On Beneath the Tangles, we celebrate two Christian holidays with special fervor: Easter and Christmas. As we take a look back at the ten years of this ministry, and with Easter 2020 fast approaching, it felt like an excellent time to throw back to Holy Weeks past and the topics we discussed each year.
2011: Nicholas D. Wolfwood
Is there any figure in all anime that comes more immediately to mind when thinking “Christian” than Nicholas D. Wolfwood? A man of violence and an anti-hero, he’s no saint, and yet that’s what makes him so worthy of discussion and love. His growth throughout Trigun and especially those scenes in the anime are worth analyzing again and again and again, both from a broader perspective and a personal one. If Vash the Stampede is the hero we want to be, Nicholas D. Wolfwood is the man we are.
- Nothing Like God: Redeeming Nicholas D. Wolfwood
- Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: The Gospel According to Wolfwood
- While I Was Yet Lost: Wolfwood Meets Grace
- The Faith of Yasuhiro Nightow
- Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Violence, Grace and Redemption in Trigun
- The Invisible God…in Trigun
2012: Loving You for Who You Are
We went topical in 2012 and did something quite fun as we compared specific anime relationships (not all romantic) to how Christ loves us. This is how I explained it:
While Christianity is often called a judgmental religion (probably because of its adherents more than any other reason), Jesus came and showed us that He loves us for who we are. No matter what we’ve done or how we’ve been broken, He offers a warm love that says, “I know who you really are and I still love you.” Some of the great relationships in anime, romantic and friendly, demonstrate a similar love.
- Araragi and Senjougahara (Monogatari)
- Taeko and Toshio (Only Yesterday)
- Arata and Chihaya (Chihayafuru)
- Kaji and Misato (Evangelion)
- Daikichi and Rin (Usagi Drop)
- Naruto and Sasuke (Naruto)
2013: Madoka and Anime Jesus
We didn’t do a week full of posts in 2013, but material presented itself nonetheless in the form of magical girls and a short anime film about Christ, which we post on Easter Sunday almost every year.
Even before the second season of Noragami came out—which was packed full of rich material to dive into—we found enough in season one of the show to spend a whole week focusing on it. The world of gods in Japan—those of calamity, war, and all sorts of other things—were also unexpectedly able to provide ample material from which we could talk about the one true God.
- Noragami and Treating God as a Genie, Part 1
- Noragami and Treating God as a Genie, Part 2
- The Book of Hiyori
- Yukine and Matters of the Heart
- Noragami and a Saving Grace
- Patient Yato, Patient Yahweh
- Yukine’s Sin and Comprehending Holiness
2015: Key Anime
You know, I admit I’d forgotten we did this series of posts because in each of the last few years, I’ve thought to myself, “We really should do a Holy Week on Key anime!” Well, we did so that. So many emotional, heartfelt, and fantastical series have come from Key—it’s no surprise, then, that we could discuss them for two full weeks’ worth of posts, at least! And who knows? We may revisit this topic again in the future…
- Key Anime and Easter
- Air: New in Light of the Old
- Dive into the World of Rewrite
- Rewrite Part 2: The Moon of Possibilities
- Angel Beats and Easter
- Rewrite Part 3: Terra, the Path of Salvation
- Revisiting Clannad and Fathers
- Rewrite Part 4: The Meaning of Salvation
- Rewrite’s Biblical Meta-Narrative
- Kanon: Rising to Life
2016: Christ Figures in Anime
If you look at Christian analysis of anime as a series of levels drilling deeper and more meaningful the further you get, the most surface level is that of comparing some character to Christ (i.e. Goku is Anime Jesus). If we stick with just basic analysis such as that, we might miss the opportunity to really learn and grow in our relationships with God through such examination. But if done correctly, comparing Jesus to anime characters can help you remember what you love about the Savior—and that’s exactly what the staff did in 2016.
- L Lawliet as a Christ Figure (Death Note)
- Princess Tutu as a Christ Figure (Princess Tutu)
- Brandon Heat as a Christ Figure (Gungrave)
- Utsugi Lenka as a Christ Figure (God Eater)
- Kaname Madoka as a Christ Figure (Madoka Magica)
2018: The Ancient Magus Bride
After skipping 2017, we focused again on one particular anime in 2018, The Ancient Magus Bride. A particularly meditative and sensitive look at pain, depression, and violence, it was ripe for analysis by staff during Holy Week, and is much beloved by our followers as well, judging by its success this year in Anime March Madness!
- The Patient Magus Bride
- The Grace Chase of Joseph and Cartaphilus, Part I
- The Grace Chase of Joseph and Cartaphilus, Part II
- The Love of Chise, the Goodness of God
We also skipped 2019, but did do an Easter Sunday post: Trigun and Easter: Always Never Alone. We are not skipping this year, however! Although more details will be coming on April 5th, I’ll announce 2020’s theme now: Anime and Disability. I’m really happy that we’re covering this topic; we’ve been making a concerted effort to especially reach those in the otaku community who live with disabilities. I’m bringing in a couple of wonderful guest writers in addition to the regular content our staff will be developing. I hope you’ll enjoy the series as we build toward the most important day of the year for Christians, and I hope that the posts will both bring some insight to you that you may not have had before and help you prepare for the holiest of days!