A little over a week ago, I had the pleasant surprise of receiving the Dragon’s Loyalty Award from Josh W of Res Studiorum et Ludorum. Apparently, this award may be given to loyal followers of one’s blog whether they have a blog or not. The rules are as follows:
1 Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2 Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3 You must share 7 things other bloggers may not know about you.
4 Nominate up to 15 bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5 Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.
A short ramble on how Captain Harlock seems to demonstrate the best attitude for a Christian soldier.
Originally posted on :
Episode eight of Captain Harlock features a rare act of mercy: a captured Mazone is permitted to depart peacefully from the Arcadia. However, Harlock’s decision does not please Daiba, whose father was murdered by a Mazone. Part of his reason for joining the crew of the Arcadia was to get revenge on these aliens. Daiba demands to slay the fleeing Mazone, and Captain Harlock bids him to do as he pleases. The upshot of this event is that the Mazone is killed and Daiba, due to the damage received to his craft in the fight, suffers temporary insanity from oxygen deprivation. Daiba’s desire for revenge almost led to his own death.
The obvious message behind this event lies in how lust for revenge can destroy oneself. A Christian would hardly disagree. Yet, I wonder what opinion our dear readers have of Captain Harlock’s general ruthlessness toward the Mazone. After discovering…
I have never played this game, but I love how Josh W shows how Final Fantasy IX asks several philosophical questions. Also, he describes it as the most Chestertonian RPG, which I find fascinating. The title of this series should instantly remind you of Chesterton’s most cryptic novel.
(Note: I am going to spoil a fifteen year old game)
Final Fantasy IX is the most Chestertonian RPG game. That, I think, puts its finger on why I find this game to be so compelling as an adult. I feel that, having lived to see them, the corpulent man of letters would have dismissed electronic RPGs in favor of their pen and paper origins; but short of uncovering the manuscript of a high fantasy novel penned by the man, this is about as close as we’ll get to a G. K. Chesterton RPG.
My dear readers, unfortunate gravity and perfectionism have seized and bound my pen of late. The desire to write well has stymied me from writing at all. As the Italian proverb has it, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” The only solution, since I cannot convince myself that I write well, lies in writing badly. After all, Theodore Roosevelt advises that the best thing to do in any situation is the right thing, the next best is the wrong thing, and the worst is to do nothing at all. This advice may actually be false in regard to politics, but in the realm of writing it bears certain truth. And so, I have proposed to myself to write one post per diem–not necessarily on this blog–for a fortnight.
The title of this post, “De Hilaritate,” is the closest I could translate “On Levity” into Latin. If I had written “De Levitate” instead, the present article would be praising fickleness or changeableness, which deserve no praise at all. When I speak of levity, I speak of that virtue related to cheerfulness and humility, which all the saints have and often reveal in the most dour of times–as when the martyr St. Lawrence, as he roasted alive over a grill, said: “I’m well done on this side. Turn me over and eat!” At the same time, the excess of gravity, rooted in pride and despair, is shared by all the citizens of hell. This might strike many of you with surprise as many religious types, myself included, have a tendency to face life with a serious countenance, as seems reasonable considering an eternity of heaven or hell awaits us depending on how we have lived. However, the devout always carry joy in them–the joy of being united to Christ, and extra seriousness at the beginning of conversion must give way to levity as our faith in God’s goodness and salvific will increase.
The twenty-third volume of Rurouni Kenshin forms part of the Jinchuu Arc and distinguishes itself for its two duels: Saito vs. Yatsume (Literally, “eight eyes,” but typing it out in English makes it look like “the damn guy.” xD) and Kenshin vs. Enishi. Yatsume is one of the assassins who originally tried to kill Kenshin in the trap set for him by the Tokugawa gov’t during the last days of the Shogunate, but Yatsume fled after Kenshin thrust a wakizashi through his hand. He felt disappointed not to fight Kenshin first, but you can be certain that Saito was more than a match for him–a very exciting duel indeed. We learn about the origins of both Yatsume and Enishi’s prowess; though, I could not help but feel underwhelmed with the “pirate martial arts” of which Enishi boasts. After all, English pirates beat Wakou in one famous encounter. Perhaps, George Silver’s English martial arts is superior to both Watou-jutsu and Hitenmitsurugi-ryu? Anyway, you can tell that I’m annoyed with this made up martial art. Let me continue with the article.
Saito, the most awesome character in manga, levels insults almost as well as Alucard.
A little post I wrote about the 8th Beatitude and Captain Harlock.
Originally posted on :
In thinking about a Christian theme to pick out from Space Pirate Captain Harlock, the image of Mayu standing determined before the crucifix in her school’s chapel continuously comes to mind. Mayu is the orphaned daughter of Captain Harlock’s friend, whose final wish was for her to be raised on Earth. Because of his promise. Captain Harlock refuses to let Mayu join him in his ship, the Arcadia, despite the many hardships she is forced to undergo. In episode two, the villains demand that she write to Captain Harlock in order to draw him to Earth where he might be captured. Mayu refuses and is forced to repeatedly clean the chapel from dawn through night of the same day in order to break her will.
A combination of factors leads me to write this Quick Takes article: 1) it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here; 2) I’m rather ill; and 3) because I am rather ill, my ability to focus has gone down the tubes. Some of these points deserve their own article. At any rate, let me begin.
Arslan Senki reminded me of the curious fact that non-believers often try to paint God like Allah. What brings up the comparison? The high priest of the Lusitanian religion decides to torture the captured Lord Shapur to death and remarks how unbelievers deserve this. Then, Lord Shapur gamely defies the high priest by saying that he hopes to see him burning in hell with his evil god. I am forcibly reminded of a scene from Muhammad’s life, where he kills all the pagan Arabs he captures after a battle–the last pleading for his life for the sake of his only daughter–and then burns the bodies of the slain. Muhammad then remarks that the smoke of burning heretics is pleasing to Allah.
Hey guys, Samurai here once again for Day 3 of the Anime Challenge! Today’s topic is something that is both stupidly easy to answer yet tragically complex to explain–favorite anime character! I seriously took all day to figure out who my favorite male anime character is. It’s not an easy question–I’ve come across many, many, many male characters in anime that could qualify; characters like Akira Takizawa from Eden of the East, Soul “Eater” Evans from Soul Eater, Ginko from Mushi-shi, Hachirota “Hachimaki” Hoshino from Planetes…Mutta Nanba from Space Brothers…the list goes on and on! But, thankfully, I managed to lock down on one guy who rocks my proverbial socks over all of them. Who did I pick? More after the break.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Seraph of the End besides its scenario–a post-apocalyptic world with man vs. vampire (Well, that was done in Trinity Blood, but this setting feels different.)–is its emphasis on human relationships. Our hero, Yuuichiro, loses his parents to join another family in an orphanage. He loses this family while leaving the vampire held city were he was taken following the plague which broke out. The head of the anti-vampire unit, Colonel Guren, demands that Yuuichiro gain a friend or a lover before he may join this unit. In the last episode, Yuuichiro is forced to pair with another person having trouble forming human relationships. One might list more examples of how this show focuses on the importance of relationships.
However, a few remarks of Shinoa’s I found particularly fascinating: “Virginity is evil” and the above comments. (Just seeing the words on screen does not do justice to Saori Hayami’s delivery.) In another article, it might be worthwhile to compare the idea of virginity and loneliness, but I want to focus on her hearty exclamation above. It seems to me that Shinoa states two mutually opposed ideas: breeding and illicit sexual realtions. It is important for the decimated human population to repopulate the world, but that can in no way be accomplished through illicit sexual relations.
Here are the top ten selling manga in the United States for the week of April 19-25, 2015, according to the New York Times.
1. Akame ga Kill! Volume 2 by Takahiro and Tetsuya Tashiro
2. Log Horizon Volume 1 by Mamare Touno and Kazuhiro Hara
3. Big Hero 6 Volume 1 by Haruki Ueno
4. Citrus Volume 2 by Saburouta
5. Assassination Classroom Volume 1 by Yusei Matsui
6. Attack on Titan Volume 15 by Hajime Isayama
7. Attack on Titan Volume 1 by Hajime Isayama
8. Akame ga Kill! Volume 1 by Takahiro and Tetsuya Tashiro
9. Assassination Classroom Volume 3 by Yusei Matsui
10. Assassination Classroom Volume 2 by Yusei Matsui
Here is another article on Ashita no Joe which I have written for Beneath the Tangles. This one examines how Yoko Shiraki fulfills a Marian role in the series. I expect that it will be my last article on this classic anime.
Originally posted on :
Greetings to our dear readers! Having accepted TWWK’s invitation to write for Beneath the Tangles, we decided that blogging about old school anime (anime produced in the 80’s and in prior decades) would make for an interesting addition to the blog and introduce fans to some great old series. This column shall point out and discuss themes in old school anime from a Catholic viewpoint. Hopefully, the articles will both encourage you to explore older anime and provide ideas which will enrich your meditations on the Faith.
I skipped writing this column a fortnight ago because a break from blogging and anime felt necessary. I thought that I would need two months, but two weeks proved more than enough of a refrigerium. I am taking this opportunity to write my last article on Ashita no Joe before I turn my attention to Space Pirate Captain Harlock. (The famous Crispin…
In my last Quick Takes article, I noted how realistic Maria the Virgin Witch’s presentation of combat, weapons, and armor in the Hundred Years War was. It’s cool to see that Skallagrim has also watched this series and made a video in praise of the realistic details. He adds many more points than what my article mentions, and I encourage all my readers to check the video out.
Oh, yes, I’ve decided to come out of hiatus earlier than planned. I have accomplished certain goals which were set in me taking the break, and I missed interacting with my dear readers too much anyway. Expect another article tomorrow!
My dear readers know that I occasionally take breaks from blogging. Essentially, I have a millions hobbies and pursuits, many of which suffer neglect. At present, reading and fiction writing have been given too little attention. To myself, my writing style appears to have ossified of late, and I feel like my articles draw on fewer authors. Reading itself often helps me remember what I have read, which helps me add more substance to what I write. Now, reading books, it pains me to relate, often feels like a chore–a sure-fire sign that I have been watching too much anime!
The worst thing about watching too much television lies in that it is designed to appeal to sentiment more than reason, as Russell Kirk, a 20th century American Conservative thinker known especially well by Hillsdale College graduates, writes in Redeeming the Time. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily: there exist noble and moral sentiments which are good to exercise. For example, we would think a man a poor American who never becomes moved by the Star-Spangled Banner. The danger comes in relying upon sentiment to dictate all our actions. It is possible for the mental muscle of reason to become so weakened that we are unable to judge our sentiments and emotions objectively–just think back to the final episodes of Gokukoku no Brynhildr.
A couple of days from the Feast of Divine Mercy appears apropos for writing a couple of reviews on spiritual books, which I distinguish from theological works by their focus on devotion rather than discerning doctrinal truths. Don’t forget to obtain a plenary indulgence this Sunday! (It’s not often that I get a chance to link back to the third post I ever wrote.) After all, the more mercy we receive from God the more our confidence in God and generosity to others grows. The less mercy we obtain, the less time we spend in prayer and the fewer our occasions of receiving the sacraments–especially the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the less confidence we place in God. I have come across a few people who claim that they cannot enter a Church lest it burn down! I know that they jested, but it does reveal a lack of confidence if nothing else! Instead of being struck dumbfounded on these occasions, would that I had told them that their sins were the only things which would burn up upon entering a Church!
But, the spirit of confidence in God’s mercy imbues both St. Alphonsus de Liguori’s How to Converse with God and St. Francis de Sales’ The Art of Loving God. De Sales wrote during the Counter-Reformation, while de Liguori wrote during the 18th century; but, de Liguori’s works have the savor of the Counter-Reformation, especially Prayer: the Great Means of Salvation and of Perfection. Unlike the aforementioned book and St. Francis’ masterpiece, A Treatise on the Love of God, the two books in question are both very short. De Liguori’s book is the size of a Lenten devotional one might pick up from church. De Sales’ The Art of Loving God fits easily into a jacket pocket.
Gunslinger Stratos is a brand new anime, set in a world where Japan is composed of two colliding alternate universes. One layer of the country is a sort of Japanese futuristic post-disaster Wild West, with advanced gun technology and a libertarian ethos. The other side is basically a prosperous futuristic Japan, but regions have become sovereign nations… and there’s a lot of totalitarianism and cronyism, and wars going on somewhere. People are disappearing from one universe to the next… or is it from one time to another?
The first frame of the anime is the following quote from St. Augustine’s Confessions, book 11, chapter 14, 17, along with a sound effect of a ticking clock:
What, then, is time?
If no one asks me, I know what it is.
If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.
On this Easter, both this site and myself age one year. This is the only time I can recollect my birthday has falling on Easter. Does this coincidence mean that Medieval Otaku will gain a fresh breath of life? That I shall set a new and vigorous posting schedule for my third year as a blogger? No, I’ll probably continue writing on random themes which usually touch upon the Middle Ages, Catholicism, or anime as my dear readers are accustomed. Thank you to all my dear readers who have enjoyed reading these posts over the past year. As I always say, you need to struggle through many mediocre posts before finding the few gems which fall Deo iuvante. Let me give you the low down on the posts you shall be seeing on here in the near future.
Here’s a post I originally intended for my column on Beneath the Tangles. However, I forgot that the site is concentrating on Key visual novels for Holy Week. But, the article came out decently well and it have a perfect screencap for April Fools’ Day, so I’m posting it here. Next week, I’ll go back to writing about Ashita no Joe for the column Examining Old School Anime. Hope that you enjoy it!
This April Fools’ Day, let’s take a break from Ashita no Joe and delve into Urusei Yatsura instead. I wished to write about something more humorous than usual and figured that romantic love made for the perfect topic. But, just how is romantic love a religious topic? Why, moral theology concerns itself with romance, especially the sins of lust, more than any other topic! Consider that two out of the ten commandments prohibit lust, one of the Six Precepts of the Roman Catholic Church bids us to follow Church laws on marriage, St. Paul singles out fornication as the sin to avoid most (1 Cor. 6:18), fornication was a prominent issue at the very first Church Council in the Acts of the Apostles, romance stands as the chief difference between the ordinary vocation (marriage) and the other three vocations (single, priestly, and religious), and Christ’s very relationship with the Church is described as a kind of romance with the Church as the bride of Christ.
But, the Church deals with romance as a grave matter; however, that’s the least helpful way to deal with romance in one’s personal life. Imagine proposing to someone by saying that they wish to marry them in order to build up the Body of Christ and cool the flames of lust. How quickly would anyone run away from such a proposal! St. Francis de Sales puts the matter much better: “If a man and woman love each other, they should marry.” Love itself has been described in Plato as “divine madness.” When one considers all the absurdities and misunderstandings concomitant with romantic love, the idea of divine madness applies to this form of love more perfectly than the others. Traditionally, these misunderstandings are said to have been caused by the Fall. Yet, since Adam and Eve did not realize the simple concept that they should talk over major decisions before making them, the relationship between the sexes could not have been too much better in the state of Original Justice.
Initially, I was not too keen on watching Maria the Virgin Witch (aka Junketsu no Maria); but many posts on the show inflamed my desire to do so, and Kaze’s comments in the 8th podcast of Beneath the Tangles proved to be the final impetus. In any event, I gobbled up these twelve episodes in three days. The show obviously derives from a liberal mindset, but it’s not as unfair to the Church as many other liberal takes on the Middle Ages. The reason for this lies in the author having a decided interest in the Middle Ages and Church history; though, one wishes that he had added a double dose of Catholic theology to his studies. But, in this post–presented in the Quick Takes format, I wish to write about how well the show represented the Middle Ages. I’ll talk about its philosophy another time.
-I: Weapons, Armor, and Battles-
The armor, weapons, and battlefield tactics employed at this period in history are all very well researched by the author. Not a single piece of armor or weapon is anachronistic or incorrect. There are problems with the sword and buckler fights and with how well two-handed weapons are sometimes wielded in just one hand. Also, there is an obvious absence of chainmail, but that can be explained by the difficulty of animating a coat of rings.
Manga’s probably the only format you’ll see a byrnie in. From Vinland Saga.
I like how the anime features primitive examples of the firearms which were first coming into use. The depiction of Britain’s standard defensive tactic relying upon longbow archers protected by men-at-arms was perfect. I also can’t remember the last time in an anime medieval soldiers wore gambesons, the padded coat which most soldiers could afford as armor.
The tortuous piecemeal journey – at least for this reviewer – through the second season of MonogatariSeries comes to an end with this release, covering episodes 21 to 26 under the subtitle of the Hitagi End arc.
Central to this story is, as you may have guessed, Hitagi Senjōgahara the very first recipient of nominal hero Koyomi Araragi’s extraordinary gift for spiritual healing – although the bulk of these six episode revolve more around another rarely seen face in the form of Deishuu Kaiki, the shady con man last seen way back in the second series entitled Nisemonogatari.
Kaiki, under the pseudonym Suzuki, receives a phone call from Hitagi, who despises him, because she needs him to deceive someone. Her target is Nadeko Sengoku, the girl turned…