Monthly Archives: August 2012

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Kokoro Community, Fairies Invent Religion, and Exorcising Anime Demons

Draggle continues his fabulous series of posts on Kokoro Connect, defining community and showing how various characters contributed to being part of one in episode eight, before tying it all together with biblical teachings. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Processr compares episode nine of Humanity Has Declined to Gulliver’s Travels, complete with criticism of religion. [Anipulse]

Lady Saika examines demon possession in Supernatural and Blue Exorcist, and invites readers to give other examples. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Mira mentions the spiritual journey in The Wings of Honneamise in her collaboration post with Cholisose. [Cholisose!]

Sweetpea finishes her Evangelion posts with End of Evangelion, and closes with some discussion of the characters’ attempts at creating a god. [Going in Blindly]

Win a FREE Copy of Haibane Renmei!

The fine folks as FUNimation (really, they’re awesome!) have provided us with a free copy of Haibane Renmei.  It’s a show whose religious imagery is so strong (and according to ABe, intentional), that I couldn’t help but discuss it here on the blog.  It’s also simply a wonderful series.

Rakka

Art by Gorilla(1844〜)

Since I already own a copy of the series, a gift from the amazingly kind Don, this what I’m going to do with this unopened copy.  I’m going to just give it away!

You can enter to win raffle style.  You “buy” your tickets by doing any of the following:

Subscribe: 5 Tickets

Subscribe by email by click on the follow button on the right of the screen and entering your email address.  All individuals who have already subscribe to this blog receive one extra ticket for a total of six.

Tweet: 3 Tickets

Tweet the contest by hitting the “tweet” button at the bottom of the post.  Make sure to include @thetangles, so that I can keep track!

Comment: 2 Tickets

Comment below by answering the following question:

There’s a heavy emphasis on names in Haibane Renmei, with each haibane receiving a new name (<— SPOILERS) upon their birth into the world.  Their names are symbolic and based upon dreams, with meanings including falling, air, sleep, and river fishReflecting on a frequent dream you have, or one that sticks out to you, what might your haibane name be?

RSS Feed: 2 Tickets

If you subscribe to Beneath the Tangles via RSS, mention it in the comments below for a couple of tickets.

Follow: 1 Ticket

If you’re a WordPress user, you can earn one additional ticket by hitting the “Follow” button at the top of the screen.  Previous followers will get an extra ticket, for a total of two in this category, but only if you also comment.  Not that I don’t trust that all of you followers are also regular readers. :P

And that’s it!  Do any of the above or any combination!  You can get up to 13 tickets for the contest, or if you’re a super duper Beneath the Tangles follower, up to 15!  You may enter until midnight, September 4, which is the day FUNimation’s DVD set for Haibane Renmei comes out.  I’ll announce the winner of the drawing shortly afterward.  The contest, by the way, is limited to the U.S. and Canada.

Make sure you’re checking your blog, email, Twitter account, etc. next week.  I’ll notify the winner.  If I can’t find a way to reach you, or if you don’t respond within three days, I’ll move on to the next ticket drawn.

Good luck!

A Year Ago on Beneath the Tangles

A year ago…I saw the androphobic Inami as representing us

Art by M.M

A year ago…I was really into Eden of the East, reviewing the film, “Paradise Lost”…

…and finding Jesus symbolism all over the series.

“Spirit Sword”

A year ago…I pondered on a violent event in Adachi’s Touch

…and on how the show demonstrates how the ordinary can be extraordinary.

A year ago…I decided to rewatch Angel Beats, discussing Yuri’s beliefs in episode 1

…and the role of God in causing pain, as seen through the lens of Yuri in episode 2.

A year ago…I interviewed voice actress, Caitlin Glass, for the first time

…as well as artist, Keikokup.

 

“A Year Ago” is a monthly series on Beneath the Tangles which links to posts from the site written around this date last year.

Kokoro Connect 08: The Growing is the Hardest Part

I have a family member who might be like someone you know (or might even be like you).  I think his main goal is life is to not offend people – he goes with the flow and tries his best to never rock the boat.  He wants to avoid conflict at all cost.  And while this attitude just plain fits well with his personality, I think the overriding motive behind it is just that he doesn’t want to see his loved ones get hurt.

This is the strategy that Inaba and, through the course of episode eight of Kokoro Connect, Taichi take.  To avoid hurting their friends (and implied through several arguments between character, for selfish reasons), Taichi and Inaba become distant from them.  But by the episode’s end, Fujishima’s words (directly) and Iori’s (written) reveal something to our knight in shining armor – some things are worth the pain.  While hurt can cause us to regress, as with Yui, it can also push us to grow.

Personal Growth

When faced with difficulties, sometimes extreme, we can respond by meeting the challenge.  Iori, filled with pain centered on her lack of identity, grows past it and at this point in the series seems to be the character, ironically, most in touch with her emotions.  Yui and Inaba, too, seemed to be coming out of the pain, before recent setbacks.

It’s often said that God will do what He needs to, including letting you be hurt, to push you to grow closer to Him.  Call it divine tough love.  I know for me, I spent years “growing” in my spiritual walk, unchallenged by any major setbacks.  But when I had children, and life became very difficult (it’s definitely hard to be a good parent!) and even painful, I was pushed out my comfort zone.  Read the rest of this entry

Kirito, Asuna, and Complementary Couples

It’s so much easier when you have someone around who knows what she’s doing.

- Kirito

If episode eight of Sword Art Online emphasized anything, it’s this: Asuna and Kirito need each other.  In some ways, their needs are more wants, like Kirito’s desire for someone of Asuna’s cooking skill to whip up some rabbit stew.  In other ways, it’s more emotional, as in Asuna’s desire to break free from a guild that appears to have become tyrannical.  And as I’m sure will be made clear in episode nine, they’ll need each other to survive the blue bull boss that lies in wait for them.

And will they survive next week?  Umm…I’m going to guess yes, even if I’m not sure how the events will play themselves out.  Not only are the two our protagonists, and not only do are they powerful as individuals, but they also fight well together.  Kirito and Asuna complement each other.

Sword Art Online

Art by アトルネ

And as Kirito starts to finally feel some stirrings for Asuna, who seems to have felt them for him all along, I’m quite reminded of my own counterpart – my wife.

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Kokoro Church, Quiet Times > Anime Time, and Rumors of a Saint Young Men Anime

Draggle continues his wonderful posts on Christian ideas in Kokoro Connect, this week focusing on the role the club members have in helping one another and comparing it to the church, which is made of sinners. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Jenine Silos, a reformed anime fan and cosplayer, takes a pretty harsh view of how Christians should treat anime. [WriteForACause]

The irrepressible Ghostlightning begins his post on rape in episode 8 of Muv Luv Axis Alternative Powers Total Eclipse with some commentary on Lot’s daughters and Christian fundamentalism – warning: language. [We Remember Love]

The denizens of Crunchyroll nation discuss the incompatibility (or compatibility) of Christianity and anime.  It’s really interesting to read these thoughts, including some misconceptions both Christians and non-Christians have. [Crunchyroll]

I missed this one last week, as Ladybacula examines Jewish characters in anime. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

In the rumor-until-proven mill, there appear to be rumblings of a fall anime for Saint Young Men, the critically acclaimed manga featuring Jesus and Buddha as roommates.  I also read a source claiming that it was a joke.  So…which is it?

I was a bit out of touch this week, so particular thanks to Justin S. and Charles Dunbar for their news tips this week.

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As part of the Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere series of posts, each week, Beneath the Tangles links to writings about anime and manga that involve religion and spirituality.  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

The Blogger Interrogation Game Strikes Back!

Although I previously posted my answers to the wonderful Aniblogger Interrogation game that’s going around, I’ve been tagged back as well, by both Cajun Samurai and Alexander.  So, here we go…again!

The game was created by Iso and his rules are as follows:

Introduction

  • Each person is supposed to follow the rule of fives. You are allowed to ask 5 questions, after which you can tag up to 5 bloggers by hyper-linking to their blog; 5 questions because it’s not too many to flood another blogger and occupy too much of his/her time, but yet a large enough number to ask your most important questions, and 5 bloggers to avoid spamming. Hence, prioritize your questions, and who you wish to ask!
  • Those tagged are obliged to answer the questions in a blog post, and after which, they are entitled to create their own 5 questions and tag 5 other bloggers, so on and so fourth. You should answer your own 5 questions as well. You are allowed to tag the person that tagged you in the first place. Also, copy and paste this section on your blog so others can understand how the game goes.
  • In the case where a blogger strongly refuses to answer a question, he/she must instead post a nice anime image, wallpaper or cosplay picture, et cetera in response to that question.
  • To make things interesting, a blogger can include wildcards in his/her 5 questions by placing an asterisk, (*), after which those tagged are obliged to reveal something interesting about themselves that others did not previously know. There is no limit to the number of asterisks one can place (which means there can be up to 5 wildcard questions).
  • Anyone can feel free to start the game; you don’t necessarily need someone to tag you. Just create your 5 questions and tag your 5 people of choice. However, the catch is that you must answer your own 5 questions as well.
  • To potentially prevent an endless game, this round of games will end on the 8th September 2012, 12pm JST (GMT +9). After which, no more bloggers can tag others to answer their questions.

Read the rest of this entry

Nihon kara modottekimashita!

Tadaima!

Now that I’m almost over the jet lag, the summary version of my trip to Japan is that I had a great time, though naturally I discovered some things I’d do differently the next time. I felt very well prepared for the trip, and in general comfortable in this very foreign country. Believe it or not, I credit my anime watching for at least some of this. For now that I’ve seen the real people in the real country, I’m here to tell you that what you’ve seen in anime (at least the more realistic / slice-of-life ones) is all there on display — the crowded but efficient train system, the schoolchildren in uniforms, the fashionable young ladies and smug bishounen glued to their cell phones, the sea of kaishain of all ages in their white shirts and black pants, the little old couples on vacation, the cool modern (or drab depressing) apartment complexes, the row houses, the drink machines (they are everywhere, and I for one was grateful), the modern skyscrapers amidst ancient shrines and palaces. All I can say is that you must go and see it all for yourself!

This side street in Kyoto looks like a street in a slice-of-life anime, only real

Read the rest of this entry

Kokoro Connect (Episode 07) and Sword Art Online (Episode 07): Loving You is Not Easy

I’ve been watching Kokoro Connect in anticipation each week to see what happens next in Inaba’s journey.  What stuck out this week was the idea, again, of loving yourself versus loving others, and the sacrifice it takes to do the latter over the former.  The same message was conveyed in episode seven of Sword Art Online – and that’s where I want to start first.

Lizbeth Sword Art Online

Art by あやめる

Lizbeth the blacksmith does something we often see in anime – although interested in a guy, she puts aside her feelings because a girlfriend is also interested in the same dude.  But I felt a stronger connection with Liz’s character than most, perhaps because she actually revealed her feelings before later retracting them for Asuna’s sake.

Maybe many of us can relate.  In high school, I had a quasi-relationship with a friend that was broken when she and my best friend revealed to me that they had decided to date.  I wasn’t in love with her, so it didn’t carry the same weight as Lizbeth/Asuna/Kirito, but still, it’s applicable in that I did encourage my friends in their relationship.

Maybe you had another similar situation, though not involving romance.  Or perhaps some of you have a more relevant experience, where you let someone go for the sake of another – someone whom you really loved.

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Wisdom of Heartseed, Ghibli in Catholic Magazine, and Christianity in Evangelion, Trigun, and FMA: Brotherhood

Draggle continues to examine Kokoro Connect with Christian language, finding the kids caught up in a battle between flesh and Spirit, and Heartseed as similar to Ecclesiastes’ teacher. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Sarah Greydanus, the teenage daughter of reviewer Steven D. Greydanus, reviews Whisper of the Heart. [National Catholic Register]

After finally finishing Neon Genesis Evangelion, Sweetpea provides her overview of the series, including some commentary on the use of religion in the show. [Going in Blindly]

Rocklobster review a classic, Trigun, and includes examination of Vash as a stand-in for Christ and of Wolfwood’s portrayal as a priest. [Lobster Quadrille]

Annalyn is rewatching FMA: Brotherhood, and notes some commentary about religion in the show. [Annalyn's Thoughts]

On a more somber note, Annalyn also reflects on the death of a young man she knew. [Annalyn's Thoughts]