Blog Archives

Something More: Catholicism in Noragami, Wolf Children of God, and Bye, Bye, Animekritik!

D.M. Dutcher reviews Wolf Children and finds a parallel to the idea of Christians being “in the world, but not of it.” [Speculative Faith]

Rob continues his Christian reviews, closing out series like Golden Time [1] and Nobunagun [2], while reviewing new shows like Captain Earth [3].

Medieval Otaku gives his thoughts on Witch Craft Works and Noragami, including some Catholic connections in each. [Medieval Otaku]

Additionally, Medieval Otaku, who has guested here and whom we frequently feature in this column, is celebrating the two-year anniversary of his blog.  Go congratulate him! [Medieval Otaku]

Unfortunately, on the other end of the spectrum, animekritik is closing his blog [Kritik der Animationskraft].

We’ve included links to a number of his excellent articles in the past – including some of the following favorites:

(Real) Christianity in Anime

Japes, our Anime Today columnist, has written a number of articles about the intersection of Christianity and anime for his other blog, Japesland.  He is editing and resposting a number of these entries, including the one below, to Beneath the Tangles.

Several days ago I wrote a piece that I titled “(Superficial) Christianity in Anime“, but I realized after reading over it again that I seemed to come off with a rather negative view of Christian themes in anime. Now while I do believe the majority of depictions of Christianity in anime to be overall inaccurate, and even offensive (although when taken as a work of fiction and/or fantasy, I believe it to be less so), I felt that it was worth pointing of the positives that can be found in the medium. Now the title I’ve given to this post may prove to be somewhat misleading, as depictions of “Christianity” as it is often defined are not my focus, but rather depictions of spirituality (and even theology in a broader sense).

I would like to begin with some of the more obvious and move into the more subtle as we move along this (brief) post.

Rakka and RekiIf you read the aforementioned piece, then you are probably familiar with my positive take on the anime series, Haibane Renmei. Haibane Renmei is an amazing example of an anime that contains a number of Christian themes throughout it if one takes the time to analyze it. Disregarding the cherubic appearance of the haibane and instead focusing on the content of the story and dialogue, not only is a Christian faced with dealing with modern issues in Christian culture (something I find to be of less overall significance, but they are present nonetheless) such as the accepting church, but also the core doctrine of Christianity itself. “The circle of sin”, as The Communicator would say. The Haibane are trapped in their sinful states because they have done something wrong. When they accept this wrong (read: “sin”), they are inherently sinful, but when they declare themselves sinless, they are doing nothing but perpetuating the circle by sinning further. The only escape for this is to be forgiven by an external force.

SPOILERS

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Biblical Names of Symphogear, Yura’s Unclean Cup, and Good Catholics in Anime

Cytrus gives a wonderfully in-depth analysis of character names in Symphogear, with a few relating to Jesus, Mary, and Eve. [Yaranakya]

Frank dives into Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C3, examining, among other things, Yura’s Pharisaical actions. [A Series of Miracles]

Lady Geek girls talks Catholic, as in positive portrayals of Catholics in geek media.  The emphasis is mostly on other forms, but she does talk a bit about an example from Maoyu. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Something More: Kenshin’s Journey Toward Mercy, Bad Catholics in Maoyu, and Dreams of a Christian Japan

This week has been full of great articles involving religion and spirituality!  Unfortunately, I may have missed a few – the move from Google Reader to Feedly has been largely snag free, until this week, when I found that their latest update has omitted the search feature.  RSS users beware.

Anyway, onto the articles!

Medieval Otaku posts his academic essay on how Kenshin’s journey in the first two OVA’s (Trust and Betrayal/Samurai X) parallel to St. Bonaventure’s steps leading to God in Journey of the Mind to God. [Medieval Otaku]

Lady Geek Girl has a real issue with how the Catholic Church is represented in some series and movies, and uses Maoyuu Maou Yuusha as an example. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]

Justin notes an emphasis on religion in the Attack on Titan anime as compared to the manga. [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

Draggle draws connections between the act of a benediction and this week’s disturbing episode of Aku no Hana. [Draggle's Anime Blog]

Zeroe4 makes a distinction between his “calling to anime” and his dream for Japan. [Zeroe4]

D.M. Dutcher offers reviews of Another and Girls Und Panzer that are directed toward Christian viewers. [Cacao, put down the shovel!]

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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. 

Habemus Papam! A Manga About Pope Benedict XVI

With Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation on Monday, any good anime and manga fan would ask the natural question: Has anyone made a manga about Benedict XVI’s life?

The answer is, of course!

In all seriousness, a treatment of his life in manga format does exist.  Originally developed by Gabrielle Gniewek and Sean Lam as a 16-page one shot for World Youth Day 2011 in Madrid, Spain, Regina Doman expanded on Habemus Papam! with Lam to create a full-length original English language manga.  Doman even provides some insight into the process on the blog for Manga Hero, the company that creates and distributes this manga and other original series.

I have not read Habemus Papam!, but I have read Manga Hero’s other OEL releases.  The company has done the unlikely and created captivating and well-crafted series based on Catholic principles and Bible stories.  I’ve enjoyed all of their works, though Many Are Called stands out as a favorite.

If Habemus Papam! is anything like Manga Hero’s other works, it’s one that’s definitely worth your consideration – and it’s certainly a timely OEL manga to read in these days of significant activity in the Catholic world.

Something More: Medieval Maoyuu Maou Yuusha Church, The Last Temptation of Madoka, and Samurai Deeper Christ

Nami dives into the themes of redemption and Christ symbolism in Trigun. [The Budding Philosopher]

Medieval Otaku compares Demon Eyes Kyo to Christ and examines some Christian themes and symbols in Samurai Deeper Kyo. [Medieval Otaku]

D.M. Dutcher of the Cacao, put down the shovel blog continues “A Christian’s Guide to Anime and Manga,” posts providing information and recommendations, with a series of articles detailing:

  • specific anime-related definitions [Part 2]
  • the definitions and warnings for “moe” and “lolicon” [Part 3]
  • how Christians should consider approaching anime and manga [Part 4]

JoeAnimated compares monasticism and the Middle Ages to the church guarding knowledge in episode 3 of Maoyuu Maou Yuusha.  [Anime Audiolog]

Usny also mentions the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages in relation to Maoyuu Maou Yuusha, and in an aside, gives thoughts about the rise of fall of the Church’s influence [Desu ex Machina]

Jay notes a scene reminiscent of the temptation of Christ in his review of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. [Jay's Tee Vee]

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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. 

A Review of Nichijou, or, My Ordinary Life (日常)

Guest writer Ethan Snell posts about the “ordinary life” of Nichijou, and how are our ordinary lives are anything but.

The title threw me off in the beginning.

I mean, it’s called Nichijou, which literally translates to My Ordinary Life! Who would want to watch a show like that, even if it has Kyoto Animation behind it?! (I should have looked up the director, Tatsuya Ishihara, who has a pretty significant directing history: Kanon, Clannad, and The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzimiya, among others. That would have given me a little more hope.) But let’s face it. A show called My Ordinary Life run by American comedy TV would be less than interesting… and probably inappropriate.

So when I finally decided to watch the first episode, it was with no small amount of trepidation. (You know how it goes. “I’m just going to watch the first episode to see if I might maybe sorta kinda like it.” Sure. Whatever.)

What I found was a show that significantly changed the way I look at entertainment, and perhaps even changed my perspective on life.

Nichijou spends most of its time in the ordinary interactions between characters, but in a way I’ve never seen before. It doesn’t give a straight reality, but rather shows what the characters are feeling, or how they imagine the situation to be.

Reality thus becomes very distorted. Characters with a fiery temper literally explode, pulling hand grenades and machine guns out of nowhere. Situations that characters perceive as confusing become impenetrable, and something that’s only slightly painful ends up extremely drastic.


We feel her pain… rather, the entire solar system does.

Because of this, Nichijou comes across as somewhat haphazard. It does not follow a straight storyline, but jumps between moments. It can be jolting at first… don’t expect a linear storyline. It is a funny, random show, with a little story taking it along.

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Christmas Mass in Polar Bear Cafe, the Sins of Mirai Nikki, and Eureka 7′s Spiritual Character

Medieval Otaku compares how Mirai Nikki and Elfen Lied each demonstrate the nature of human sinfulness. [Medieval Otaku]

Nick Olson of Christ and Pop Culture includes early scenes from The Secret World of Arrietty among his 25 most memorable of 2012. [Christ and Pop Culture]

Suburban Banshee points out a scene involving Catholicism in the Christmas episode of Polar Bear Cafe. [Aliens in This World]

Among other observations, r0402 mentions how the spirituality of the William character in Eureka Seven stands in stark contrast to how it is shown through the rest of the series. [Ideas Without End]

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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. 

Special thanks to Don of Zoopraxiscope for passing the Polar Bear Cafe post on to me!  If you’ve written such a piece or know of one, please email TWWK if you’d like it included. 

Top Blog Posts About Anime and Religion in 2012: #1-10

The end of the year means retrospection and of course, “best of” lists.  During my time in the aniblogosphere, I’ve been blessed to read hundreds and hundreds of wonderful posts, and though I don’t visit aniblog sites as much now as I did in the past, I still read articles related to anime and religion each week.  We present them on Fridays as part of the now-named Something More series.

Jesus and Buddha anime

Though I have a great collection of co-bloggers, I’ll leave staff-written post out the following list.  Instead, the list below is of articles written by other anibloggers involving anime/manga and religion/spirituality.  Numbers one through six are listed in chronological order (seven through twelve to follow tomorrow):

1. We are the pirates who don’t buy anything
1.5.2012
written by Tommy of Anime Bowl

In summary, I think that the small percentage of Christians who are anime fans and the large percentage of fansubbers who steal anime are two numbers that go hand-in-hand. Sure, there are Christians who watch fansubs, I know that I did for an arc of Bleach before giving up the crime for good. But I don’t think these statistics are any coincidence; instead, I think it’s something to ponder.

Read the entire post

Read also: A Culture of Hate

Read the rest of this entry

Something More: Evil Religion in Shin Sekai Yori, Catholic Context in Angelic Layer, and My Seven Little Deadly Sins

The new season of anime has started!  Each season brings with it a series or two that deals with spiritual, supernatural, and/or religious themes.  Since these ideas are often used simply as a plot device with little meaning, I tend to ignore these shows.  But Shin Sekai Yori may be a little different.  And at the very least, it’s getting a lot of attention from anibloggers:

  • Highway finds the questions it poses intriguing. [Sushi Go Kart]
  • Draggles notes that if it involves “crazy conspiracies with a religious tint,” he’s sold. [Draggle's Anime Blog]
  • Alexander notices some strong themes involving growing up. [Ashita no Anime]
  • Guardian Enzo compares the series to Noein (<— I definitely agree) and Ghost Hound. [Lost in America]

A couple other bloggers focused heavily on the religious tones.  Tsuki noticed that the creators really emphasized Shintoism in the little details as well as the large [Emory Anime Club], while Cholisose also discussed the religious motifs [Sea Slugs!]:

The rituals, architecture, clothing, and beliefs of the characters all appear to draw from Japan’s traditional religions to some degree–namely Shinto and Buddhism. In the society of this story, purity is strongly emphasized, as is the need to cut off ties to all worldly desires and gain enlightenment. The mysterious power people can gain is a blessing from the gods, there is an acknowledgement that spirits play a significant role in this world, and terms such as karma and mantra are part of everyday vocabulary.

In other news…

Charles Dunbar discusses the history Japan’s youkai, and what makes these monsters unique. [Study of Anime]

Sometimes Catholic characters are thrown in to series with little forethought, but apparently that’s not the case for one of Misaki’s opponents in Angelic Layer. [Aliens in This World]

The Christian Anime Review site has a host of new reviews up, including those for the Bakuman manga and Bleach. [Christian Anime Reviews]

Finally, Fillyjonk discusses the relation between the My Little Pony characters as the Seven Deadly Sins (My Seven Little Deadly Sins!) and, more aptly, to the Fruits of the Spirit. [Fillyjonk's progress]

Thanks to Don for the links to the Angelic Layer and MLP articles!

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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.