Category Archives: Judaism

Something More: V-Day Chocolates for Anime Jesus, Hell in Hoozuki no Reitetsu, and Yuri for Christians

Using Sakura Trick, Frank probes the question, “Is it good for Christians to watch yuri?” [A Series of Miracles]

Jesus of Saint Young Men places third among characters that women would give chocolates to on Valentine’s Day.  Here’s how D.M. Dutcher sees it [Cacao, put down the shovel!]:

“D-dont get me wrong Jesus,” she said, twirling her twin-tail nervously in one finger, “It’s not like I made this for you or anything…”

Dutcher also takes a look at Rescue Me, Mave-chan, from a Christian perspective. [Cacao]

In a third article, Dutcher gives Christians warnings against the trap trope. [Cacao]

John Samuel just watched Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Rebellion, and offers some great analysis, including a mention of one character circumventing free will. [Pirates of the Burley Griffin]

The Medieval Otaku looks to the gospels to help explain the character of Esdese from Akama ga Kiru. [Medieval Otaku]

Jonathan explores the mythology of Hoozuki no Reitetsu. [FunBlog]

Meanwhile, among othres, Rob reviews recent episodes of The Pilot’s Love SongChuunibyou, Nobunagun, Golden Timeand Engaged to the Unidentified.

As part of the Something More 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. 

Attack on Titan: Straight from the Old Testament

I’ve been totally floored by Attack on Titan, the new series this season about GIANTS.  Although our own Goldy wrote about the series’ potential, I wasn’t prepared for how riveting, exciting, and frightening this show would be.

Among other things I missed?  The connection to religion in the first two episodes (what do I do on this blog again?).

Justin, who has been comparing the manga to the anime, pointed out connections to religion in episode two, particularly.  Noteworthy is the street preacher who is entirely absent from the manga and the frightened people who call out to God as they witness the horrible events happening to their village.

The connection that stands out most though (and why shouldn’t they?) is the giants themselves.

Shingeki no Kyojin giant

Art by 大汐

Giants are the stuff of legend.  They are the enemies in fairytales (“Jack and the Beanstalk) and stuff of children’s nightmares (BFG).

Read the rest of this entry

Manga of a Young Girl: Anne Frank in Japan

There are hundreds of Holocaust organizations in the United States and perhaps thousands worldwide.  Through my job, I stay in contact with many.  Still, I was surprised to see a mailing at work for the Holocaust Education Center, Japan (HEC), headquartered in Fukuyama-city.  I was even more surprised to read one of their newsletter stories, revolving around an Anne Frank manga:

HEC has presented 1,200 copies of the comic book, “Anne Frank” to schools in the three prefectures of Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima of the [2011 earthquake] area…Anne Frank wrote in her diary about her desire towards peace, and wishes for a long life, and also the wish for working for the mankind.  HEC hopes that children in those areas will receive hope and courage through this book.

A very small illustration was included, which I unfortunately couldn’t find in better quality online.  From what I gather, the manga was originally published by Shueisha in the late 90s, but an updated version was released in 2011 with more contemporary images than the original (below).

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: The Tetragrammaton and C

I haven’t been paying much attention to one Spring 2011′s most highly anticipated (and by now, maybe most disappointing?) shows, [C]: Control: The Money and Soul of Possibility.  But after reading Michael’s latest post at Anime/Otaku, I’m keen on giving the show a chance.

Michael makes some interesting connections between the summoning cards in the series and the Tetragrammaton, which refers to the name that Jews used for God, YHWH.  You’ll realize the significance of God’s name if you’re religious background has some relation to Judaism, or even not (my first understanding of YHWH, after all, wasn’t from church but from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade).

He goes on to include connections involving the Qabalah religious tradition (I’m not sure if he’s referring to Qabalah or Kabbala – my knowledge of these is at the most, very limited) and the tarot.

This post is really a continuation of a series of posts about C and these connections.  Earlier, Michael went into detail about tarot mysticism and discussed the Qabalah further.

Please visit Anime/Otaku and read the entire post!

A return to mysticism: C and the tetragrammaton

Aniblogger Testimony: Can Anime and Religion Coexist Peacefully?

This is the first in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith.  This post is by the always-amazing Lauren Rae Orsini of Otaku Journalist.

When I think about the intersection between anime and religion, my thoughts always turn to Katsucon 2010. For those who weren’t there, this was the weekend that both Katsucon and Family Life’s Christian Values Summit were held at the Gaylord. 

Now, you’ll hear a lot of fantastic stories from convention attendees about crazy culture clashes that supposedly happened there, but my favorite wrap-up of the weekend came from a Vienna, VA woman who was attending the summit with her husband. She wrote:

As you can imagine, some of our fellow W2R attendees were not only confused, but horrified. Not understanding this culture, and what was going on created a disconcerting feeling in your gut. And now that I’ve done further research, I have to say I better understand the appeal, but remain concerned.

As for the staff of Family Life, you may be surprised to learn that Dennis Rainey & his wife (who founded FL) encouraged the W2R attendees to engage with these kids, ask what’s going on, & show them love, rather than judgmental looks. After all, they are the generation of the future!?

While it’s unfortunate that this particular Christian woman’s first brush with anime involved more Elfen Lied than anyone should have to experience, her reaction was exactly what anime fans often fear. The Christian group did their best not to be judgemental, but as you can see from her account, it was pretty difficult for them to be accepting. Imagine what they must have thought of Katsucon’s several Jesus cosplayers! Read the rest of this entry

Anime and Religion Survey: Conclusions

So, after all that, what does it all mean?  I’ve given some analysis of the results in each of this week’s posts, and many of you have contributed thoughtful comments and additional breakdown.  As a whole, though, here are some of thoughts about what the survey revealed:

The Aniblogging Generation
The aniblogger sample for this survey was young and educated, and had varied backgrounds and religions.  I understand that a group of anibloggers does not serve as an accurate sample of young America at large…but then again, perhaps it can in some facets.  Drawing from my experience as a teacher, through online interactions over the past 15 years, and through other social interaction, I think I can say that the aniblogging population is similar to the thinking, leading, opinionated young people in America today.  Of course, differences abound from region to region, neighborhood to neighborhood, and across cultural and other boundaries, but still, I think you can find people that are like this population in most every high school and college.

anime computer typing

These young people largely lack an organized religion that they are connected to.  Many are, in fact, anti-religious (often a source of turmoil at home).  Read the rest of this entry

Anime and Religion Survey: Religion of Anibloggers

What do you believe?  Is there a God?  What is your faith?  Do you have a faith?

I wanted to know how the aniblogging community would respond to these questions.  About half of all respondents were either atheist or agnostic, with responses split exactly evenly between the two.  In other words, 49% of respondents don’t believe in a god or are unsure about a god’s existence.  If one combined the respondents who declared themselves Catholic, Christian (Protestant), Orthodox, and non-denominational Christian as one group, 35% of anibloggers believe in the Christian religion, which would be the highest percentage of all.  Within that group, most were either Protestant (20%) or Catholic (10%).  Read the rest of this entry

Of Kami and Buddhas: Domo, er….Shalom?

The Old Testament concerns itself, largely, with the story of the interaction between the 12 tribes of Israel and their God.  This is oversimplifying the matter, but when the Assyrian Empire conquered Israel, ten of the twelve tribes of Israel were lost to history.  Today, we refer to these tribes as the “Ten Lost Tribes.”

Recent scholarship and speculation has led many to believe that perhaps one or more of the tribes scattered to the east; some may have ended up in Japan. 

That’s right – many Japanese people may be of Jewish descent.

I came across a video from an investigative Japanese television program.  If you’ve ever seen Asian programs of this sort, they’re terribly entertaining, but must be taken with a grain of salt.  “Oooohs” and “aaaaahs” often cover a lack of hard evidence.  Such is the case with the following videos.  They make connections between the Israelites and Japanese based on a number of similarities, including: Read the rest of this entry