Note: This page has been replaced by a reformatted and more up-to-date listing. Please also consider visiting our recommendations pages for anime movies, manga, and visual novels.
Note: This page has been replaced by a reformatted and more up-to-date listing. Please also consider visiting our recommendations pages for anime movies, manga, and visual novels.
75 thoughts on “Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers”
You don’t add Noragami? I think it’s a very good anime for Christian despite the Buddhist background. I mean, there’s so many parallels between them.
Thanks for the recommendation. Noragami would be an excellent addition (I should get on this). If you haven’t seen it already, I did a series of posts over Noragami during the weak leading up to Easter this year discussing these parallels to which you refer:
I’ve watched Noragami and I liked it 🙂 I also read your articles about Noragami, they’re great too 😉
Thank you! 🙂
Kino and Claanad are amazing.
Indeed they are!
hmm i was curious why isn’t Little busters on here? (it is on your recommend vn list) also while you’re at it I’ve heard you recommend melancholy of haruhi suzumiya and noragami on this list but they aren’t on here either. I also think that Kanon and Fruits Basket might be good additions. (of course that could just be me)
Part of the reason Little Busters isn’t included is because the anime was pretty terrible in comparison to the VN. That said, this list is by no means a comprehensive list of recommendations nor is it a “completed” version. We will certainly consider adding titles, but in the end, this is meant to be a short list to get people started. We don’t want to overwhelm newcomers with a comprehensive list, so the lack of an anime shouldn’t be taken to mean anything more than “we ran out of space,” (not literally, but that kind of reasoning), and if people want more beyond this list, we would gladly make more personal recommendations.
I have watched Trigun at least ten times. On reflection I do not think the message is Christian at all.
Trigun is commonly called a rare Christian anime because of the symbols, and because the author was once believed to have converted to Catholicism. However the protagonist, Vash seems like an atheist, who mocks the priest Wolfwood when he prays for his success in battle, with lines like, “Does prayer really work?” “That’s entirely up to you.” “Alrighty then.”
At the end, Vash also forgives himself for his short-comings while he partially throws away the dogma he was raised with, namely, “Thou shall not kill under any circumstances.” The last lines he uttered in the anime were, “Rem, I will continue to believe in you, but from now I’ll look to my own words for guidance.”
This resembles a Christian deciding they like some of the values enough to call themself one, but will question them and ultimately form their own beliefs. He believes Rem was a good person, but no longer will deify her. Especially since he met someone else who was capable of being just as pure and peace-loving: Meryl. That’s just more proof she’s human.
A lot of the so-called Christian symbolism could be Buddhist too; even the villanious Knives is redeemed in the manga. His companion, Meryl, also acts like the reincarnation of Vash’s saintly mother figure, Rem.
There are parts where Vash openly mocks the hypocritisy of the gun-toting priest Wolfwood. Also there is the part where Knives said he wanted to create his own Eden.
Thanks for the commentary. I can’t disagree with anything you’ve said – very well stated!
Trigun does have a lot of “Christian” symbolism in it. It also has Wolfwood the “priest.” But those don’t make the series Christian in any way. That would be like saying Evangelion is Christian! Nor does Nightow’s faith (which, it seems from fairly recent interviews, he has left).
So, all that means this: Trigun is not a “Christian anime.” Most definitely not. There are few, few anime that could be called that, and none from the past…30 years.
Why I recommend Trigun for Christians is that it does exactly what you’ve mentioned in some of your comments – it points out ideas that Christians really need to consider. Look at Wolfwood, for instance. A Christian watching the series will hopefully consider Wolfwood and Vash and see that the earlier is living a life of hypocrisy, while the latter, a character without faith, is living with integrity. Series that make Christians question how they live their faith are so much more compelling from a religious angle than shows which “deify” Christianity.
And speaking of Wolfwood, the other part of the series that really lends for Christian recommendation are the themes, characterization, and plot points in the series that really jive with Christian ideals. Here are a few:
– Vash – obviously not a Christian – lives a life of sacrifice, to the point where he makes a very compelling “Christ figure.”
– The selfish and evil nature of humanity is shown episode after episode after episode. Love, in all it’s power, is ultimately offered (and self-contained in a number of episodes) as a cure for the disease of sin.
– Returning back to Wolfwood, his last scene in the anime is one that demonstrates the power of grace and forgiveness, the true essence of the gospel, about as well as any anime I’ve seen. The power of redemption for one who has taken so many lives demonstrates to us a portion of what grace means.
So yes, while Trigun is no “Christian anime,” and while I would consider that it’s more strongly a humanist or Buddhist work than Christian (though I honestly would argue against that), it remains a series that we recommend to Christians as one that we can take and analyze and apply to our lives as we critically consider our faith.
Also, it’s just darn good.
“However the protagonist, Vash seems like an atheist, who mocks the priest Wolfwood when he prays for his success in battle, with lines like, “Does prayer really work?” “That’s entirely up to you.” “Alrighty then.”
There isn’t really anything that indicates Vash’s faith or lack of faith. It is simply not stated or implied. The line about “Does prayer actually work”, which to be fair seems more of light-hearted banter than deep philosophical thought, questioning prayer does not in any way indicate atheism. If you stretch it, you could argue agnosticism.
“A lot of the so-called Christian symbolism could be Buddhist too; even the villanious Knives is redeemed in the manga. His companion, Meryl, also acts like the reincarnation of Vash’s saintly mother figure, Rem.”
Buddhism and Christianity are not so alike in themes and values as many anime fans assume. They are widely different religions with *very* different objectives and themes. Buddhism is not about redemption, but enlightenment.The closets eastern religion you would get to Christianity is Sikhism. An anime with Buddhist themes would be more heavy on the ideas of detachment of excess, liberating one’s self, self control, gaining wisdom etc. Personally, I do not see Meryl as a reincarnation of Rem at all. I never once felt there was a connection, on a deeper or surface level.
“There are parts where Vash openly mocks the hypocritisy of the gun-toting priest Wolfwood. ”
I don’t see that as an attack on faith, but the hypocrisy of Wolfwood, which I might add, Wolfwood himself realizes and asks God for forgiveness in the anime before he passes away, with nothing but the Cross holding up his body(while a song singing Hallelujah plays in the background). Wolfwood directly shown himself a man that humbled himself in front of God and asks for forgiveness. The attention to “Forgiveness” is a more Christian-centric theme, and while featured definitely in Islam and Judaism as well, it is one that is not prominent in themes of eastern religions, especially Buddhism.
Of course, on a general practical level, Trigun isn’t Christian, atheistic, humanist, agnostic, Buddhist etc. It is completely neutral on such aspects.
“Vash seems like an atheist”
He actually seems to care more about genuine Christianity than Wolfwood yelling “Hey, what about Thou shalt not kill, remember?” Vash strikes me as a Christ figure, what with him and Knives being a sort of Christ and Satan pair if you will. Knives even tries to tempt him in the dessert. Vash is a plant, one of the ageless angelic beings that sustain and give life to humanity on planet Gunsmoke. Despite being a plant, Vash is raised by Rem, a human woman who adopts him as his mother, and walks among the humans, as one of them, teaching them the ways of “love and peace” in spite of great evil and suffering.
You make a good point about the final line when he seemingly decides to leave Rem and her way behind. What does that mean, exactly? Well, I distinctly remember that scene touching me deeply, just in terms of the story, because of how much she meant to him and how much blamed himself for her death and for not killing Knives. It felt like, now that Knives was defeated, she could rest in peace, and he was finally able to forgive himself and move forward. It was a moving conclusion of his character arc.
Honestly, I don’t think he decided to abandon her command to never kill. When Vash was forced to kill Legato, he was completely devastated for a while. Eventually he put it behind him, but his fight with Knives is a testament to his renewed determination to never take a human life again. He had every reason in the world to kill Knives, but he deliberately chose to take him in alive (albeit badly wounded). When he said “I’ll look to my own words for guidance”, I think he was coming into his own, sort of “growing up” from a lost sheep to a Shepard. Its art, so its up to interpretation I suppose.
Even if I’m dead wrong about all that, I’m convinced that Wolfwood’s death masterfully captured the Christian concept of self-sacrifice, confession, and salvation. The image of a bloody Wolfwood crying as he leans upon his heavy cross sums up so much about this faith.
Wow I’m definitely continuing Kino’s Journey thnx 🙂
One of the very few series that makes you think after every episode, and really leads you to critically think about ideas while walking that line between spoon feeding and being over-philosophical.
Thanks for this list and the comments everyone. trying to find ok anime for my older teens. we are christians and so much of what’s out there is so dark and there is so much of it that it takes way too long to preview it all before saying what’s okay and what’s not. i’ll preview the list and hopefully find more good stuff for my kids.
I hope our list is able to help you out! Let us know what you end up doing! ^_^
I highly recommend that you check out Christian Anime Alliance’s reviews – they have a long list of series they’ve reviewed with Christians in mind.
As someone who’s recently gotten into anime, and has been recommending anime to various friends who are more conservative than I am, I’m glad to see that you guys have taken the time to make a list of some recommendations! 😀 In my opinion, I think shows like Barakmon, Anohana, and Angel Beats also offer good Christian values. While they do have influences from Buhddist teachings, they aren’t super overt with them, and good messages can be learned from them. Angel Beats in particular made me think of the verse in Ephesians 5, where it tells us to make the most of the time we have on this Earth. 🙂
Just my two cents. Take it as you wish. 🙂
Thanks for the recommendations! Barakamon would easily fit into this list – one of our writers wrote a long series of posts on the show and Christian lessons on his personal aniblog. I’ve also written a number of articles on Angel Beats, and a few on AnoHana as well – those certainly contain a lot of great insights that speak to important ideas within Christianity. The Ephesians 5 connection is a good one – thanks for bringing that up!
you guys have vn, movie, and series reccomendations, but do you guys have any reccomendations on manga? I’ve started ashita no joe and read through both trigun and kenshin but i was wondering which ones you guys like.
We’ve been working on trying to get a manga recommendations page up, but those of us who put together the anime and VN pages are not as well read in that area. We will eventually get LN and manga pages up, though I can’t exactly say when that will be. ^^”
The only manga I can personally attest to are The World God Only Knows and Azumanga Daioh, both of which I thought were hilarious. However, I would try asking some of the other writers. Feel free to contact us via the various methods listed on our about page!
Fruits Basket is probably the only series that I think a lot of us have read AND would recommend as both a really good series and one that can teach us about truths that Christians believe. Other than that, very few of us are well-read on manga, unfortunately. My favorites include Claymore and Cross Game, and I’m not sure I would necessarily recommend either for this type of page.
i am a parent with an older teen who watched anime, but is certainly not limiting herself to these Christian friendly ones. I watched many different anime to determine whether to ban it altogether.I saw a great deal of sexualization of young girls, shots of women’s breast filling the screen, obvious sexual symbols like giant screws coming from underground and up between scantily clad girls legs…obvious homosexuality, a lot of very bad language…and in the end we banned it. I also saw a good percentage of anime costumes at the convention were hardly what one would call modest. What are your thoughts about anyone who claims Jesus as Lord being involved in something with so many very objectionable themes and images, as well as a well known pornographic section? I am really struggling here. I want my near 18 year old to make choices, but I am appalled by so much of what I saw in the anime I viewed.
If I may offer my own opinion as a Christian teen (17 going on 18) who’s seen a fair amount of anime, it all depends on the show you’re watching. Anime as a medium should be seen in the same light as TV shows or movies here in the US; you know there’s bad out there, but there’s also good, and it’s up to you to determine your own standards for what’s acceptable in your own household. It is true that there are a lot of shows that do use bad imagery and themes to sell themselves, but there are a lot of good shows out there as well that don’t do that, and they’re not that hard to find. 🙂
Personally, I one of the shows I recommend to my friends who are just getting into anime is Usagi Drop. It’s a beautiful show, one about a bachelor in his thirties who adopts a six-year-old girl, and has to learn how to be a parent. It is a very sweet slice-of-life story, and it focuses a lot on themes of love, trust, security, and family, while avoiding language and sexualization. Another series I would recommend is Silver Spoon, another slice-of-life that focuses on the antics of a high schooler named Haichken as he transfers to an agricultural school. The plot seems simple, but the show has a way of pulling the viewer in and caring about each of the characters, while also exploring different facets of farming life in a way that feels very real. My mom in particular likes this series. 🙂
Usagi Drop is a wonderful series – it’s actually one of our recommendations above. And coincidentally, I’m currently watching Silver Spoon with my wife!
This is a complicated issue, it really is. When you’re an eighteen year old – and even older than that – your perhaps not as mature with your entertainment choices as you would be when you’re older. Thus, you might watch anime that is popular or otherwise entertaining and not think about all the fanservice (in this sense defined as those scenes are developed to titillate audiences) that’s occurring in a show. The “sexual symbols” you speak of might just seem like another joke to your child, or as it is with many of us, is just something we ignore. But as a parent myself, I understand that these images and others shouldn’t be taken lightly – we need to think about what we’re consuming.
That said, I think we need to approach anime as we would any other medium. It’s a broad piece of entertainment – talking about “anime” is like talking about “movies” – there’s such a large spectrum of series under that banner. And as there are pornographic anime (a slice of the genre whose fame and reach is very overblown), there are pornographic movies, TV shows, novels, etc. Anime itself is not evil – it just is. What people make of it is what might lead some astray.
What I would suggest is that you view anime – and this goes for your child as well (doubly, actually) – as you might approach the Bible, not in the sense that anime is any way God’s word, but that we don’t throw out the Bible because of objectionable content. In fact, we need to read about the horrible things of humanity to really grasp the concept of grace. In anime, we’re not going to always see positive elements – there is sexual content, crude language, violence, etc. – but that’s a reflection, partially, of Japanese culture and what their people value, and in a larger sense, of humanity in general. But what draws me to anime is the good we see – the abundant and almost omnipresent themes of grace, forgiveness, love, mercy, and sacrifice, so much more present in anime than in western television and movies. And of course, we can appreciate the beauty and creativity of the animators. There’s much to be gained from anime, almost despite itself, and there’s opportunity here for discussion about faith (as we do on our blog) and about sin.
That said, I will draw a line with my children when they are old enough (they are 5 and 7 years old) to start viewing anime series (right now they’re limited, basically, to Studio Ghibli fare and a little Pokemon). Series that contain heavy, consistent doses of fanservice may cross that line, and to me, they’re just distasteful. Thankfully, there are literally HUNDREDS of anime that premiere each year, and they offer a variety of series to choose from, from those with heavy doses of questionable content to those that contain none or only small amounts. Christian Anime Review and Christian Anime Alliance are among the sites that review series from a Christian perspective, and could give some insight about the amount of questionable content in a series your child may be interested in.
Please let us know if you have any other questions.
P.S. As for cosplay…I would say you’re seeing much more a reflection of teenage culture than anime culture. Teenagers want an excuse to dress scandalous and to sexualize themselves – so why not dress like a scantily-clad anime character? I’ve seen so many people cosplay, for instance, as one specific famed, hardly-wearing-anything character, but I wonder, have they even watched this series? Serious cosplayers focus on the character first, and while they may also dress provocatively, they might not – it just depends on the characters. Here’s a recent favorite example of mine: Ore Monogatari cosplay.
What I would say is that anime is a medium, not a genre. What I mean is that anime has a lot of different genre within it, just like television and movies have a lot of different genres. Just as other media mediums such as television and movies have become increasingly sexualized (just consider the widespread viewership of Game of Thrones – something unthinkable when I was a child), so too has anime become sexualized .
Additionally, just as violence and sex tend to translate easily to other languages, which is why a lot of Hollywood blockbusters tend to have that as a way to appeal to the overseas market, so too, the anime that is most easily translated to English tends to emphasize the same things.
Thus there is definitely a need for a parental review and control of anime just as you need to exercise the same control over television and movie watching. Since anime is a foreign product, I can understand why a lot of parents feel lost in trying to filter anime, and resort to a total ban. Unlike American media, were we can see certain tropes and signals that let us know what kind of movie or show it is before watching, it is often harder to identify these signals in anime unless you have a lot of experience watching anime.
However, also like American television and movies, there are so many good things in anime. Consider that banning all television would also mean banning things like Mr Rodgers Neighborhood. Or banning all movies would mean missing out on watching The Princess Bride. So too, there are many good anime that are worth watching that will be missed out on by a total ban.
Consider the anime that has been consistently rated by Japanese parents as the anime they most want their children to watch: Touch.
Touch is a sports anime. It focuses on the story of two twin brothers, the eldest is hard working and the star pitcher of their highschool baseball team. The younger twin is lazy and shiftless, unable to find his own role, but has significant natural talent that allows him to compete on equal terms with his elder brother whenever he can be bothered to make the effort.
Then the elder brother is killed in a car accident, and the younger is essentially drafted to fill his brother’s place as the team’s pitcher.
The story is all about the struggle the boy feels as he is replacing his older brother who he loved and idealized. Is he just a copy? Can he find his own place? And what about as he continues to grow and excel and surpass the skill of his brother? How does he feel about that?
The story is so powerful, because it was written by a man named Adachi, who he himself had just lost his older brother to an early death. Adachi was successful manga artist, but had only gotten into the business because he idolized his older brother who was also a manga artist, though less successful. Touch is story of grief and loss, and how we deal with that – all told through the medium of a baseball anime. (This is pretty typical for baseball movies, just think about Field of Dreams, or For The Love Of The Game here in America).
Such a show would be a great story for children to watch.
There are many, many other anime that are similar in quality.
Of course, there then is also the difficultly of those anime that “have such a good message, except for that one troublesome scene.” A problem that plagues television and movies as well. Again this is where parental filtering has to come in, and why simply asking for recommendations isn’t enough, as you might find that one objectionable scene too much. It’s quite the effort to filter out the bad from the good, but it’s usually an effort worth making.
Thanks for this thoughtful response—I don’t think there’s a thing I would add to it!
And extra points for mentioning Touch, The Princess Bride, and Field of Dreams in one comment—all amazing in their own right!
i have appreciated all your feedback. Thank you.
You need to remove Bunny Drop from this list. The two characters get into a romantic relationship in the later stages of the manga that the anime show is based from. AKA the girl grows into a teen that wants to marry her surrogate father instead of being his daughter, thus promoting incest.
We understand what occurs in the manga (I’ve actually written a post about it), and because of that, we won’t recommend the manga once we develop those recommendations. However, we do stand by the anime, which only covers the first half of the manga series; should it receive a sequel that covers the second half, we will reconsider.
I appreciate your taking the time to put this list together! But I started watching Puella Magi Madoka Magica and in the very first episode there were two naked girls kissing. Very naked. And you could very well see that. They weren’t afraid to show parts you shouldn’t see. I saw no warning of any kind of nudity in your description of this series. Like I said I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the recommendation, but I really think this should be taken off the list. Have a very nice day!! 🙂
Bree, thank you for your comment. We’re adding a warning to the recommendation now, and I’m very sorry that we didn’t have one before. I admit, I didn’t remember that scene at all, even though it’s in the opening sequence and appears repeatedly. Now that a couple of us have re-watched the first episode, we understand your concern and see how it can be offensive. Here are some reasons that we’re keeping the recommendation, at least for now.
– The nudity, though full, is neither explicit in details nor sexualized. In fact, it seems to represent purity, at least in part.
– The “two girls” are actually the same girl. I know, it’s weird to see them kiss when you’re not used to this kind of thing. Like the nudity, the physical closeness of the two girls is fairly typical in a magical girl transformation scene—like one self is taking the place of (or blessing) the other self.
I’m sorry you saw that without warning. Thank you again for bringing it to our attention. While we still believe the edifying parts of Puella Magi Madoka Magica warrant this recommendation, your concern is completely valid, and we want to respect our readers’ sensitivities. (The scene certainly would have shocked me in my earlier years of anime-watching!)
You have a nice day as well! (or evening… or whatever it is now where you are) ^_^
Just thought I’d leave some suggestions of anime that I watch. Not all of them have necessarily “Christian” themes, but instead have minimal to no sexual content, as I am a recovering porn addict who found grace in Christ.
1). Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
2), Durarara and Durarara 2x
3). Hunter X Hunter 2011
4). Dragon Ball Z
5). Attack On Titan
I actually do think that the original Fullmetal Alchemist SHOULD be added to the list of Christian anime, despite Edward Elric bring an agnostic. The first two episodes are very much against religion in general, but the show progresses into the main character realizing his need for a god, although he doesn’t find out its God. Bonds of brotherly love, forgiveness, and determination even when the circumstances seem hopeless are all great Christian ideas that are the meat of this anime. Now the things mentioned in the original are also in Brotherhood, just not as prominently. It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, so I cannot make a fair judgement about it. However, I do HIGHLY recommend the original for this list! Easily my favorite anime.
Thanks for your list Micah! It’s always nice to hear what our readers like, and I’m sure this will be helpful for other people! Everyone has different experiences, and so some anime that we recommend to most we might not recommend to all people.
As far as adding FMA to our list, we don’t normally make a practice of altering our recommendations pages on a regular basis simply because we want to keep them consistent with only occasional updates as time makes them outdated. In this case, however, we’ll thoughtfully consider adding FMA, since it displays many redeeming elements for Christian viewers and is considered a top-tier classic by many anime fans.
Thanks for reading and commenting! ^_^
I just want to thank the people who made this a websites! It’s awesome! Also for this list, I reccomend Tsuritama, it’s a great show that not a lot of people know about. Thanks!
I’m glad to hear our resources have been helpful! Thanks for your recommendation!
I also say Tsuritama is a great show. It pretty much has no sexual content. Great for Kids! It also has some good Christian themes.
As being a avid fan of anime myself in a Christian family, my mother took a small interest in my habit and suggested your blog around three years ago, which I subscribed to immediately and have been with since. I have two recommendations for anime that I personally find to be appropriate for teenagers who can handle 1. Dark history, 2. implied sexual content. 3. violence and a Kino no Tabi sized bit of bloodshed, by which I mean, very very little. The two manga-turned-anime shows are Angel Heart, a wonderful story set in a parallel universe of the manga City Hunter (both are written by the same Author, Hojo Tsukasa) that deals with a assassin trying to leave her past and finding hope where previously there was none. That is all I can say on Angel Heart without spoiling the plot, although I should warn the reader or watcher, that the protagonist of City Hunter has a ‘boner’ problem that will only last for a few seconds if you are watching the anime, less than 1 page if you are reading the manga. Said problem is quickly and very literally hammered out by his assistant who pulls a door-sized mallet from hyperspace and hammers the male protagonist into the wall, floor, ect, much to my amusement. Angel Heart focuses on love, family, finding hope, friendship, and helping others when there is no one else to turn to. My second show, Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shinchin (just type the first two words into a internet search engine, the rest will pop up in the drop down menu if your engine has one) is very very dark. It is set after world war II during the 1950’s in a reformatory prison in Japan, and focuses on the cellmates of block 2 cell 6. The hope that is shown despite the despair that the characters go through, the mostly dark background animation itself, and the Jesus-like quality that the first cellmate of the cell who is a older male by the nickname of An-chan shows makes this show one of my top recommendations. However attempting to explain it to others is very difficult because of the sheer despair that the boys express in the first episode alone. (An-chan is a affectionate nickname that has the English equivalent of older brother, big bro, ect.) It has been at least a year or two and a few months since I have seen Rainbow: Nisha, so I am unsure as to how to warn viewers with it. I remember a scene within the first episode where the doctor of the reform prison was, according to the wiki page, doing a “painful rectal exam” on the boys. So just wanted to put that out there for those who don’t want to see such a thing within the first episode, despite it being non-graphic and done off-screen. However if you can stomach it, then you will most likely be able to stomach and enjoy the rest of this hope-filled-by-the-end anime. I want someone to do a blog on both of these shows, as I have searched both the older recommendation list and newer with no such luck on finding a blog on either. Maybe if the list was still in ABC format like it was during the summer or spring of last year I would be able to find said blogs, but then again they might not exist or the blogs are just not showing up for some reason.
Thanks for the continued support over the past few years! I hope we’ve continued to be a good resource for you and your family!
Thanks for the anime recommendations! We’ll definitely take them into consideration, though the process for adding them to this page requires that our writers are able to thoroughly vet the series and ensure it’s quality and redemptive value. Our philosophy is quality over quantity with our recommendations pages!
As far as the anime search function is concerned, in our redesign, we simply don’t have a place for the alphabetical browsing area. Additionally, it had to be manually updated based on our tagging system, which was less than ideal. The search bar at the top of the site should find anything you’re looking for, as it indexes titles, categories, tags, and more! If it doesn’t show up from a search, it probably doesn’t exist.
On your under construction “Anime to challenge Christians” page, I think you should include Death Note and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Not only are both fantastic anime in general, but they both tackle all sorts of Christian themes, not shying away from darker subjects. Light Yagami is tempted with the forbidden fruit that is the Death Note, by the devilish Ryuk, which he uses in a vain attempt to become a god and impose his own twisted version of justice on humanity. It is a story of hubris, and how the path to hell is paved with good intentions. Its not a particularly pleasant or kid-friendly message, but it is very important to remember that we are capable of evil, and Satan is always lurking around the corner to tempt us. As for Brotherhood, sure Ed claims to be an “Atheist”, but he and Alphonse personally met God (“Truth”) when they committed the taboo, and were punished for their hubris and for violating the sanctity of life. In a sense, the existence of God is actually confirmed in this universe. Ed isn’t an Atheist-he’s a pessimist: no wonder he sees Letoism and assumes that its too good to be true-there are no such things as miracles. By the end of the series, we meet Scar, a deeply religious monotheist (a Jew?) who becomes a hero, and the brothers do battle with the Devil (“Father”). There’s a lot to unpack here.
Have you ever thought of adding Evangelion or Maria the Virgin Witch to the list?
While many of our staff would agree that both of those entries would be great additions to this list, we sadly can’t include every anime worth mentioning here. While there is always a chance one of those might make an appearance as we continue to tweak this list as time goes by, I’d recommend you check out some of our articles on them!
You guys have an article on Maria the Virgin Witch?!?! I love that show so much.
Check it out! http://www.beneaththetangles.com/tag/maria-the-virgin-witch/
Hey, sorry. Can I ask one thing, as a fellow Christian and an Anime watcher, what do you think about Highschool DxD? I like that anime and I think the Christian aspect of that anime may be bad for some people, especially how it portrays the Death of God, and some… bad ‘priests’.
Nice to meet another Christian anime watcher!
Unfortunately, from what I know of High School DxD, it has one major problem with it that is far worse than any potential issues with religion/priests: the extremely heavy sexual content. The show purposely tries to appeal itself to viewers sexually as much as possible without outright crossing into explicit hentai. Because of this, none of us at Beneath the Tangles can recommend this show to other Christians in good conscience.
I would like to suggest Erased (Boku Dake ga Inai Machi). I´m a Catholic student, I watched it recently and I was amazed by its portrayal of the suffering of the innocent, guilt and redemption, heroism, kindness, trust, selflessness, family, mission-vocation and courage, and a providential view of events. I would argue that the main theme of the show is in fact a Christlike sacrifice, though not explicit at first. The story is pretty dark, as it deals with the issue of children neglected and abused by their parents, and the main villain is also a psychopath children murderer (although there are no on-screen murders and, in fact, almost no on-screen violence), but also filled with hope. I would strongly recommend it for those Christians who can deal with these themes. It´s also full of action and mistery.
No sexual content or fanservice. Some frightening and intense scenes. No reference to God or religion. Time-travel is an important element of the story (linked to the mission-vocation element), but its source is left unexplained.
Thanks for the recommendation! Erased was definitely an interesting recent anime entry (just two seasons ago, I believe!), and it’s helpful to hear your perspective on it! We’ll do our best to keep it in mind for future revisions of our list!
I’d recommend Princess Tutu for this list. It has themes based around the meaning of true love and free will, and its lack of graphical violence makes it accessible to almost any age.
For those in the US, Now and Then, Here and There is available for free streaming on manga.com.
I would want to thank you wholeheartedly for your work. I got into anime last year with FMA: Brotherhood, which impressed me with its portrait of the characters, the redemptive power of its story and the complexity and coherence of the world it´s set on (I also missed some of the first episodes which would probably have me to quit). Then I turned to Erased, which I have already commented here. I wanted more of the like, something I could watch with Christian eyes and also stylistically good. Since then, I have watched Trigun, then Kino´s Journey, Haibane Renmei, Madoka, Now and then, here and there (it´s amazing! I would say it´s one of my favorite works in any media, with such portrait of pain and such a light of hope…) and Sakamichi no Apollon (which I will also remember forever). All of them are masterworks, full of substance, beauty, emotion and truth, I absolutely loved them and I´m grateful. By the way, I also tried Eden of the East (didn´t like the jokes, and as it is a comedy show…), Samurai Champloo (too gory and sometimes kind of nasty) and Legend of Galactic Heroes (those Dark Bishops), and I don´t know about Clannad, Usagi Drop or Big Windup, as I´m not too much into realism (so, any suggestions?). Long life Beneath the Tangles, I´ll be around here. Thank you!
Thank you for your encouraging comment, Gaheret! It sounds like you’ve benefited from this list, and as a BtT staff member, I’m glad to hear it (even though I had no part in its development). As someone who always avoided the drama genre and used anime to escape reality, I still recommend Usagi Drop and Clannad. My biggest caution with Clannad is that you shouldn’t give up on it too soon. It took almost six episodes for it to capture me, and I wouldn’t have gotten that far if the guys here at BtT hadn’t recommended it so highly. I don’t think I’ll watch the whole thing a second time, but I’m glad I watched it once.
Big Windup is great, too! For a sports anime, I suppose it does have more of a realistic feel to it, but it’s still a delight.
After reading this section, I went off and purchased one of the few I had not seen from this list; Now and Then, Here and There. All I have to say is wow, that anime was something special. It was brutal and explicit as you guys said, but Shu was truly one of the greatest characters to grace anime.
Thank you so much for making this blog. I never would have watched this anime without you guys. It was a true masterpiece.
You have no idea how happy this makes me! I added that anime in myself, as I’m the only one who has both seen it and has any strong feelings about it, so every time the conversation comes up to edit this page it gets put on the chopping block first. I’m so glad we decided to keep it, though 😛
I am too! The values espoused throughout the story from the anti-violence to protecting others even at the cost of your own life, were amazing! Thanks again. And if it gets referred to the chopping block again, I vouch 100% for this anime to stay on the list.
I took your advice. I´m glad I did! I´m enjoying realism as much as I enjoyed fantasy and adventure shows. Clannad´s miracle was amazing! It reminded me the one from the film “Ordet”, and the journey of the characters was complex, truthful and sometimes unique: I became very attached to the characters. Usagi Drop was very good, and Big Windup (I´ve finished it just today) made me as interested in group sports as I had never been, and I loved its characters and its portrait of friendship, rivalry, dependence, group work… but the one I´m most grateful about is Nichijou, which I would never found if it wasn´t in this list, as it helped greatly my spiritual life: it showed me how to find in my ordinary life the humour, wonder and joy of God, and therefore to rejoice even in a series of absurd accidents not unlike Yukko´s, as I know I´m watched with sympathy and love. Now I´m into Ashita no Joe and I´ll probably start Hibike! Euphonium in a while. Thank you very much!
I’m glad you’ve enjoyed our recommendations! Nichijou is an especially under appreciated gem!
Noir is my favorite Anime. One that my Faith has definitely informed how I view it.
None of these horrid animes are fit for MY sweet, pure Christian boy! You’re letting shows with “some language” in this list?! How disgusting!
I love haibane renmei! Have you considered interviewing Carrie Savage the voice actress of Rakka? I believe she is a Christian as well, she helped Vic Mignogna with one of his Sunday services. I would be interested in hearing an interview with her!
Oh really? No, I didn’t know that! Thanks for the tip – I’ll do some research!
I highly recommend Kobato! It is very similar to Fruits Basket in that the protagonist is a lovable, kind-hearted ingenue dedicated to serving others and features a cast of flawed but compassionate characters who practice behaving altruistically. It is almost entirely wholesome. One hot-headed character swears mildly, but there is no violent or sexual content. The storyline is a little confusing and, admittedly, there are Buddhism-like mentionings of reincarnation and such, but overall, it is an utterly heartwarming anime with themes that align with Christian values such as selflessness, innocence, devotion, patience, hard work and finding joy in life. It made me cry from watching kindness rather than the sad parts. I give it a 9 out of 10. 🙂
Hello again! May I just offer my own (unique?) take on Bunny Drop?
I’ve just begun watching the anime, and it is delightful!! I understand, however, that the manga eventually reveals that Rin and Daikichi are NOT related and that they develop romantic feelings for one another and get married when Rin grows up. Like most people, I presume, I initially found the plot twist disturbing! :/ However, after giving this a bit of thought, it suddenly occurred to me that it is quite a touching parallel of my relationship with Jesus!
This requires some imagination, but please bear with me! I found Jesus when I was 8-years-old, not much older than Rin was when Daikichi adopted her, and He immediately became my very best friend! As I entered womanhood, however, I began to be deeply intrigued by the Biblical metaphor of the Christian Church as the Bride of Christ, and my feelings for my Savior started to shift. I began to regard my love for Him as quite romantic indeed, and this transition from the little-girl thought process of “Jesus is my Daddy” to “Jesus is my One True Love” felt perfectly natural and wholesome and reverent. As I evolved, so my relationship with Jesus evolved with me. Thus, as bizarre as it may sound, I view the complex transitions in the Daikichi/Rin relationship to be kind of fascinating.
Does any of this make sense?? I am NOT by any means trying to say that I advocate incest!!! The “kinda-but-not-really-incest” aspect of the story still makes me squirm. 🙁 And a young, vibrant girl with her entire life ahead of her marrying a man in his forties certainly does not seem like the healthiest romantic partnership in the world and rather unfair to Rin. ALL I am trying to say is that one could (especially if you’re a woman) view the relationship as something of a metaphor for Jesus’ love for His orphans. Daikichi as the Christ-like figure taking in the helpless little waif and nurturing her until she’s mature enough to become his bride. It puts quite a lovely new Christian spin on the situation! God has endowed me with the special gift of finding the beauty in so many things, and I think it’s beautiful to view it in that light.
Anyway, I hope that was food for thought! And I just want to thank everybody involved with Beneath the Tangles for creating such a wonderful website! You all seem like such sincere, godly people and I do so love your articles about finding Christianity in anime! It seems God has blessed all of you with the ability to find beauty in unusual places, too. Please keep up the good work!! ^_^ God bless!!!
Thanks for sharing, Tonie! That’s a wonderful way of seeing this relationship, and it helps me view it in a different light. Even though the way its presented is troubling (and I’ve written about that as well, most particularly in the idea that adoption is shown as something not as real as a blood bond), the analogy you’ve drawn from it is beautiful. It works so nicely, and I’m glad you shared it with us—doubly glad because I’ll think of it the next time I think of this wonderful anime!
I have to second TWWK’s thanks here. I heard about the ending, and I was deeply disturbed. This makes me able to think of this in a different light, and while I will never read the manga this will help me when I am recommending the series to people or rewatching it.
Haha, I always have to say, “I highly recommend this show BUT” or “EXCEPT” or something like that. It’s such an unusual case.
Oh my goodness!!! I am so terribly sorry I never replied to these comments sooner!! I had no idea my message received replies, or I would have done so months ago! Please forgive me!!
I just want to say how happy and thankful and humbled I feel to know that my perspective on Bunny Drop helped some people look at the series in a different light! There is absolutely no need to thank me, but you’re very welcome just the same! I’m happy I made a difference! ^_^
No, thank you for your comments!
It would be great if you guys could add because.moe as a recommendation for legal streaming. I recently found out about it, and it’s helped me find legal methods as well as identifying when I’m accidentally watching a show illegally.
Woh, very cool site! Thanks for sharing!
What do you think of D.Gray-Man? “Exorcising” demons, you could maybe argue some of the Noah’s represent specific sins (Lulu Bell = lust, Skin Bolic = wrath), message of the danger of sin/consorting with demons (Allen being cursed), message of good vs evil.
Of course I have to point out the main antagonists are the “Noah family” who have “Noah’s ark” that can transport them and they refer to themselves as “true apostles of God”. Definitely not Christian like considering they’re evil, but I just wondered your thoughts, if you had any.
Just an update Nichijo is now on Crunchyroll.