Monthly Archives: November 2012

Something More: Kiba-Cheza-Mary-Jesus, Writing Papal Manga, and Spirituality in Sora no Woto

Medieval Otaku refers to Wolf’s Rain as “essentially a Christian allegory,” focusing particularly on the symbolism of Kiba and Cheza as Jesus and Mary. [Medieval Otaku]

Foxy Lady Ayame digs deep into Sora no Woto, discussing ideas like the spiritual and healing aspects of a festival depicted in the series. [Anime Diet]

Regina Doman blogs about the process of writing Habemus Papam, Manga Hero’s OEL manga concerning the life of Pope Benedict XVI. [Manga Hero]

Zeroe4 discusses the “necessity of hope” on his personal blog, referring to his time in Japan. [Zeroe4]

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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. 

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Episode 08: Falling From (and Into) Faith

There’s no house here anymore.  Dad’s gone, too.

Episode 8 of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! continues where seven left off, with Tōka attempting to force Rikka into seeing the visible truth – their father, along with their former house, are gone.  The older sister utters the words above as she tearfully pushes Rikka to face reality.

Rikka Takanashi train

Art by いれぅ

Last week, I joined Alexander in discussing similar scenes in the series for his Ashita no Anime podcast.  He sees the show as an atheist allegory.  Rikka chooses to believe in something unreal, oblivious to reality.  Yūta, meanwhile, has thrown off the shackles of his former ways and now lives according to the truth.  Alexander sees the chuunibyou ways of Dark Flame Master and the Wicked Eye as the false trappings of religion, while life without God as reality.  Thus, the quote starting this post would take a deeper meaning in light of this idea.

Obviously, I disagree with Alexander’s assessment of religion, but I think his comparisons are dead on.

Rikka isn’t ready to face the truth yet; but eventually, she will be.  While she may be a bit immature for her age, perhaps Tōka should forgive Rikka for her strange coping mechanism, since she’s still young.

For those of us who are older, though, we lack excuses for examining our belief.  Read the rest of this entry

Readers’ Choice: When R86 Cries (Or Maybe Not)

I have been remiss by failing to mention in this space that I finished Umineko No Naku Koro Ni. In fact, it was probably about a month ago that I finished it. Several of you had warned me that I would probably feel trolled by the ending, and that this was largely because I was experiencing the anime rather than the visual novel. You were very clear that I would be missing a great deal of explanatory information from the visual novel that the anime left out.

Frankly, I was trolled much less badly than I thought I’d be.

While I was hoping for a clear victory of either Battler over Beatrice, or Beatrice over Battler, to me the ending came across like endings in many anime series: left open to the interpretation of the observer. And maybe in some ways this is the best kind of ending for this show.

I will probably disappoint those who recommended I watch this series, because I don’t have a lot more to add to what I’ve already written about my opinion of the show. It is sharply made and of high quality, with attractive characters and high tension. And not so much my cup of tea. Fans of action will find something to their liking, fans of horror even more so, and those who like to ask what happens when the irresistible force meets the immovable object perhaps most of all.

I am not into the horror/gore element, but I am still somewhat persuadable on watching/reading (?) the visual novel, since I have never experienced one before. So I think it’s best if I end by asking those familiar with the series why they’d recommend I watch/read (?) the visual novel — and I mean this question sincerely, and not as some kind of taunt or challenge. And let me be clear that spoilers are welcome! Especially, that is, if you feel they would make your case stronger.

I doubt that I will watch this anime again. And the male/female ratio that is very much smaller than 1 in Higurashi inclines me against watching that show, as I prefer a more balanced cast. But if I am missing as much background to Battler’s story as many of you indicated, maybe I will watch/read (???) the visual novel.

Who knows? Maybe I owe Battler at least that much.

Final verdict: 6/10 at MAL, for reasons already stated. I’d give it a 6.5 if I could, but I can’t. ;)

Trial by Juri: Revolutionary Girl Utena and Believing in God v. Believing in Yourself

Seven episodes into Revolutionary Girl Utena, and it seems like the series still hasn’t begun to show it’s depth.  I expected to know more about the Rose Bride and the world revolution by this point.  But as with Mawaru Penguindrum, though only the most analytical found meaning early on in the series, I was (and am) discovering some ideas I think are worth exploring.

In the episode featuring Juri’s duel with Utena, the idea of miracles plays a significant role.  The characters’ definition of a miracle is a little different from my own, focusing more on an event that seems to be more than coincidence rather than a happening that breaks the laws that govern the universe.  That difference was brought up in my small group meeting several weeks ago, when we discussed events in our own lives that we might consider miracles.

Revolutionary Girl Utena Juri

Art by みきろんてぃる國吉

In that small group meeting, I shared the idea that in my prayer life, I’ve unintentionally drifted away from asking miracles, or at least asking for blessings out of my control, of God.  As I pray, I share with God, and as I do so, I’m often convicted of things I should do in my own life.  As such, if there’s a spectrum, my prayer life has moved away from asking great things of God to simply sharing and figuring God wants me to do things on my own.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Christian Chuunibyou and Angel’s Egg Allegory

I’ll mention it again: I was invited to join Alexander in talking religious allusions in Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! [Ashita no Anime]

Upcoming Saint Young Men volumes will also contain upcoming DVD releases of the series featuring Jesus and Buddha as roommates. [Anime News Network]

Nopy admits feeling lost in regards to the Christian allusions in Angel’s Egg. [Nopy's Blog]

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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. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Anime Fans!

I’d like to wish all the readers out there a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Whether you’re going to munch on a turkey, turducken, tofurkey, or anything else, I hope you have a great day and a reflective one.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Pikachu

Don’t miss Pikachu in the Macy’s parade this morning! (Image from thetanooki.com)

I’d particularly like to thank all the readers of this blog, particularly those that frequent it and help make Beneath the Tangles an eclectic community.  And I’d also like to thank my wonderful co-bloggers: R86, Goldy, Murasaki Lynna, Daniel, and Hansha.  This blog wouldn’t be nearly what it is without you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gurren Lagann and Inheriting Vision

“Simon, yours is the drill that will pierce the heavens,” Kamina stated over and over again. This stuck with Simon, even after Kamina was killed in battle. He would later fulfill this destiny that was handed to him.

Now, Simon was a digger by trade in a subterranean village. He was known as the best digger, but he was lonely and somewhat depressed after his parents had been killed in a cave in caused by an earthquake. He worked hard without any real purpose.  However he had one friend named Kamina, who was a total radical and always caused trouble with his pursuit of a mysterious place called the surface. Kamina gave Simon courage and Kamina trusted Simon with his life. Kamina spent most of his time locked up and Simon spent most of his time digging, but together they formed a team known as Team Gurren.

Gurren Lagann

Art by 紅カラス

One day everything changed when their village had a mech, called a Gunman, fall through their ceiling (spoilers ahead). This forced Kamina and Simon to fight along side a mysterious girl named Yoko to defeat this Gunman. They eventually defeat it by drilling toward the surface. They land and begin a battle to reclaim the world from the Spiral King and his army of Beastmen. Simon eventually becomes the leader of Team Dai-Gurren after Kamina’s death. He learns to fight on because Kamina believed in him and he said this before he died, “Believe in the you who believes in yourself.” Simon battles with himself after Kamina’s death, but he inherits Kamina’s vision. A vision of living on the surface and of piercing the heavens.

Read the rest of this entry

Anime Podcast: Atheists, Christians, and Eyepatch Girls

This past weekend, I was blessed to take part in the Ashita no Anime podcast.  Alexander, who has been a friend to this blog, was gracious enough to invite me to speak about an interesting topic: the religious allusions in the most unlikely of anime, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!  I think you might enjoy the podcast, as Alexander approaches from an atheist perspective and I from a Christian perspective.  Plus, he’s an excellent host!

Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!

Art by 柊ゆづは@衰退

I’m not particularly a strong speaker, nor am I a strong apologist or an educated theologian (either by my own study or through higher education).  So, if I’ve misrepresented the faith or if you just have a different viewpoint from my own, please let me know in the comments below.

Ashita no Anime Podcast 03 – Chuunibyou with Charles

Anime and Bullying: Adolescent Otaku Dealing With Bullies

I recently uploaded an app called “Anime Amino.”  It’s a social community for anime fans – mostly teens and mostly those who enjoy Black Butler, Fairy Tail, Naruto, and the like.  To engage the community, I asked this question in the discussion section:

Have you ever been bullied for being an otaku?

I didn’t intend to share the results anywhere in particular (you’ll note that the responses and questions aren’t really set up survey-style), but the response was so great that I thought I’d share.  Part my work has to do with bullying, as well, and I believe the topic of bullying has an important association with Christian life.

As of the writing of this post, 101 individuals responded to the question posed.  Most (90) were teenagers, with a few younger than 13 and a few older than 19.  About 2/3 were female.

When I posted this question, I was hoping for a smattering of soulful responses.  Instead, I got way more responses than I anticipated, but only a few serious, detailed ones, which was perhaps more in line with what I should have expected.  Still, it was great to get so much feedback – about half of the respondents, 49, said they had been bullied.  I determined that of those, 20 were almost certainly bullied, according to the definition of the term; 2 were not and 27 were undetermined.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Gods in K, Deism in Future Diary, and When Bad Things Happen to Zetsuen no Tempest Characters

Mira mentions the presence of Shinto and Buddhist allusions in episode six of K. [Hachimitsu]

In Tenchi’s thorough analysis of episode five of Zetsuen no Tempest, she contemplates the role God has when bad things occur and how people find comfort in God during those times. [Tenchi's Thoughts]

Rocklobster compares Deus and Murmur of Future Diary to the Deist conception of God. [Lobster Quadrille]

The Cajun Samurai briefly mentions some of the religious allusions within Eden of the East in his very positive review of the series. [The Cajun Samurai]

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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.