Monthly Archives: June 2011

Aniblogger Testimony Wrap-up

After almost 4 months, the weekly posts in the Aniblogger Testimony project are over!  If you haven’t kept up, each week a guest blogger discussed his or her own personal faith, as well as anime and manga, though it varied widely how much of one or the other was discussed. And through it all, I learned a lot: Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Animephobia

Chelsea Machiela published an article in ViewsHound today called “Animephobia – The fear of Anime.”  It deals with the perception of anime by outsiders as something dark and unpleasant.

There are a couple of concepts that Chelsea introduces which I think are worth mentioning.  First, she discusses religion (or lack thereof) in anime.  She also seems to purpose her piece toward conservative parents, which I think is the best audience for such an article.

Please go give it a read!

ViewsHound | Animephobia – The fear of Anime.

Of Kami and Buddhas: The Motivation to Placate Menma’s Ghost

Of Kami and Buddhas is a series of semi-regular posts examining religion in Japan.

Ano Hana concluded last week in a teary episode, and though some disliked the finale, I found it fitting and emotionally realistic.  The group was now finally reaching its goal of sending Menma on.  They were able to bring peace to their good friend.

While I think most of us took the storyline for granted, as I finished the series I was again struck with a question that I had right from the beginning.  Why did Jinta and the rest assume that Menma had an unresolved issue?  The entire group assumes that much is true – there’s never an alternative given.

Ano Hana Menma

Wish(es?) Met (Art by 史)

The answer to that is one deeply ingrained in Japanese culture and in the society’s conception of ghosts.  After individuals die, they move from konoyo (“this world here”) to anoyo (“the world over yonder”).  The same is believed to be true in any of the Japanese religious traditions.  However, unfinished business can keep an individual in the konoyo area, where their problems must be resolved by culturally acceptable means for he or she to pass on.  This is the position Menma is in, and it is quite familiar to the Japanese. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Spiritual Progress of Faye Valentine

Animekritic has one of the most thoughtful blogs I’ve read.  He frequently addresses spirituality in anime, among them a really fun post about Faye Valentine, Rei Ayanami, and enlightenment.  In it, he makes the connection between the two famed characters through their shared voice actress, Megumi Hayashibara.  Then, based on monologues each give, explains where each is in progressing toward enlightenment in Zen Buddhism, based on a commentary on the topic.

Go check it out – it’s a fun read!

Spiritual Progress of Faye Valentine

Review: Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance

The subtitle for the second installment of Evangelion New Theatrical Edition is “Break”…Part 2 “Break” departs, with a few exceptions, from mere reproduction of past material to proceed toward a basically new creation…[marking] a complete updating of the impression Eva originally gave.

-Evangelion 2.22 booklet

As repetitive and dull as I found the rehashing known as Evangelion 1.0, the second movie in Hideaki Anno’s re-imagining of the groundbreaking Evangelion series was refreshing and exciting.  As the quote above, extracted from a fun 20-page booklet included in Funimation’s Blu-Ray release of the movie (entitled Evangelion 2.22) , explains, this sequel takes the story into a different direction.  And because of that, the film achieves something rare: it matches, and maybe even improves, on the original.

For those unfamiliar, Evangelion takes place in a near-future Japan that was devastated by the third impact, where a being known as an “angel” destroyed much of the planet.  Shinji Ikari and other teenagers are commissioned to pilot Evangelion units, which are angel-like mecha/living creatures, against the returning angels.  This film focuses on the arrival of Asuka Shikinami (formerly Soryu), the development of new Eva units and their use against the angels, and the mystery behind another pilot, the new character, Mari Illustrious Makinami. Read the rest of this entry

Aniblogger Testimony: Works righteousness

I intended to end this phase of the Aniblogger Testimonies project several weeks ago, but I’ve been blessed with recent contributions from writers that I admire.  One of these anibloggers is Tommy of Anime Bowl, whose piece is below.  His is the thirteenth post in the series, joining the others written by Lauren Orisini, R86, Nikko, Arianna, Ed Sizemore, Canne, an anonymous blogger, Annalyn, Zeroe4, Michael Huang, Kokoro Hane, and Charles Dunbar.  

One of the biggest enemies of the gospel message is the message of works righteousness – the idea that we have to save ourselves by our own good works. Sadly enough, despite putting my faith in Christ at a young age and believing Ephesians 2:8-9 (“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”), I found my faith slipping further and further as I was taught more and more works righteousness.

I went to an extremely legalistic Christian school, where maybe only 15% of the students who graduated from there are still walking with Christ, thanks mainly due to the Pharisee-esque pile of rules that was dumped upon us. Following a strict dress code – one where your clothes were measured to the last centimeter –was considered of prime importance. Bizarre teachings – such as one that told us that you could only be saved if you saved someone else by the age of 18 – caused many to become disillusioned with Christianity. Jesus spoke against such very things when He told the seven woes to the Pharisees – “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.” (Matthew 23:13) Read the rest of this entry

Christian Seiyuu: Michie Tomizawa

As I’ve emphasized in the past, Japan is by no means a Christian nation.  Estimates place the country’s Christian population at around 1-2%.  So it’s no surprise that the anime industry employs only a handful that openly claim to be Christian.

But there are a few.  The most famous might be Trigun creator Yasuhiro Nightow (who may no longer be of the faith).  Another is semi-retired seiyuu, Michie Tomizawa.  A relatively cursory search led to a writing Tomizawa gave about her faith, and I’m elated to share this with you.

Michie Tomizawa does little voice acting these days, but she was once very active.  Among her most noted roles are Sailor Mars from Sailor Moon and Linna from Bubblegum Crisis.  She retired before marrying in 2002, but still occassionally lends her voice.

Michie Tomizawa

She also seems to be an outspoken Christian.  An unknown individual did some research, discovering a testimonial Tomizawa wrote in her church’s newsletter.  He or she also found and translated an essay Tomizawa wrote under her married name, Michie Itou. Read the rest of this entry

My Dysfunctional Anime Dad

Today is the fourth time I get to celebrate father’s day as a dad.  My oldest now understands that it’s kind of a “party” day, as he calls it, for daddy.  It’s really nice to see my son get happy for me when I open a present, instead of wanting to open it himself.

I got to thinking about fathers in anime – there just aren’t too many good ones (or at least good ones that get a strong measure of screen time).  Like mothers, many are simply absent.  Others are really bad (*cough Gendo Ikari *cough).

But there are a few good ones.  I recently mentioned Jintan’s dad from Ano Hana.  And Nagisa’s father Akio, from Clannad, is awesome in a variety of ways.

The one father I remember most, though, isn’t exactly the best dad in the world.  When I participated in the Diary of an Anime Lived series, I focused my post on Tomoya’s dad from Clannad, and particularly his back story as presented in After Story.

Tomoya, Nagisa, Ushio, and Naoyuki

Art by けら

Tomoya and his father, Naoyuki, have a dysfunction relationship (and one that includes physical abuse and abuse of alcohol).  And while the show is very dramatic, I feel that their relationship is representative of one that many have with their owns dads.  There are bitter feelings and anger for many in regards to their fathers. Read the rest of this entry

Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Tales From Earthsea, Forbidden Fruit, and Redemption

Long before I launched this blog last year, one site, in particular, was making connections between anime and Christianity.  In the “Spiritual Bridges,” Scot Eaton of Worship and the Arts, a “missional blog focused on Christ-centered worship, the arts, & Japan,” draws such parallels.  His site has a ton of great posts (I’ll link to more in the future).

One of the my favorites, though, wasn’t written by Scot, but by a guest blogger, Robin White.  His article is about Goro Miyazaki’s Tales From Earthsea.  Having recently watch the movie (and really enjoying it – at least until the final act), I was eager to see what “bridges” the author would make.  White points out a number of parallels between events in the film and those in the Bible, including comparisons with Adam and Eve and discussion about eternal life.

Please give it a read!

Spiritual Bridges in Anime – Tales From Earthsea

Door to Door in the N.H.K.

Knock, Knock.

I awaken from a stupor, wondering who could it be.  I didn’t invite anyone over, so it’s probably…

A. A pizza order I forgot about.
B. A drop-in by a friend or family member
C. A salesperson, or…

The worst possible choice -

D. A door-to-door evangelical or Jehovah’s Witness

Most of us in the west have been on the receiving end of a visit by someone doing evangelism door-to-door.  And for most, these visits are an unwelcome intrusion in our lives.  At worst, we see the drop-ins as a highly irritating invasion of privacy, space, and time.  As I watched the first episode of Welcome to the N.H.K., I was struck by familiarity of the door-to-door work that Misaki Nakahara and her elder were doing.

Welcome to the N.H.K.

Art by 白雪マロン (Pixiv)

Read the rest of this entry