Summer Anime 2015 Review (Part 1/3)

Here’s the first installment of season reviews on Beneath the Tangles. I was selected to review Gangsta in this post. Three more reviews of mine are coming up in the next two posts of this series. Be sure to check it out!

Beneath the Tangles

As students head back to school, it’s time for our summer anime review! We have plenty of great (and not so great) anime to review, and these review posts will be featuring the most diverse set of voices from the Beneath the Tangles staff to date, so look forward to them.

Ore Monogatari!!

My Love Story!!
Ore Monogatari!!

Japesland – 8/10

I’ve written on Ore Monogatari numerous times as it has aired, which says something about my opinion of the series. If you’ve read those articles, then you know that I praise what it’s done to break the shoujo mold, while still holding to some of the tropes that make it what it is (utilizing without subverting, in contrast to shows like Now and Then, Here and There or Madoka Magica, which are entirely subversive). Unlike your traditional shoujo, conflicts created by teenage misunderstandings are actually resolved, and the male lead is neither…

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Some Articles Percolating in My Mind

Last week felt very busy with the Three Day Quote challenge and slew of award nominations which were passed to me.  Thanks to all who read, commented, and accepted my nominations and to those who nominated yours truly!  Now, I feel like I need to collect my thoughts and write down the topics which are swirling in my mind.


You might remember my Candlemas Resolutions from earlier this year.  Sadly, three months is all it took to break these.  For October, I intend to renew three of these resolutions, and to stop giving manga recommendations–or at least in that format–for a couple of reasons.  First, other bloggers do a better job of creating concise manga reviews.  Second, recommending manga requires one to constantly expand one’s consumption of them.  This bites into the time I could be studying foreign languages or reading more worthwhile things–very bad for a writer and aspiring novelist.


So are moe girls looking over your shoulder as you write.

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A Great Series on the Katana

Recently, I discovered a new YouTube Channel called “I am Shad” through Shad’s video on the Kite or Norman shield.  Shad is about as entertaining to watch as Skallagrim and as factually reliable as Matt Easton–though, not with that gentleman’s depth of knowledge.  Shad’s excellent sense of humor and solid interpretation of the facts manifest themselves well in “The TRUTH about the Katana.”  This series delves into the strengths and weaknesses of the katana’s forging process and its design in the most even-handed manner I’ve yet seen.  I found myself hooked on this series as soon as he used Rurouni Kenshin for a reference point.  Few anime fans don’t have an interest in katana, so I encourage all my dear readers to check out this series.  Parts one through four are short enough to be watched in tandem, however the last video is almost fifty minutes long.  Enjoy!

The TRUTH about the Katana, part 1: Introduction

The TRUTH about the Katana, part 2: What it is Made from

The TRUTH about the Katana, part 4: Differential Hardening

The TRUTH about the Katana, part 5: Design and Shape

Happy Feast of St. Padre Pio

Today is the fourty-seventh anniversary of the death, or rather natalis (the Latin word for birthday, often applied to the last day of a saint’s life on earth), of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcino.  Padre Pio lived the life of a Capuchin monk at the town of San Giovanni Rotonda, Italy.  He won renown during his life as the greatest miracle worker of the 20th century, and through his stigmata and charisms  lead perhaps hundreds of thousands of people to Christ.  Often, he would spend over fourteen hours in the confessional to shrive the multitudes of pilgrims from across the globe who sought to see him.  For which reason, when the pope asked a priest what Padre Pio did at San Giovanni Rotunda, the priest responded: “He takes away the sins of the world.”  Pio’s last words were “Jesus, Mary,” persons to whom St. Pio had dedicated his entire life.




At any rate, I hope that my Catholic readers celebrate this feast by asking Padre Pio’s intercession and even possibly going to mass.  May my other readers be edified by reading about Padre Pio’s example or delighted to learn something new.  A while back, I linked to this page on Padre Pio for some anecdotes.  That link also has a ton of pictures of the saint.  And I shall link other pages below for your pleasure.

St. Pio carrying Christ's cross

At the Padre Pio shrine in Italy, Pio is shown holding the place of St. Simon in the Fifth Station of the Cross.

EWTN’s Two Page Biography of Padre Pio

Quotes from Padre Pio


Autumn 2015 Anime Preview!

Be sure to check out Caraniel’s Season Preview post, especially as her expertise in this area has few equals. The fall season looks pretty good. I found a dozen titles I’d like to try.

Caraniel's Ramblings

autumn lrg

Hello!  Yes it is me and I’m still breathing – my ever problematic arm decided to go on an unsanctioned strike a few weeks back, and then I just wanted a break from the internet for a while.  But I’m still a creature of habit, so had to do my usual preview – so here I am full of pain meds and ready to pass judgement on the upcoming Autumn season shows!

Summer ended up being a much, much better season than I thought it would be, will Autumn manage the same feat?  Lets have a look shall we, starting with the sequels & spin-offs again.

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Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 3

Today is my last quote for this challenge, and I can’t help but make it anime related.  It is also the pithiest.  Thanks again to akkoanime for selecting me as a participant.

The Rules:
  • Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).
  • Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.

You can see the kanji in the left paragraph, second line.

Quote for the Third Day

Aku Soku Zan–Slay evil at once!

-Hajime Saito

This was the motto of the Shinsengumi, but Saito Hajime’s use of the quote in Rurouni Kenshin probably stands as the most famous instance of its use.  The first thing which comes to my mind upon hearing this is the end of Psalm 137: “Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”  From a literal reading, this verse sounds messed up.  Blessing someone who smashes Babylonian children against a rock!?  How barbaric!  

However, there is always a spiritual manner of reading everything in Scripture.  The curses in the Psalms are no longer applied to the enemies of Israel, but the true enemies of the Church: demons.  If we take the Kingdom of Babylon to refer to the Kingdom of Evil which opposes the Church, the spiritual meaning of the above verse is quite clear: blessed is the man who dashes small vices against the rock of true doctrine.  One is blessed if one stamps out vices while they are yet small so that he will not have to contend against them when they have become established evil habits or addictions.  Don’t even give them a chance–Aku Soku Zan!

My Nominees:
  1. Josh W of Res Studiorum et Ludorum
  2. Japes of Japesland
  3. Tobby of The Overlord Bear’s Den

Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain Review

The following article comes from the pen of TheOneYeti, an avid gamer and one of my choicest friends.  I have told him that he’s welcome to write a post for my blog anytime, and readers among my audience will appreciate certainly his views and sense of humor.  You might catch him on his twitch channel or on Steam, where his handle is simply Yeti.

Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain starts sleepily with protagonist Punished “Venom” Snake nine years after the events of Ground Zeroes, waking up, finally, after a coma. The introduction can hardly be called action packed, with 45 minutes of cut scenes which establish that Snake was, indeed, in a coma and that the bad guys from the last game are still after him. It is not until after a painfully patronizing tutorial section, which lasts far too long, and one or two missions later, that the open world and Motherbase really open up to the player.


Phantom Pain is more of a large sandbox than a traditional open world – like, say, Skyrim. Those who played Ground Zeroes will find that the minute to minute action of the gameplay is largely unchanged. Snake sneaks around and avoids detection by staying out of line of site, moving quietly, or crawling in grass using camouflage, which is similar also to Metal Gear Solid 3 – though less time is spent in menus, thankfully. Snake also has an array of combat options, if the player chooses a more direct route. A diverse set of tools for sneaking and fighting allow Snake many options in how to approach a mission, and the possibilities for a clever and cool approach are impressive. Snake can use a silenced tranquillizer pistol like in previous games or an assault rifle; but, access to more unconventional tactics, such as using supply drops to knock out guards, or his buddies’ abilities, give players an entertaining toolbox for accomplishing the many side-operations or main missions. Add in those “Metal Gear Touches,” small details that made previous entries shine out, and the Phantom Pain provides interesting and finely tuned gameplay.

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Three Day Quote Challenge – Day 2

Once again, let me thank akkoanime for inviting me to participate in this contest.  Without to further ado, let me post the rules and quotation followed by my three nominees.

The Rules:
  • Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).
  • Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.

My favorite author.

Quote for the Second Day

“Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss.”

–Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas is my all-time favorite writer.  If I could, I would pull up quotes from Dumas all day.  I almost chose Dumas’ retort to a man who had insulted him over his ancestry: “My father was a mulatto, my grandfather was a Negro, and my great-grandfather a monkey. You see, Sir, my family starts where yours ends.”  Amusingly, this quote has a near parallel in modern times to what Ben Carson told a haughty atheist he debated in Hollywood.

Anyway, I love the above quote because it gives one hope even in the darkest despair.  Could not the present despair merely be the seed of ultimate bliss?  Why not persevere through despair when God might just be waiting for the right moment to fulfill your wildest dreams?

My Nominees:
  1. Caraniel of Caraniel’s Ramblings
  2. AngryJellyfish
  3. Moonlitasteria

Three Musketeers

Three Day Quote Challenge – Day One

I’d like to thank akkoanime for challenging me to this contest.  Be sure to look at her blog, especially to see the quote she chose for day three.  It’s perhaps the wisest utterance ever made in Avatar, and delivered by its best character.  Anyway, here are the rules:

  • Post one quotation a day for three days (they can be from other sources or one of your own).
  • Nominate 3 other bloggers to participate per post.
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you.

Theodore Roosevelt as Governor

Quote for the First Day

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

–Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt is often moving and inspiring, but the above quote is one of those moments where he hits the sublime.  That the last clause appears to refer to the evil angels who refused to take sides in Dante’s Inferno makes it even better.

My three nominees are as follows:

  1. Animecommentary of Anime Commentary on the March
  2. Feidor S. LaView
  3. Thompdjames of The Dusty Thanes

I hope those gentlemen will be able to participate at some point, because I’m sure that they have some interesting quotes they can mention.


Examining Old School Anime: Leisure and Religion

My latest post for Beneath the Tangles, which is on leisure and religion.

Beneath the Tangles

“And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.” Genesis 2:2

Catholics and other Christians have been accused of fetishizing the poor, making angels of them, as it were.  While this extreme is less harmful than the view which claims poverty as a sign of God’s disfavor, the political philosopher Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn makes a very good point when he asks whether a workman unable to make time for religion because of constant work is actually holier than a pious rich man?  In the essay Leisure: The Basis of Culture (required reading for the modern gentleman, according to a friend of mine), another philosopher, Josef Pieper, describes modern society as a society of total work.  On this surface, this point seems flawed: don’t we have more free time than a medieval…

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Pastors Should Feed the Sheep–Not Themselves

For a while now, reading about the heterodox opinions expressed by high ranking prelates in the German Church has rankled me.  Though, the state of Catholicism in Germany has often been problematic throughout history: St. Boniface needed to constantly reconvert Germans who had lapsed back into paganism; of all the particular churches prior to the Protestant Reformation, Germany offered more examples of corruption amidst the clergy; concerning Humanes Vitae (an encyclical stating orthodox teaching concerning married love, responsible parenting, and contraceptives), German bishops stated–before the ink was dry on that document–that people should just follow their consciences irrespective of Catholic teaching; and now, they have espoused new heretical teachings!  Well, what should we expect of priests who are so lax that the grand majority only goes to confession once a year–the bare minimum for a practicing Catholic?

St. Augustine

At least, I hope they still pray their Divine Office, which is an official program of prayer and spiritual reading priests have vowed to pray each day.  After I left seminary, I gave my volumes of the Divine Office to my brother, since I still had to psychologically divorce myself from the seminary.  (Besides, he seemed to enjoy praying it with me on occasion.)  Recently, my parents returned the volumes to me after visiting my brother, and I could not resist praying at least Morning Prayer and the Office of Readings.  Conspicuous in the Office of Readings is that selections from St. Augustine’s “Sermon on Pastors” makes up the second reading from last Sunday until next Friday–probably covering the whole sermon.  May the German priests take to heart St. Augustine’s admonition to feed the sheep rather than themselves!  What do I mean?  The German priests make themselves more popular to their fellow citizens through espousing secular ideas over doctrine.  The following have come from various high ranking German prelates: homosexuality should not be taught as a sin (I believe they wish to go much farther than saying only the acts, not the disposition, are sins), sex outside of marriage is fine, and divorced and remarried Catholics may receive the Eucharist.

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Summer Anime 2015: Collecting My Thoughts Ere the End

Usually, I try to write a post like this closer to mid-season.  A colleague at Beneath the Tangles reminded me that reviews of this season’s shows will be coming soon, so I better collect my thoughts, right?  I hope to write another post soon in the next few days on the older series which have taken up part of my leisure.


1) Aoharu x Kikanjuu (aka Aoharu x Machinegun)

Overall, this show has struck me as above average with its fun and unusual characters and absorbing action sequences.  The most interesting moment for me thus far **Spoiler Alert** occurs when Midori, whom Aoharu had mistaken for a gentleman ere the Top Gun match, revels in crushing team Toy Gun.  He claims that losing in airsoft is worse than dying on the battlefield because one has to live with the humiliation of defeat.  Midori says that there is nothing else like being proclaimed dead and not dying.  Aoharu and her teammates are crushed by despair, because Midori’s team was the one team they hoped to vanquish.

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Annalyn’s Corner: Baby Steps and Self-Examination

I thought this was an excellent post on the importance of reflection in living well. As Socrates first noted, the unexamined life is not worth living.

Beneath the Tangles

Maruo Eiichiro (Ei-chan) stands out among sports anime protagonists because of his analytical ability. Usually, analyzers are pushed into secondary roles that challenge or support the main character. In Baby Steps, however, the roles are reversed: the analyzer leads, and, in the second season, the charismatic hero-type is just another opponent. I’ve often said that I find this character change refreshing. Yet I’ve never written a post inspired by Ei-chan’s self-examination.

I think it’s because my posts often include topics I struggle with, such as discipline. I already understand the value of reflection and self-examination. I carry a journal everywhere, I lean toward the analytical, and I’m a thorough note-taker—much like Ei-chan. So I didn’t think about writing on the topic until I caught up on Baby Steps 2 yesterday. Then I realized two things: First, self-examination is an important part of Christian growth and is worth writing about. Second…

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Creative Blogger Award

Lazarinth of the blog Fantasy and Anime has honored me with a nomination for the Creative Blogger Award.  I truly appreciate the award, and I would encourage all of my dear readers to take a look at this aspiring fantasy author’s blog, which boasts a fun blend of articles on fantasy books and anime.  The rules for accepting the award are as follows:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog.
  • Share 5 facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 10 – 20 bloggers and add their links.
  • Notify the bloggers you included.
  • Keep the rules in your post to make it easy for everyone to know what to do!

I’ve shared so many facts about myself through awards like this that it is difficult for me to come up with new ones.  However, I’ll follow Lazarinth’s lead and group these facts around a specific subject.  In the early days of this blog, many posts of mine were dedicated to trying new alcoholic beverages, which you’ll find under the subject “fine drinks“; so, why not five facts about my enjoyment of alcohol?


1. My all time favorite wine and food pairing is port and pumpkin pie.

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Examining Old School Anime: Suicide

Here’s my latest post for Beneath the Tangles on Catholic doctrine concerning suicide.

Beneath the Tangles

You can say that this article derives from my adherence to the principle of choosing the lesser of two evils–in this case, the lesser of two spoilers: I weighed spoiling the ending of Space Pirate Captain Harlock against revealing the death of a minor character in The Rose of Versailles.  The topic of death appeared the best choice–like on another occasion.  As you glean from the title, this particular character takes her own life.  This unfortunate event (The Rose of Versailles can be surprisingly dark) comes about through Madame de Polignac forcing her eleven year old daughter to contract an engagement with a forty-three year old duke, who is plainly a pedophile.  At the time, the age of consent in Europe seems to have been twelve for women, following the old Roman law.  So, Charlotte faces the prospect of consummating a marriage with a degenerate in…

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