slime!

    Corinne (@cgcornett), mutual: Classic: The Slayers. Current: Rising of the Shield Hero

    Leaf (@scalpelfactory), mutual: Gurren Lagann

    @craftyfox39 (mutual): Monster Musume!

    Vicky (@imsoojung_), Acts: Slime

    @kudepingu: Naruto I guess tho it’s not major or fairy tail

    @jm_yoda: High School DxD and Chivalry of a Failed Knight.

    @shiromeguri.meguri (mutual): Rakundai kishi no cavalry and Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records – both are “those” generic action high school anime.

  4. I just found y’all guys today, and I think I’m gonna like y’all a lot. As a Christian weeb like y’all, this is honestly meat to chew on, and I’m all for it. However, this is hard meat, as I’m ashamed to have honestly developed a “wool over my eyes” to the sexual content of anime. I think after towards the end of SAO Season 1 was where things started to get uncomfortable for me, especially as a woman seeing that one episode <~<‘. Now I almost sigh seeing the need and want for fan service that’s pretry much borderline porn for the eyes.

    1. It’s great to have you aboard, Lea. I think many of us have similar stories of one series, one scene in particular, which forced us to reevaluate our tolerance for extreme content and even our attitudes toward the “milder” stuff that we grew accustomed to letting slip past us. Thanks for sharing.

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