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…
I was poking around CrunchyRoll the other day, looking for a new show, when I saw Toradora! I had heard of it through social osmosis, but had absolutely zero idea what it was about. Half a week later, I’m throwing all my cherished projects to the wind to write an analysis post that doesn’t even involve philosophy!
First off, let’s get this out of the way. I really liked Toradora. Probably not top 30, but it’s very good. Sure, it’s a romance show, but it stands out quite a bit. The five main characters are each robust and unique as characters. Their interactions with the world and each other are a joy to watch, and always very interesting. Even the side characters are great! Regrettably, you know how the story will turn out within the first few episodes, but that is really not the point of the show. With all…
As you know, my dear readers, I’ve dedicated this season to watching the classics, with Ashita no Joe, Angel Cop, and Urusei Yatsura featuring prominently among the following anime. But some new shows managed to sneak onto my list due to the good things I have heard about them: Death Parade, Assassination Classroom, Rolling Girls, and–most recently–KanColle. Usually, this kind of post appears in the middle of the season and seems extraneous with the season’s end around the corner. Yet, I wish to collect my thoughts on various shows and place them before you before writing my final ratings. The shows are listed in order of enjoyment from least to greatest.
There is only one problem with buying manga from Kinokuniya in New York City: the plastic wrappers sealing the book make each purchase of an unknown manga a risk. The description on the back cover still strikes me as hard to read. Actually, I only understand “…her beloved gun will today also silently fan [lit. blow] a flame.” The the artwork on the cover shows a beautifully drawn woman and a well-detailed M1991 with a silencer. On that day, I was in the mood for a manga featuring a femme fatale. Perhaps, Silencer by Shou Fumimura could be another Noir?
Ten or so episodes of Ashita no Joe convince one that many Christian themes run through it. One even locates a Christ figure in Rikiishi and a Marian character in Yoko Shiraki. Therefore, Joe Yabuki (especially when one considers the slang “average Joe”) might be looked on as an everyman–a representative of graceless humanity needing a Savior. In this article, I do not wish to belabor Rikiishi’s parallels to Christ: his standing head and shoulders above ordinary mortals, his generally meek and polite personality, how his weight loss reminds one of Christ fasting in the desert, Yoko as a woman who fulfills the role of the Lady of Sorrows for Rikiishi, etc. Instead, I wish to ponder the curious choice of Ikki Kajiwara to make the Christ figure as the story’s antagonist. In what ways might Christ, the friend of sinners, also be viewed antagonistically by his followers?
It would be funny if the punchline to this joke was a bunch of Japanese military officials all looking around in panic and screaming, “Oh no, hesu on tsu us!”
Firstly, for those who have no idea of what the Kantai Collection (or KanColle) is, it’s “a online browser game in which one assumes the role of an admiral, assembles a fleet of kanmusu (“ship girl”, girls based on World War II era Japanese ships and submarines) and battles against fleets of alien enemy warships.” Or at least that’s what the Japanese want you to think!
Having not just games but Kantai models, singers and dancers, music and anime both of and inspired by it (see character names from Arpeggio of Blue Steel) as well as one of the biggest pushes in the fan-fiction (or doujinshi) community since the Touhou Shinto/Air Force conspiracy of the 2000s, Kantai has a secret agenda. Because…
For this post, my dear readers, I’ll let you into the workings of my scrupulous mind. You see, for a long time now, I worried whether manga like Akame ga Kiru and Silencer actually carry a benefit to the reader. In general, a fascination with blood and violence for their own sakes obviously manifests a disorder of the soul. At the opposite extreme, squeamishness at the sight of blood and the refusal to countenance the existence of violence must also count as defects. So, do Akame ga Kiru and Silencer fall in the mean between these two extremes? And if they are in the mean, what is their particular virtue?
A couple of quotes I found recently appear to show the value of such works. One derives from Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn’s Leftism: from de Sade and Marx to Hitler and Marcuse and the second from one of Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries. After describing a horrific and monstrous scene from the French Revolution. Kuehnelt-Leddhin writes the following:
The Church dedicates the month of March to Saint Joseph. Over the centuries many saints held the guardian of the Holy Family in high esteem and had great devotion to him.
Saint Teresa of Avila in her Autobiography, VI, 11-12, writes of the blessings she obtained from Saint Joseph and implores the faithful to turn to him too:
“Would that I could persuade all men to be devoted to this glorious Saint, for I know by long experience what blessings he can obtain for us from God. I have never known anyone who was truly devoted to him and honoured him by particular services who did not advance greatly in virtue: for he helps in a special way those souls who commend themselves to him. It is now very many years since I began asking him for something on his feast, and I have always received it. If the petition…
Connoisseurs of medieval weapons will instantly recognize the name Ewart Oakeshott. He stood at the forefront of the movement to create accurate replicas of medieval swords and to understand how medieval warriors really fought. Many museums now hold antique blades donated from his private collection. That the stereotype of knights as clumsy oafs bashing away at each other with swords is slowly disappearing owes much to Oakeshott’s work, which included delving into both history and the weapons themselves. These habits come across very strongly in the two works under review here: A Knight in Battle and A Knight and His Armor from Oakeshott’s “Life of the Medieval Knight” series.
Initially I wanted to make this a post only on shoujo manga, but later realised that I haven’t been up to date with my list of shoujo manga, and hence am expanding this post and including manga from various other genres. Moving on~
Orange – from Takano Ichigo
One look at the cover should be enough to tell you that this is a shoujo manga owo~ The cover may seem all cheerful and everything, but the tragedy and mystery are a few of the genres along with shoujo and romance. Currently, its one of the few mangas which I’m definitely hoping would have an anime adaptation.
The story starts off with 16 year old Takamiya Naho, who recieved a letter from herself, ten years into the future. The letter was very detailed and stated what she should do events that would occur each day pertaining to Naruse Kakeru, the new…
Well, here’s another set of quick takes for you. Once again, they have been inspired by Nami’s Quick Takes on The Budding Philosopher. I feel like I should post, but don’t have energy to concentrate on writing a proper post. May you enjoy these quick takes!
My laptop adapter broke. So, I’ve been relying on my smart phone for the past while, which is the least pleasant way to browse the internet. At any rate, I’m happy to report that the replacement adapter has arrived. So, I hope to make up for lost time in reading my fellow bloggers’ articles.
Pennsylvania produces my favorite beers. I love beers from Weyerbacher, Yards, Victory, Sly Fox, and Troegs. One unpleasant surprise I had in regard to these beers, however, is that the Troegenator doppelbock–at least, the last time I had it–actually tasted pretty bad. As my friend said, it tasted like malt liquor, which is sad because the Troegenator launched my interest in the realm of craft beer. Troegs brewery seems to have made up for it in their Cultivator Helles Bock. The flavor is quite fresh with a creamy mouthfeel and notes of biscuit and raspberry. Very good stuff!
Here’s my first post for my bi-weekly column on Beneath the Tangles.
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.
The salient feature of Ashita no Joe‘s plot lies in that it is a conversion story, pure and simple. All my articles on this show will relate to this major point, and no better starting point for this conversion story exists than in the unfortunate state of Joe’s hard heart. Diamonds are less solid! Joe trusts no one, believes in nothing, and…