Update, 3/13/2011: welcome, new visitors. I felt these reflections were worth reposting in the wake of current events in Japan. I am aware that this is based on a half-watching of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and does not account for its ending, and I am preparing a sequel/follow up in the coming days with additional thoughts.
There’s an editorial in the New York Times, and another story in the LA Times about the resilience and civility of the Japanese people in the face of crisis. The spirit shown in the show is very real. (You may also find the original Time Magazine article about disaster behavior, referenced in the column, helpful to read too.)
While you listen, no matter what you believe, please consider donating to the ongoing relief efforts. Click here for a list, or see the links above for opportunities.
Yes, the first “Art and Soul” episode since June 6, 2008. This one is about what Tokyo Magnitude 8.0, and disasters in general, might tell us about human nature and behavior in such circumstances.
For those who don’t remember or know about this audio column, this is where I put on my seminary student, Christian theology and ethics and philosophy hat. You won’t offend me if you run away screaming after hearing that. :) In turn I promise not to be that preachy. I just felt after a while, it was time to do one again, and for a worthy show at that. And to counter any misunderstandings that might have happened this week, ahem.
Transcript after the cutaway.
Continue reading Art and Soul 6 – Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 and Human Nature
Here’s the fifth episode of Art and Soul, my anime and religion/ethics audio column! This one covers a phenomenon that I’ve seen in so many anime–the phrase “I will never forgive you!” How does that square with Christian ethics, which demands forgiveness even when it’s very hard, even of enemies? Is that really an evil phrase? Tune in to find out. (A transcript follows after the cutaway.)
- –OP: “Gunbuster Theme” by Kouhei Tanaka
- –ED: “Never” by Seira (OP for Kaiba; I’ve included the whole song because the words are unusually appropriate for this column.)
- –Bible reading from the New International Version.
Continue reading Art and Soul 5–“I Will Never Forgive You!”
The anime, religion, and ethics audio column returns after a long hiatus! This time, I’ll be tackling the burning question: why is the Hellsing Organization so insistently Anglican? Does it have anything to do with the real Church of England? Or is it all part of an elaborate Japanese fantasy?
This is not a very serious article. Please don’t put me on a heresy trial!
Full transcript follows after the cutaway.
Continue reading Art and Soul 4: Anglican Vampires, Oh My!
Yes, I know…School Days is long over and we should let Nice Boats be Nice Boats. But I conceived of this column’s content not long after I’d seen the final episode, as an expansion of my original review, and had been patiently waiting my turn to do the audio column about it….and otherwise out of ideas, here it is anyway!
In many ways it’s less a reflection on the show in particular than on the use of emotion in fiction and where (Christian) morality enters into it. Or, to put it another way, I felt both giddy and guilty that I had enjoyed anticipating Makoto being sliced up, and felt horrified when the final moments of the ending happened…so much that I had to reconsider everything I had felt about the show up to that point and what the show was doing. Yes, I know it’s fiction, and not particularly realistic fiction at that. I still thought there was something profoundly unsettling about it though, a feeling worth exploring in more detail before at last laying it to rest.
A transcript of the article follows below the cutaway.
Continue reading Art and Soul 3–The Ethics of STABBITY STABBITY STAB
Contains spoilers for Evangelion (what, you haven’t seen it?!) and Serial Experiments Lain.
Well, I suppose my hiatus ends a few hours early today. Here I am. I’m back!
Right now, I’m basically pinch hitting for both Jeremy and Ray, who couldn’t do an audio column today…this is the fastest thing I could concoct in a few hours. It just happens to dovetail nicely with the fanfic I posted today, too! Basically, I talk about the Gnostic desires in Evangelion, and also in Serial Experiments Lain. Seems to fit the fact that the Eva remake movie comes out tomorrow…or actually, it’s already out in Japan time, if I’m not mistaken.
This one is a lot less dire and Bible-heavy compared to my first one, so all of you bracing for a sermon, you can stop hiding in the corner now. :)
- –OP: “Cruel Angel’s Thesis” by Yoko Takahashi (OP to Neon Genesis Evangelion…duh!)
- –ED: “Fly Me to the Moon, 2007 Mix” by Utada Hikaru (ED for the Evangelion Remake)
- –BGM: “Beautiful World,” by Utada Hikaru (theme song for Eva remake)
- –BGM: “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now,” by The Smiths
- –BGM: “The Heady Feeling of Freedom,” by Shiro Sagisu (from Neon Genesis Evangelion ep. 26)
- –Offerings sacrificed at Hideaki Anno shrine: zero.
Transcript below the cutaway.
Continue reading Anime Diet Audio Column – Art and Soul 02: Evangelion and the Gnostic Impulse
Warning: contains major spoilers for Bokurano.
You heard Ray’s column: now it’s my turn! My column is called “Art and Soul,” which will be a biweekly audio column about anime, religion/Christianity, and ethics. It’s an attempt to integrate anime with what I spent the other 75% of my day doing–reading, studying, and praying theology. (I am a seminary student with plans to enter ministry. This particular episode is, in fact, pretty much a mini-sermon; it’s certainly the closest marriage of my love of God and love of anime yet.) It’s also an excuse to indulge in my other love, public-radio style production values. You’ll hear something much more like This American Life than what we normally do in the podcast in this episode.
This episode is about the significance of one’s last moments in Bokurano, and how it relates to how the Man that I follow also died. As such, it contains spoilers for Bokurano up to episode 7, so be warned. It’s much more serious in tone, so if you’re looking for humor, sorry, this is not the episode for it. :) It is also unabashedly, blatantly, in-your-face Christian. For that, I make no apology.
This was a cool experiment, at any rate. See you all next time!
- –OP: “Uninstall,” by Chiaki Ishikawa (OP to Bokurano)
- –ED: “The Heady Feeling of Freedom,” by Shiro Sagisu (from Neon Genesis Evangelion)
- –BG: “Remedium” and “Take a Little Hand,” by Yoko Kanno (from Ghost in the Shell: Solid State Society OST)
Read the transcript of this episode after the cutaway, including Scripture references (when I preach, I never say the chapter and verse numbers).
Continue reading Anime Diet Audio Column – Art and Soul 1: Bokurano and the Art of Dying Well