Monthly Archives: October 2011

Welcome Our New Co-Blogger, Murasaki Lynna!

When I sent out a call for co-bloggers a few weeks ago, I was very happy to receive applications from my friend R86 and from Goldy, who has hit the ground running.  At the last minute, however, I received another application that also floored me.  And so, starting today, Beneath the Tangles adds a fourth blogger – murasakilynna.  And like the others, she’s being initiated through an interview.  Please welcome our newest co-blogger!

TWWK: How did you become a fan of anime?

Murasaki Lynna: When I was around 12-13 I began to surf the Internet. One day, when I was on YouTube, I discovered some Inuyasha AMVs. The story and the characters looked so cute and interesting, and I was like “What’s this cool stuff?”.  And soon enough, I was all wrapped up in it…

TWWK: What are your favorite types or genres of anime? How about favorite shows?

Murasaki Lynna: My favorite genres are primarily shojo, but I also enjoy slice of life and some shounen.  My favorite shows are Clannad and Clannad After Story and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I also enjoyed the mangas of Gakuen Alice (never watched the anime), Aria (also never watched the anime), Fruits Basket (the manga was much more in-depth) and Shugo Chara (the Anime got quite side-tracked at the end). Read the rest of this entry

First Impressions – Guilty Crown

"Guilty Crown"

From the writers that brought us Code Geass, we are graced this season with Guilty Crown.  This was one of the few series I was excited for this season and while it got off to rushed start, it presents a promising premise.

First impressions through the first episode:  “Genesis”

The episode starts out with a beautiful song about peace and the sorrow of why people have to fight. During the smooth song, we are thrown into a high tension escape of an oddly dressed girl who is being called a terrorist, together with her small robot companion called Funell. The chase ends with the girl falling off a bridge, then we cut to the next morning where our main character, Shu Ouma, tells about the current situation of Japan in the year 2029.

A virus called the “Apocalypse virus” spread and put Japan into a state of emergency.  Beyond that, we are not told how this virus affects a person, but simply that Japan had to request aid from and is now under the martial law of foreign countries. Read the rest of this entry

Devilishly Entertaining: Mawaru Penguindrum, Episode 14

Each week, Mawaru Penguindrum ups the ante, revealing more about its characters while unfolding additional mysteries.  Episode 14 was no different as it primarily focused on a character we knew little of until now: Yuri.  Until this point (and still now), she was an enigma, but I would say she mostly radiated positive characteristics.  So, it came as a surprise when this episode depicted her as a devil, clearly evoked in the episode title, “Princess of Lies.”

Yuri Mawaru Penguindrum

Art by にぅ

Draggle drew connections between Yuri and Satan, using Milton’s Paradise Lost (unfortunately, I haven’t read it – I chose to read Moby Dick in high school instead, and I don’t regret it!).  I’ll make some further connections from this episode – most or all probably unintentional, but still illustrating the devilish nature of Yuri: Read the rest of this entry

Christianity, Gnosticism, & Daoism in Penguindrum, a Chibi Crisis of Faith, and Sankaku (Christian) Complex

Another week, another spattering of Mawaru Penguindrum posts that talk religion: vucubcaquix mentions the Christian apologetic argument that an orderly creation is evidence of a creator as he describes Ringo’s feelings about fate; Ephemeral Dreams points out the yin and yang of the series and explains the idea, emphasized in Daoism; and draggle continues with his analysis of gnostic symbols in the show.

Landon explores a crisis of faith and other spiritual aspects in episode one of Chibi Devi.

I’m not sure what to make of this, but Ronin Frontier presents a humorous reflection on quite a change in Sankaku Complex’s focus.

Connie reviews volume 7 of JinJun Park’s Raiders, a manhwa featuring Judeo-Christian elements.

Reverse Thieves’ “Manga of the Month” is Saint Young Men, one of the most interesting and unique concepts in all manga.

Review: Because the Angels by Kathleen Kern

Kathleen KernSpike Darbyfield is a hard nut to crack.  Though unafraid to speak her (opinionated) mind, Spike remains detached from those around her.  She’d rather invest her emotions in watching Blood+ or working on a novel inspired by Samurai Champloo than in people.  There is one person in her life, though, that Spike is crazy about – her sister, Margie, who is part of a Christian peacekeeping mission in Iraq.

However, Spike’s sheltered world is altered forever when she receives an emergency phone call.  Margie has been kidnapped by a group of militant Iraqis.

Thus begins Kathleen Kern’s unique story combining anime with spiritual, political, and social elements, and inspired by Kern’s experiences with Christian Peacemaker Teams, which faced a similar crisis in 2005-06.   I’d first heard of this novel while reading an article Kern had written, which told of an underlying theme in this movie: the sacred meeting the profane.  Spike is the epitome of this theme.  While her sister is part of a Christian organization and her birth father a pastor, Spike doesn’t believe in God and uses foul language effortlessly.  It’s difficult to warm up to her at first.  But as the novel progresses and she opens up, even if its bit by bit, we, too, as readers begin to understand Spike and hope for her as she deals with the pain of not knowing whether her sister will live or die, while having to develop relationships with others, something she has also avoided (unless those relationships are with 2D characters). Read the rest of this entry

Love Hina MMF: How Shinobu Became a Grown-Up

For me, the path from “What the heck is anime?” to “totally hooked on it” can be summed up in six steps, all corresponding to series:

  1. Digimon
  2. Princess Mononoke
  3. Tenchi Muyo!
  4. Neon Genesis Evangelion
  5. Cowboy Bebop
  6. Love Hina

The last series has a special place in my heart, and among those listed is the only one I bring out once or twice a year to watch (at least certain episodes). The Love Hina Christmas Special remains my favorite single “episode” of any series.

On another note, Love Hina was part of my transition into manga. It was the first manga I read with any serious intent on finishing. And as such, this was how I discovered that anime and manga often drift apart at certain points. And although I love the ending of the anime series, one aspect of the manga really stuck with me – the “reveal” of a certain character in a later stage of her life:

Shinobu as a young woman. SPOILERS BEGIN.

Read the rest of this entry

First Impressions – Persona 4: The Animation

Persona 4 is one of the more popular and well-known video games of the Shin Megami Tensei series where the main focus is summoning “personas” to survive in the game. And to the excitement of many, the game finally made its debut as an anime this past Thursday. The series is appropriately named Persona 4:  The Animation.

I’ve never had the opportunity to play any of the Persona games, sadly. Yet, that will hopefully give me a different perspective to approach the anime than fans of the game would. Although, I have heard a lot of good things about the game, so I’m hoping the anime will live up to its hype.

First impressions through episode 1 “You’re Myself, I’m Yourself.”

The episode opens with a first person view of the inside of a fancy limo with a creepy guy called Igor and a smart looking female, Margaret, sitting next to him telling you (the viewer) about fate and contracts. It plays as something like an intro to a video game, reminding me of “This is your mission, if you choose to accept it (and we know you will)”. Read the rest of this entry

Interview with Kathleen Kern, Author of Because the Angels

Kathleen Kern is a part of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an organization which seeks to transform areas under occupation or war through non-violent methods.  She is also an anime fan, and brought this interest together with a passion for her work in Because the Angels, a novel featuring a protagonist who is Blood+ obsessed.  She was gracious enough to answer a few questions for us.

TWWK: Kathleen, your main character is a woman who is obsessed with anime, particularly Blood+.  What compelled you to create such a character and to use anime as such an important part of the novel?

Kathleen:  I had insomnia one night and was looking through the channels.  The name “Samurai Champloo” just struck me as funny for reason, and when I tuned in–somewhere in the middle of the series, I thought it was funny and liked the fluid drawing.  I liked the way that Mugen and Jin kind of looked semi-realistic, but Fuu looked like big-eyed anime characters.  I’ve always been a sucker for stories that mix humor with pathos (I pretty much learned to read, by reading Heidi over and over again), which Samurai Champloo does.  I think Blood+ was playing after Samurai Champloo, which has more pathos than humor, but the story line and the music drew me in.  In hindsight, I realize that I started on shows with a more artistic bent than most anime series.  If I had started on Inuyasha, for example, I don’t think I would have gotten sucked in (but I actually ended up watching the whole Inuyasha series, as well as some other “lessers.”) Read the rest of this entry

Welcome Beneath the Tangles’ New Co-Bloggers, R86 and Goldy!

When I sent out the call for co-bloggers several weeks ago, my excitement was high, but my expectations low.  I wondered if I’d get any applications, and with my stringent requirements, I felt that even if I did, I might have the unenviable task of rejecting applicants.  But God absolutely blessed me by sending three wonderful applicants my way, all of whom I believe will be wonderful additions to Beneath the Tangles.

Art by ミズ

Today, I’d like to welcome the first two – each of whom I personally knew or knew of and respected greatly before I even knew  they’d apply.  The first, R86, has been a co-blogger of types by function, if not by name, up until this point – he’s posted quite a bit on Beneath the Tangles in the past and I’m glad to call him my friend.  The second is Goldy, whose interest in applying excited me to no ends!  She’s a knowledgeable and strong writer who’ll bring a different viewpoint to what would otherwise be a boy’s club.

To officially bring the two in, R86 recommended that we do a Q&A – I couldn’t think of any better way to introduce my new co-bloggers! Read the rest of this entry

In the Garden of Penguins, a “Professing” Fan of Fullmetal Alchemist, and Kamehameh-AMEN

Last week’s episode of Mawaru Penguindrum contained a parable that contained religious allusions.  Draggles educates us on a gnostic spin on the creation story I was unfamiliar with, as well as the famous myth of Prometheus and fire.  Ephemeral Dreamer also discusses Adam and Eve, emphasizing temptation and the apple while going into detail about this Mary Had a Little Lamb, as well as the nursery rhyme.  A Day Without Me writes that Sanetoshi is clearly a Lucifer figure.  Joojoobees, on the other hand, compares the story to an Amaterasu myth.  inushinde finds an interesting connection in a different myth, that of Hades and Persephone.  Monsieur LaMoe goes into detail about Aum Shinryko and provides some insight about Japanese spirituality following the sarin attacks.

Zeroe4 is looking forward to Fate/Zero, even though he dislikes the use of magic of the power of pride in the series.

The Argus, Wesleyan University’s student newspaper, features Dr. Attiya Ahmad, a professor in the school’s religion department, who happens reads Fullmetal Alchemist for fun.

PanOrient News presents a short profile on Saint Young Men.

I found this Y!A question about DBZ and Christianity quite hilarious.