Monthly Archives: September 2012

Sword Art Online, Episode 13: Heaven is a Place on Earth

What a juxtaposition between the easy-going and humorous first half of episode 13 and the tense second half!  But perhaps as trivial as the early part of the episode seems, as Kirito tries to fish out a humongous catch for a newly found fisherman friend, it reveals an interesting question about the game:

If you were in Sword Art Online, would you stay put and live as if this is your permanent home, or would you battle on the front lines to lead the assault to get back to your real life?

Kirito and Asuna fighting

Art by Mir

The point that Asuna later brings up about time limits perhaps puts this question to moot, but still, it’s an interesting choice and one I’ve thought about the past few episodes.  The fisherman lives as if this is now his home and will be so until he passes away.  Asuna lived in an opposite fashion, putting her life on the line to return to the place she considered her real home.

Kirito, on the other hand, lived both ways.  He was able to enjoy the wonders of SAO, while fighting to leave the game.

Such should be the life of a Christian.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Sayaka Miki’s Body and Soul, Yui’s Idols, and Hope in Angel’s Egg

Ty-chama examines the connections to the story of Noah’s Ark and to the ideas of faith and hope in Christianity within the film, Angel’s Egg. [Watashi wa Bucho!!]

Nick Calibey continues his series of posts about Madoka Magica by examining the connection between body and soul, as expressed in the series and by St. Cyril. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Draggle examines the idea in episode 12 of Kokoro Connect that Yui’s life is meaningful because of community and love, rather than because of the former idols she has constructed. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

A student is requesting MAL users to respond to survey she is conducting on anime spirituality. [MyAnimeList forums]

__

As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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. 

Saint Young Men to Be Adapted into Anime Film

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention a little newsbreak.  Kodansha’s Morning magazine announced that the long-awaited anime adaptation of the manga, Saint Young Men, will be going into production.  Instead of a series, a film will be made.

Saint Young Men is the critically acclaimed manga by Hikaru Nakamura featuring Jesus and Buddha as roommates.  I’ve also been a little hesitant to pick up the manga, but I certainly intend to one day, and I’m definitely looking forward to the film.

For those who have read the manga, what are your thoughts on it?  And do you think it could make a good translation into an anime film?

Source: Anime News Network

3-2-1 Contract! Making a Deal With the Devil

Unless you’re Charlie Daniels’ Johnny, making a deal with the devil probably won’t turn out too good for you. The idea of making a pact with the devil, or a devil figure, is prominent in works of fiction, anime included. Series like Yu-Gi-Oh!, Black Butler, and Code Geass (if you count C.C. as such a character) focus on this idea.

The most obvious recent example may be the deals between the magical girls and Kyubey in Madoka Magica. Kyubey fits well into the idea of a devil figure – like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, he is convincing and single-minded. He is also not what he seems, perhaps beckoning to the idea that Satan was once an angel.

Kyubey devil evil

Art by Siv

The idea of selling one’s soul to the devil is more explicitly explored in Me and the Devil Blues, the intriguing title by Akira Hiramoto. The work runs with the legendary idea that Robert Johnson, one of modern history’s most influential musicians, made a deal with the devil. I haven’t read it, though it’s been highly recommended. My guess is that all doesn’t turn out well for Mr. Johnson, who died well before his time.

This fantastical idea of physically meeting the devil seems like a fable to us. Like miracles, such meetings are often deemed to the past or at least, aren’t expected by a modern crowd. Even so, there’s strong application here for lives of Christians. Perhaps none of us will be confronted by the devil incarnate, but like Kyubey, he works his schemes in a way that pulls at our desires and wishes.

Read the rest of this entry

Readers’ Choice: Utena, Umineko No Naku Koro Ni, and More!

The readers have voted!

A couple of weeks ago, we posted a poll asking for you to choose the shows that we would watch and blog next.  Revolutionary Girl Utena won easily; it was followed by Xam’d.  So, we’ll be watching these series as a couple of others that placed highly as well.

TWWK and Lynna will be checking out Revolutionary Girl Utena; Lynna also plans to watch Planetes.

Goldy and Zeroe4 will watch and blog both Xam’d and Heartcatch Precure!

R86 will take on Umineko No Naku Koro Ni.

We’ll be posting our initial impressions in the coming weeks.

Thanks for all the feedback – we hope you enjoy our posts on these series!

Genshiken Nidaime, Chapter 79: All We Have is Now

Have you been paying attention to the new generation of Genshiken?  Well, you should be.  Even if you don’t particularly like the new cast, if you enjoyed the former, now is the time to catch up.

Why?

Because perhaps the climax of the entire series is about to occur – chapter 79 ends with a cliffhanger (SPOILER), as Saki and Madarame are left alone in the Genshiken clubroom, and the possibility of a confession is in the air.

Genshiken Kasukabe

Practice?

I can’t believe it’s taken Madarame so long.  Scratch that – actually, maybe it would be in-character if Madarame just put off his confession forever.

Many of us have a like tendency to put things off.  Why do today what I can do later?  For some, this tardiness might be about being lazy.  But for actions that might bring pain, embarrassment, and discomfort, my guess is that among anime fans, many delay action because of fear.

Madarame may well be in that boat.  He’s been in love with Saki for years now, but is unable to tell her.  I’m sure that he’s been telling himself excuses – the most valid of which is that Saki is with Kousaka.  But in chapter 79, that last bridge seems to be burned, as Saki makes clear she is willing to hear Madarame out and Kousaka, himself, tells Madarame and he needs to stay and speak with her, as if he’s willing to let her go if that’s what she wants (which would be quite in-character of him).

And this may be Madarame’s final chance with Saki. Read the rest of this entry

Sword Art Online, Episode 12: Learning to Adopt

Adoption is a beautiful thing.  In the U.S., adoption is so powerful because in one process, a child’s life is changed forever through the immense sacrifice of an individual or couple.

While Yui is never officially adopted, for all intents and purposes, she might as well be.  This theme of adoption runs strongly throughout episode 12 of Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online family

Art by カレー御飯

Caring for Orphans in Church (Digital and Real)

The episode begins in the church-turned-orphanage.  Some two thousands years after the brother of Jesus defined “pure and faultless” religion as looking after the widows and orphans (James 1:27), the church is still visualized as a place where orphans are cared for.

Today, Christian organizations still care for the defenseless children.  A favorite charity of mine is Show Hope, a Christian non-profit encouraging and aiding couples in international adoption.

On a side note, I found it interesting that the caretaker of the kids notes that the children have been with her since early on, but doesn’t mention any being adopted.  Perhaps this is another thing that sets the loving Asuna and Kirito apart from other players.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Haibane Renmei Reviews, Aniblogging Sins, and Buddhist Bye-Bye in Natsuyuki Rendezvous

The religious-themed Haibane Renmei was released as an inexpensive box-set last week, and a number of outlets have since reviewed it.  ANN’s Theron gives it an “A” and comments on the purposely vagueness of religious aspects of the series, but how many will comment on these themes (us). [Anime News Network]

Stig Høgset, a big fan of the series, mentions that is include “a rather loosely based belief system.” [THEM Anime Reviews 4.o]

Alexander also enjoyed it, and finds that the characters are perhaps not seeking “redemption or spiritual cleansing, but a journey of rediscovering their true selves.” [Ashita no Anime]

Stephanie also comments on the religious themes in Haibane Renmei in her review [Lilac Anime Reviews]:

There are many religious themes involved, however, it’s more of an allegory then a strict following of a certain religion. Because of this, the themes and symbols of this series not only shine, but make you think and question your own beliefs.

Now on to other anime/spiritual links for the week…

Anime reviewer Rocklobster describes his reasons for being a Christian on another of his blogs. [Aspie Catholic]

In Yippy’s response to the Aniblogger Interrogation Game, he asks the question of which of the seven deadly sins does the responder most commit? [Sekijitsu]

Monsieur LaMoe describes burial customs of various religions in his unique dissection of Natsuyuki Rendezvous‘ final episode. [Anime Diet]

__

As part of the Something More series of posts (formerly Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere), 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. 

Untangled: What Are Your Thoughts on Watching a Series That is Censored?

On Beneath the Tangles, we invite readers to ask questions of the staff.  We’d love to hear your concerns and questions, and maybe give you our feedback.

A couple of weeks ago, VW, a Catholic Christian and anime fan, dropped in with a question.  For the sake of space, I’ll just present you bits and pieces of her email:

Let’s take a series like Mashiro-iro Symphony. I found myself really enjoying it! It was a really sweet and endearing series, with positive views on friendship and relationships.
However, Crunchyroll aired the censored version. Apparently (and I’ve looked this up specifically to see exactly what it entailed), the uncensored version (BD release) has nudity. This is something that I really don’t like in my anime, and almost always sets me on edge or makes me feel guilty.

Read the rest of this entry

Yuki-Anne in Japan: Updates in Missions and Marriage!

It’s been a long time, but some of you may remember a series of posts by Yuki-Anne, a missionary in Japan.  An anime fan and a terrific writer to boot, she last wrote a piece for us after the Tohoku earthquake last year.

Yuki-Anne has continued to be busy with her mission work, but she’s also decided that her current mission is coming to an end this coming Spring.  But as all things come to an end, Yuki-Anne’s life reminds us that to everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3:1) with another announcement: she’s engaged!

Congratulations, Yuki-Anne!

If you’d like to read all about her recent activities or would like information about how to contribute to her mission work, please download her September support letter.