Blog Archives

Eureka Seven Ao and Generation Celebrity

I recently tweeted this:

The problem with Eureka Seven Ao is that there are too many fun characters. Oh, wait…that’s not a problem.

Obviously, I’m really digging the show.

Besides the wonderful action pieces and terrific animation, it’s the characters that have me absorbed.  And in particular, many of these interesting players are part of Generation Bleu.

Just as with Gekkostate in its predecessor, the pilots and leaders of Generation Bleu are rock stars in this alternate world.  They are do-gooders (as far as we know at this point) who also manage to be celebrities.

Generation Bleu

I update my blog all the time, too! Now, if I could only procure an IFO… (Art by えねりっく)

Isn’t it strange that in both Eureka Seven series, people fighting to do good (even in a rebellious manner) are society’s heroes?  I guess maybe it’s not so weird in the context of history, throughout much of which the scientists, religious leaders, philosophers, politicians, and other “good people” (if at least in that guise) were worshiped, sometimes literally, by the people.

Sometime in the 20th century, things shifted.  Suddenly, those who gave us entertainment became the objects of our admiration. Read the rest of this entry

Ano Natsu de Matteru and Strangers from a Distant Shore

With the exception of Nisemonogatari (which after episode 8 has now maybe hit that point of crossing the line for me), there was no series I was looking forward to more this season than Ano Natsu de Matteru (Waiting in the Summer).  But I was let down by the first episode and dropped the show.  After recently reading two wonderful posts (“That Summer, I Waited” and “The Childhood Friendzone“) by the incomparable Mike Huang, I decided to give it another shot.  The verdict is still out, but at the very least, the show has given me pause for thought.

The main female character in the show is Ichika Takatsuki, a life form from another planet.  She immediately starts school and finds her niche, but her life outside of school is abnormal.  She camps out in a temporary shelter and gladly accepts the hospitality Kaito and his sister.  More akin to Tenchi Muyo’s Ryoko and Ayeka than, say, a humanoid interface like Yuki Nagato, Ichika is an alien that has no permanent home on earth.

She’s a stranger from a distant shore.*

Ano Natsu de Matteru

Just passing through. (Art by r*nine)

Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: All Roads Lead to Otakon

Charles Dunbar, the Anime Anthropologist, posted a section of his masters thesis on his website, Study of Anime.  Entitled “All Roads Lead to Otakon – Pilgrimage and Anthropology of the Anime Convention,” the essay discusses the connections between anime cons and religious pilgrimages.

To make his case, one idea that Dunbar stresses is that a “religious experience” need not be, well, religious – at least in the typical use of the word.  As Jolyon Thomas mentioned in an interview here, spirituality and religion are not the same – one can be spiritual without having a specific faith, viewing anime can be a spiritual experience although he series is a-religious, and a con that includes merchants whose signs might be insulting to Christians can be considered a spiritual pilgrimage.

Other similarities between the two types of events include travel, liminality, reverence for certain figures, and divisiveness among “followers.”  The roles Dunbar assigns various groups (ex. panelists are “priests”) is also fascinating.

Please have a read:

Study of Anime: all roads lead to otakon- pilgrimage and anthropology of the anime convention.

Aniblogger Testimony: Orthodoxy, Anime, & Me

This is the fifth in a series of Aniblogger Testimony posts, where select writers will discuss their personal faith.  Today’s post is by Ed of Manga Out Loud.  The previous posts in this series were written by Lauren Orisini, R86, Nikko, and Arianna.

Hi, my name is Ed Sizemore and I’m member of the Orthodox Church of America.  I’m also a manga reviewer for MangaWorthReading.com and co-host of the podcast MangaOutLoud.com. I’ve been a Christian for 25 years, an anime fan for about 12 years, and a reviewer for 3 years.

(Note: For the sake of brevity, when I say anime in this piece, I mean both anime and manga. It’s just awkward to keep repeating that phrase.)

First, a confession. I’m not a great representative of Christianity. Lord knows, my sins and my struggles are many. This is not to avoid responsibility for the bad choices I’ve made, but to own up to the fact that I read and watch things I shouldn’t have. I can’t claim that my particular approach to anime fandom is a model for other Christians. I offer it is both a suggestion to the sons and daughters of Easter. (I stole that phrase from Karen Bradley.) Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: From Manga to Eastern Orthodoxy

As Kermit the Frog so famously put it, “It’s not easy being green.”  Likewise, it’s not easy being a Christian who likes anime.  I’m not saying at all that Christian anime fans endure any type of suffering – that’s both shallow and ignorant.  However, many Christians struggle with joining their love of the medium with a belief that often runs counter to the ideas expressed in it.

At the same time, anime in manga can express spiritual truths, whether or not those were the intentions.  This blog provides ample support for that.  Spiritual ideals can be found in just about anything.  I have a friend (currently attending seminary) who claims to have found God through Metallica; he is especially proud of this point.

Likewise, I ran across a most interesting post, dated 2009, written by Ed Sizemore of Manga Out Loud, who moved from the Evangelical tradition to the Eastern Orthodox one.  His assertion is that anime and manga helped change his thinking.  Take a look at his entry, which not only bridges anime with spirituality, but makes some very interesting, yet sensitive, critiques about modern Evangelical practice and culture.

An Eddy of Thought: How Anime & Manga Helped Me Become Eastern Orthodox.

More Like a Tin Roof Sundae

Are Christianity and anime two forms that are so different, they can’t be successfully combined?  Should one even try?  In a post that largely focuses on the anime and religion survey conducted here a while back, The Angry Otaku writes that it’s like putting soy sauce on ice cream – the two just don’t taste right together. 

By かもしかやしゃもじ (Pixiv) - Ice cream AND a Christian anime character - see what I did here?

The Angry Otaku’s post is really thoughtful and intelligent.  But even with his excellent post, I think there’s more to be said on the subject.  Well, of course I do – my whole blog is about the convergence of anime and Christian spirituality! Read the rest of this entry

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

Where (Again and Again) Alexandra Wallace Got it Wrong

Another off-topic post (perhaps I’m doing too many personal ones these days), but I felt the need to write.  And so, here’s how Alexandra Wallace got it wrong, point by point (without nitpicking grammar). Read the rest of this entry

Belldandy, Nagisa, and What it Means to Be Pure

Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess: The Movie, 2000

Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess: The Movie, 2000 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was dusting out blog drafts, and found this completed entry among them.  I don’t know if I would’ve written it today…but nonetheless, here it is!

Several years ago, while I was still in college and unmarried, a group of close guy friends and I had a conversation about “animated women.”  My friend blogged about our tastes, and so I so reminiscently looked through his old entries and found our selections.  One for Belle (Beauty and the Beast), one for Jasmine (Aladdin), one for Ariel (The Little Mermaid)and one for Belldandy (Oh! My Goddess!).

Belldandy.  She of the great divide – loved by many and hated by others.  One of the most popular anime/manga characters of all time, Belldandy exudes grace, innocence and quiet strength to some, and backwards subservience to others.  I would gather all of her positive attributes into one word: purity.  What sets Belldandy apart for many and what is attractive about her (her much-discussed sexuality aside) is purity. Read the rest of this entry

Of Kami and Buddhas: Tokyo’s Anime Temple!

CNNGo reported today about the Ryohoji Temple in Hachioji, which has become an anime temple.  That’s right: anime temple, complete with a theme song, anime character, monks praying to the anime character, and…a maid cafe.

What?!

The 16th century temple began its transformation when the chief monk tried to get young people to come to it.

Since then though, the temple has become known as “Moe-dera” (“newly budding temple”), a reference to  “moe”  — a feeling of attraction to a blossoming young girl, usually a manga character — while “dera” means “temple.

Moe Buddhism…WHAT?!

I’ve gotta say…I think I’m only surprised because of my personal connections with my faith, which I take seriously (sometimes too seriously).  In Japan, religion is a “practical religion,” with plenty of room for syncretism and, in this case, the inclusion of pop culture.  In other words, this is soooo Japan.

Go to CNNGo for the article in its entirity.  Also, check out the temple’s website, which has the to be the most commercial website EVER for a religious institution.

Edit: I’m apparently years behind on discovering this.  Please forgive me. :P