A prime goal of this blog is to encourage open discussion about faith, using anime as medium through we can ask questions, give answers, and promote knowledge and understanding. I’m thankful that our posts here recently had some role in encouraging Tommy of Anime Bowl to write an article about how Madoka is lacking as a Christ figure. And inspired by Tommy’s post, our old friend Alexander, who has contributed plenty to Beneath the Tangles by bring a very different viewpoint to user comments, guest posts, and cooperative posts, is beginning a week long series focusing solely on this idea: why Madoka is a better savior than Jesus.
Interesting topic, huh?
He’ll be posting daily this week. Please visit Ashita no Anime to read the first of his posts, and return throughout the week to comment on others:
Lady Saika discusses Haiyore! Nyarko-san in her examination of the elder God, Cthulu. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]
Tsunderin and MadameAce point out the Jesus allusion in a very critical review of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. [Lady Geek Girl and Friends]
Guardian Enzo mentions a number of religious connects in episode four of Red Data Girl. [Lost in America]
The Medieval Otaku, frequently featured in this column, celebrated both his 100th post and one year blogging anniversarythis past week. Congratulations! [Medieval Otaku]
There were a number of reviews posted this week that contained ratings and other information directed at Christian viewers:
- Samurai Champloo [Lobster Quadrille]
- Gaiking-Legend of the Daikyu-Maru [Cacao, put down the shovel!]
- Demonbane [Cacao, put down the shovel!]
Also, a little something more to something more – I missed a couple of articles (and maybe a lot more) the last few weeks as I’ve started to learn the ins and outs of Feedly versus Google Reader. Here are a couple good ones I missed out on:
Our own Zeroe4 comments on his personal experience, specifically discussing how his own relationship with the Holy Spirit relates to his viewing of AnoHana and Jintan’s experiences. [Zeroe4]
Kokoro Hane tells how God motivated her through Bakuman to work on storyboards. [Kokoro no Uta]
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.
Why are Christians compelled to worship God? Why do we believe in the face of scrutiny and increasing skepticism and ridicule?
The answer is in this day. It’s in Easter and in our belief and our hope that despite who we are and what we’ve done, there is forgiveness. There is hope, demonstrated through a sacrifice so deep, so costly, so pure, and so valuable, that we are moved heart and soul by a love that’s greater than anything else we’ll ever experience.
I hope that all you readers out there will find a church to attend today, even if you don’t usually attend. And if you are not Christian, I encourage you to step through the doors of a church and open yourself to the possibilities of Christ’s death and resurrection. Trust me, it won’t hurt you to go to a church service.
And if you need it, here’s further motivation, in the form of an anime:
Have a wonderful Easter, everyone!
I should never have given birth to you.
As quoted by Highway of Sushi Go Kart, this horribly hurtful phrase spoken to Haruka by her mom in episode one of Kotouro-san begins a spiral downward for the previously kind and bubbly girl. There are few things more hurtful than condemning words from a parent, and particularly an exclamation as full of venom as this.
Our words are painful, and as Manabe infers, those who say such things or act in such ways were probably rotten to begin with. Jesus states something similar:
But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’
- Matthew 15:18 (NIV)
I’d like you, the readers, to use the comment area below as you’d like – as a confession, a discussion, a release, or in any other way. If willing, tell us a painful utterance you’ve muttered, or one directed toward you that’s been painful – whether from a parent or anyone else. Feel free to comment anonymously if it’s more comfortable.
And thank you for sharing!
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Revisiting Madoka on Easter, a Big O Savior, and the Case of Moses and Death Flags
Myssa celebrated Easter, in part, by rewatching the finale of Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Her analysis of the finale includes discussion of Christian symbolism in the series, symbolism that doesn’t quite fit into the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and even some Gnostic symbolism. [Midnight Equinox]
A Day Without Me writes a wonderful piece about the religious symbolism and language in episode 3 of Big O II (and also in some earlier episodes) as she reexamines the series. [GAR GAR Stegosaurus]
Draggle’s thoughts on episode 14 of Fate/Zero include his comparison of a certain character’s demise to a deathbed conversion (that isn’t a conversion at all). [Draggle's Anime Blog]
In another post, Draggle discusses the idea of love while analyzing episode 25 of Mirai Nikki, and uses the words of Christ to support his belief that there’s no such thing as “soulmates.” [Draggle's Anime Blog]
Koji writes a surprisingly nice entry about his past, including a bit about how Evangelion affected his view of religion. [MASCHERA]
Omo writes that way before anime, Moses knew all about death flags. Yes, that Moses. [Skull Candies]
Kathryn Darden of the Nashville version of examiner.com posts an article about Iota Soul, an OEL manga about orphans and created by a Christian. It was featured at a booth at the MTAC anime convention. [examiner.com]
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.
Recently, a commenter named Corey (aka Ashesreignited) joined the community here on Beneath the Tangles. Besides the various insights in his comments, he sent me an email and we soon began to discuss Naruto, a show ripe with themes and symbols that Christians would recognize. But besides R86’s wonderful commentary on Shikamaru, we’ve barely touched the show. Luckily, Corey volunteered to write a guest post on the series. It’s a long one, but if you like the series as I do, you’ll enjoy as Corey takes us down memory lane while addressing the themes of forgiveness and faithfulness.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
- I Corinthian 13:7 (NLT)
As the series opens, the villagers of Konoha are prejudiced against Naruto because he carries the Nine-Tail Fox within himself. Naruto isn’t told about the fox and becomes a kind of pariah. There is a sense of loneliness, a sense of being “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3 prophecy about Jesus, the Suffering Servant).
Sasuke suffers from loneliness too. His family and clan die at the hands of his older brother Itachi, leaving him an orphan. In a way, Team Seven becomes a kind of surrogate family for both Naruto and Sasuke, who fight each other like two brothers. While going through their training, they begin to respect each other. Though the surface tension is a competitive spirit, deep down they share one thing in common, their painful loneliness, which is the very basis for their friendship. Whereas Naruto’s loneliness leads him to relate better to others, Sasuke’s loneliness and his painful loss gives birth to revenge. His revenge, for a time, is restrained by his ninja training and his friendship with the other members of Team 7. However, an encounter with Itachi reignites his revenge.
After healing from a quick defeat at Itachi’s hands, Sasuke turns to the snake-man Orochimaru (who has so many parallels to Satan) for power to accomplish his revenge. Naruto tries to stop Sasuke from going to Orochimaru and thus a fight ensues.
I find so many parallels here in how we deal with those who have rejected us and have become our enemies, whether family or friends and the sense of betrayal. Read the rest of this entry
From everyone at Beneath the Tangles, we wish you a Merry Christmas! However you celebrate the holiday – in a big event filled with presents at a feast or a smaller affair perhaps without friends and family, I hope you’ll find peace on this day. I hope you’ll reflect on why we celebrate Christmas and why Jesus came – to live and die and rise again so that we could have a chance.
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord…’
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
- Isaiah 53:5
In my original review of “My Last Day,” I called the 9-minute film, created by the makers of the JESUS film together with STUDIO4°C, a “powerful piece of entertainment.” Eight months later, I’m revisiting the piece to see if I was blinded by Jesus goggles upon my original viewing, particularly in light of a scathing review by one of my favorite bloggers, Sweetpea.
The following post won’t address Sweetpea’s points, per se, but will instead focus on what I saw differenlyt this time around. Namely, what I found most important about evaluating the film is something I thought little about the first time around: context. When I watch anime, I generally think little about context (mistake!), unless the piece is based on historical events. But the context here is all-important. The film is an evangelistic tool – it is joined to a gospel message that will be presented along with the movie. As such, one has to see what the filmmakers were attempting to convey alongside with how “My Last Day” would be used. Read the rest of this entry
A common criticism of the Bible is that it is dull and unable to capture the attention of modern audiences. But what if a writer and artist created a compelling parable of a Bible story, imitating the manner in which Jesus also told parables?
‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
Matthew 25:11b-12 (NIV)
In a kingdom of medieval/fantasy feel, but featuring anachronisms like WWII era planes and machine guns, a prince goes to retrieve his exiled love to bring her to their wedding. But despite an escort of well-trained female fighter pilots, his quest won’t be easy – both at home and abroad, he faces challenges by those who would rebel against the kingdom, including a mysterious man who could bring down an entire kingdom.
The story above isn’t particularly new, but its arrangement in Many Are Called, Manga Hero’s latest OEL manga release, is unique. Read the rest of this entry