Blog Archives

An Anime Easter

Easter is the most holy day for Christians – one that’s more meaningful than even Christmas, even if it’s eclipsed by that holiday.  As such, it’s a good opportunity for Christians to reflect on Christ and even for non-Christians to explore the holidays.

Don’t know exactly what it’s all about?  Why not take a look at the short below, done in anime-style by a studio in Japan, and demonstrating the meaning of Easter through a unique lens:

Happy Easter!

Something More: Christ la Christ and Anime for Cancer Research

The Medieval Otaku looks to Kill la Kill‘s Ryuko Matoi to discuss the idea of a Christian falling into temptation before responding in faith. [Medieval Otaku]

Although not directly related to religion, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that John is doing something wonderful with review copies for anime.  He is auctioning them off for cancer research on a monthly basis.  If you’re an Australian resident, go to his site to bid on the DVD copies.  This month, he’s auctioning off Arakawa Under the Bridge, Bakemonogatari and Kokoro Connect. [Pirates of the Burley Griffin]

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. 

 

Buddhist Detachment in Shikabane Hime vs. Christian Charity

Today’s article is a guest post by a friend to both me and the blog, Medieval Otaku.

Those of you who read my blog may be familiar with my article Un Programme d’Articles pour Novembre.  (Why French?  Because most things sound better in French, obviously.)  Therein, I promised to write an article on Corpse Princess and my history with horror films and anime, but a more interesting topic came to mind.  I became curious with the way the show presented Buddhist ideas of detachment, which ultimately led to me contemplating on how detachment differs with Christian charity.

Anime Buddha Corpse Princess

Those familiar with this delightfully action packed and soap opera-ish anime called Corpse Princess, a. k. a. Shikabane Hime, know that the heroes are affiliated with a Buddhist sect.  This sect uses certain undead young women, known as Shikabane Hime, to eliminate undead monsters.  They boast that their monks have reached enlightenment, and therefore have no attachments to this life.  This makes it impossible for them to become undead themselves, since the undead enter that state because of intense regret and attachment.  The hero, Ouri, resists Buddhist principles of detachment, particularly in regard to Makina, his role model’s Shikabane Hime.  He does this despite both Makina and others telling him to treat Shikabane Hime as tools and aberrations—not as people.

Corpse Princess

Corpse Princess

How different is the Kougen sect’s attitude from Christianity, whose essence is charity!  Charity, at its heart, desires to unite all things and make them whole.  The more charity enters one’s heart, the more one wishes that broken relationships heal and the more one’s own happiness depends on others being happy.  We have the example of Christ: “’I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed!’” (Luke 12:49-50)  This baptism is His Passion and Death, by which He would free the world from sin and death.  Because He saw that the whole of humanity would be consigned to hell without this baptism, He felt agony in this baptism’s delay—Jesus did not wish to be happy without humanity being happy.  Read the rest of this entry

Magical Girls and Good Friday

It’s Good Friday – the day we memorialize the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

For anime fans, and particularly those not of the Christian faith, it’s particularly of note that on Good Friday two years ago, the finale of Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as much a “classic” as any recent anime, aired.

The two are of course not unconnected.  Spoilers follow.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Art by あぶだら13

Read the rest of this entry

The Invisible God in Sword Art Online

Easter, the most holy of Christian celebrations, is only a few days away.  And so, in light of that, I thought it would be very appropriate to talk Sword Art Online.

That’s right – Sword Art Online.

Sword Art Online

Artist: うさこ@ついった (Pixiv)

Kirito, SAO‘s lead character, plays the role of a savior, and as such, it’s not much of a stretch to compare him to Jesus Christ. Comparing an anime lead to Jesus is nothing knew (think Goku of Dragonball Z), but still, Kirito stands out among a crowded field of shonen saviors for a number of reasons (SPOILERS AHEAD):

Kirito Performs Miracles (Including the Greatest One)

As the first season ends, Kirito fights the “villain” Akihiko Kayaba, the creator of the Sword Art Online game. As he is about to die, Kirito re-materializes and instead becomes victorious. He miraculously breaks the programmed rules of the game. A “miracle” is the breaking of rules of nature, and Kirito does the same within the rules of SAO.

The larger miracle comes afterward, though, when Kirito rises from the dead. This is nothing new to anime, but it’s particularly emphasized here. Kirito and Kayaba both die, and they find themselves in what appears to be SAO Heaven. This is a really interesting parallel with Kirito now in “Heaven,” because the title of the previous episode, where Kirito encounters the enemy, is “The Depths of Hell.” He’s gone from hell to Heaven, reflecting the belief by some that Jesus descended into hell following His death. And further, and more significantly, Kirito wakes up from SAO in real life, although he shouldn’t have according to the rules of the game. He has risen from the dead.

Read the rest of this entry

Top Blog Posts About Anime and Religion in 2012: #11-20

Last year, I gave my 12 favorite posts about anime and religion to end the year.  And though I had to leave out a number of great article to fit within that number, I was generally happy with the list.  This year, I just had to expand my list to twenty to match the volume of great content being written by anibloggers.

anime girl praying

Art by けむけむ

Yesterday, I gave numbers 1-10; here are the remaining ten, in chronological order:

11. Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: Christianity in Anime
5.6.2012
written by Lady Saika of Lady Geek Girl and Friends

A particularly strange case is that of Saiyuki – the story is based on a a founding myth of Mahayana Buddhism, for cripe’s sake, and the main character is a Buddhist priest, but in the anime at least, we see statues of the Virgin Mary protecting a town from demons in a way that nothing Buddhist can.

Read the entire post

Read also: Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: Let’s Make a Deal and Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus: An Examination of Clergy in Anime

Read the rest of this entry

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

Merry Christmas!

Star-of-Bethlehem

 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

- Luke 2: 4-20

Merry Christmas, everyone!  And Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Something More: Pornoviolence in Sword Art Online, Mythology of Tsuritama, and the Kingdom of iDOLM@STER

Nick describes the conflicting issues of pornoviolence in our beloved games and anime, and points to a specific example in this past week’s episode of Sword Art Online. [A Rather Silly Blog]

Click writes about his adoration of mythology and how Tsuritama is a modern take on the Japanese myth of Ryūjin, the water dragon. [Pretense with Glasses]

Omo compares iDOLM@STER and his growing interest in the franchise to Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. [omonomono]

Shinmaru dives into The Laws of Eternity, a Happy Science anime, for a 12 Days of Christmas post. [The Cart Driver]

__

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. 

 

Something More: Kiba-Cheza-Mary-Jesus, Writing Papal Manga, and Spirituality in Sora no Woto

Medieval Otaku refers to Wolf’s Rain as “essentially a Christian allegory,” focusing particularly on the symbolism of Kiba and Cheza as Jesus and Mary. [Medieval Otaku]

Foxy Lady Ayame digs deep into Sora no Woto, discussing ideas like the spiritual and healing aspects of a festival depicted in the series. [Anime Diet]

Regina Doman blogs about the process of writing Habemus Papam, Manga Hero’s OEL manga concerning the life of Pope Benedict XVI. [Manga Hero]

Zeroe4 discusses the “necessity of hope” on his personal blog, referring to his time in Japan. [Zeroe4]

__

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.