Aniblog Tourney: Inconsequentially Yours

The Aniblog Tourney (apologies for originally putting this post up too early – voting is now up for our second match) has been an interesting experience. I love tournaments and I enjoy competition, so it’s mostly been a lot of fun for me. I’ve also been grateful for all the feedback for our blog.

In the first round, among the critiques given us was the following, by Evan, editor of our opponent this round, Anigamers:

The writing on Beneath the Tangles is technically proficient, but the few topics I skimmed through felt inconsequential. Anime characters in hospital beds? Fanfiction about anime characters getting married? It leaves me asking “so what?” That said, Christianity is an interesting theme for an anime blog, so at least you guys are unique.

I certainly respect Evan’s opinion. He runs a very successful, long-enduring site and is a real writer – a journalist whose posts I admire (please read his post detailing the very convincing reasons to vote for his site). When someone like that levies criticism, the wise thing to do is consider it. So I had to ask myself, is our blog inconsequential?

The answer? Quite possibly, though I hope not. I’d like to think that Evan’s assessment is based on his skimming of the blog, without reading our more thorough posts (or the posts he chose more thoroughly).

The truth of the matter is, if we’re being inconsequential, then I’ve made a severe misstep and missed my entire purpose for blogging.

But then again…maybe we’ve been on the right path after all.

More Than Fanfiction and Hospital Beds

We write about series which challenge us to become better people; have the power to transform; cause us to think upon our past actions; and force us to lay a critical eye upon the larger culture, Christian or otherwise, and upon ourselves.

We seek to see the big in the little, and the little in the big.

We focus on our own hypocrisy and the pain we cause others. I express the importance I place on humility, but how my arrogance and selfishness often gets in the way.

We’re concerned with the people of Japan – their physical well-being as well as their spiritual lives. Further, we’re concerned with how all people, including the defenseless, the bullied, and individuals with disabilities, are treated. We examine depression and guilt, which hurt so many people, as well as the power of forgiveness. We encourage readers to give back.

We’re concerned with this life and the next.

And we find that even if we approach anime simply for fun, we can’t get away from significant themes that strike at us again and again, like those of sacrificial love, personal transformation and faithfulness.

I share about family, fatherhood, and children.

And finally, I even sometimes get analytical, emphasizing symbolism and allegory.

I’m a Christian and You’re Not. Um…And…?

There’s one more thing we do, and it’s all tangled up in our faith.

All the writers here are Christian. Obviously then, the posts are written from a Christian point of view. We are biased.

But we are also open and welcoming.

Our community here is full of Christians, but is also populated by atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, Muslims, and perhaps those I don’t know about who are of other faiths. I’ve worked to create a safe place and open environment where we can engage in religious discussion, spearheaded through a project in which an atheist, a ghost-worshipper, and a follower of a personal religion, among many others, explained their faith, while discussing anime.

For many otaku, religion may not often come to mind in our day-to-day lives. But that doesn’t mean the topic isn’t important to us, nor does it mean that’s not significant in general. Here, we’ve created a place where spiritual pavement hits animation road, and we can chat about anime while discussing religion, particularly that which the writers follow and espouse, Christianity.

If all this is inconsequential, then I’ll just have to live with that label. In fact…I’ll stick it on my blog any day of the week.

Posted on 05.02.2012, in Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 24 Comments.

  1. I’m almost glad I didn’t enter this competition…heaven only knows what he would’ve said about my little blog…admittedly, I dont take negative critiques very well having been burned several times, and if you catch me on the wrong day and say the wrong thing…my alter ego, “The Angry Black Man” would surface…heh…

    But back on the subject, I say your topics are very unique. You are the only blogger I’ve seen who can effectively combine the study of Christanity and anime effectively and make strong points to support your thoughts. And when you equate real life situations with anime…well, dang, I want you to show me how to do that! My point is, don’t let some self-important guy on the internet dictate how you write your blog. You are awesome at what you do, and so long as you believe that, you will succeed.

    BTW, if this post makes no sense, please note that I wrote this on my HTC Inspire at 3:30AM…

    • I don’t think I’d want to meet “Angry Black Man.” The “Nice Black Man” is much more fun. :P

      And thanks for all the kind words! You know that I also really enjoy your blog (though I wish you’d keep the Drew Threw It to You column!).

      • Heh. Thanks. And fair warning; when it comes time for me to review “Pilot Candidate”, you will meet “Angry Black Man”…but I digress…

        And yeah, I’m gonna try something a little different along the lines of “Drew Threw it to You”, but slightly tweaked. And I also have some other new column ideas that I might try to hash out in the coming days. In fact…I might need to talk to you on the side about how to do a Blogroll. I’ve been meaning to do one for the LONGEST time, but I just haven’t gotten around to it, nor am I 100% sure how to. Any help would be appreciated!

        • I’ll be looking forward to it! Ya know, Drew Brees is from Austin, which is where I live. I have a particular interesting in following his career!

          And yeah, I’ll definitely help you out! I’ll send you an email in a little bit.

  2. Wow. I commend you on writing this post, Charles. It really strikes to the points of some of the aniblog critiques I read, and is a respectful response in what could easily be a heated argument. I was actually a little angry at some of the comments I read which didn’t seem to truly reflect what I have read of your works.

    One of my favorite aspects about your writing is that you never never attack anyone with Christianity; you draw connections that even someone like me who is not a Christian can understand, even if I don’t always agree. I am constantly reminded by your discussions how much I can still improve as a moral person.

  3. I think you did an awesomejob of showing why this blog is important. I am hoping that your humility and sportsmanship will be recognized by the voters.

    • Thanks so much, Jordan. I tried to be humble, but truth be told, while writing this post I rediscovered that thin line between humility and fake humility.

  4. I really admire your mature response to the critique. Not only for writing a respectful response to your opponent’s critique, but because you first reflected upon your own work in light of the criticism before formulating your response.

    As to the actual content of the critique, I suppose from certain views the topics discussed here may seem inconsequential, but they are also what sets you apart from many other blogs I’ve read. The connections that you draw between anime, life, and Christianity makes your writing fascinating to read not only from an anime fan’s perspective, but also as an individual’s perspective (Christian or not).

    • Myst, thanks for the kind words!

      Truth be told, my first reaction was…a little different from what my post indicates. This is how I am – oftentimes, I’m quick to anger and certain actions that betray a darker heart than I indicate on the blog. Time, prayer, and meditation is always helpful for me, since I’m often sensitive and usually quick to anger.

  5. heartofmanga

    When I read your blog, I see a wonderful ministry. I love how your writing reflects the true teachings of Christianity. Beneath the Tangles provides a common ground for believers and non believers to have meaningful discussions. I would in no way consider this blog inconsequential. Your gifts are being used to reach others, and it is evident to me that your blog is being used to change hearts for His kingdom.

    • Laura, thank you so much. Really, I’m so encouraged by your words. They mean a lot to me, especially since I frequently doubt what we’re accomplishing here.

      You remind me that I need to continually be thinking of what God is doing, how God is moving, and how He might want to use me, even as weak as I am, to do his work.

      Thank you. :)

  6. Be it negative or positive response, everyone seems to agree that your blog is unique which is a rare quality in this tournament. I am confident that you will go deep into the upcoming rounds.
    ^_^

    • Thanks for the encouragement – it certainly means a lot coming from you, who did so well last time around. ;)

      • I remember what happened in the first tourney. And I can tell you with confidence that my three-peat victories were not entirely up to me. In fact, I would have lost the first round if Colony Drop weren’t such a controversial site. Plus, Wakaranai was somewhat inactive at the time and Beta-waffle was…always Beta-Waffle >_>

  7. I would say that the writer’s criticism was constructive (just a tad harsh) and not the worst I have read. In terms of inconsequential posts, I’m assuming he hasn’t read your latest regarding Japan and Christianity. I found that to be one of your strongest posts to date and it really showed what this blog is about and capable of. I also find it brave for all to participate in this tourney that has been a bit ugly but has shown me who NOT to follow. I voted for you in Round 1 and I will be voting for you again in Round 2. I read your blog almost daily and it was one of the first I started following.

    • Thanks so much for the support – I really appreciate all you’ve added to the community here, and likewise, I read your blog frequently!

      And yes, I agree, Evan’s criticism was constructive and not at all mean-spirited. In fact, though I focused on a negative, his words were generally very nice.

  8. I enjoy the unique mission of this blog, the high-quality writing, the kindness of contributors and commenters alike, and the variety of different topics that are explored, which is why I voted for you again. :)

    • Thank you! :)

      I’m really happy for your support – you’ve been such a valuable contributor of what we do here, through your comments and of course, through that wonderful piece we linked to last year. :)

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