Anime Winter 2018 Mid-Season Review

I should get on with this review before this season gets any closer to the end.  Many anime have already released their tenth episode by this point!  Let me just note that you should be seeing my top five anime of 2017 and a quick takes post on the various anime I’m consuming right now in the near future.  Before I wrote a definite top five list, there were a couple of shows which I wanted to try.  Am I glad that I did: these two anime took the first two places with five stars!


At any rate, below are my thoughts on the now eight anime I’m watching from the current season.  I decided that I had room on my schedule to add the short Takunomi, which I’ll be comparing to Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara.

Rain 4

1) After the Rain

Here’s a show which has seen an endless number of bloggers comment on the premise.  Is it right for the 17 year old Akira Tachibana to desire a romantic relationship with the 45 year old Masami Kondo?  How appropriate is such a relationship?  It’s not appropriate at all: Kondo’s wife is still alive.  Kondo would sin if he began another romantic relationship, and Akira likewise if she were to become his partner.

Rain 7

Akira was certainly enraged to learn about Kondo’s prior relationship.

Not the answer you were expecting?  Good, that’s why you followed this particular blog.  To tell you the truth, I started to opine on the situation of a single 17 year old girl falling for a 45 year old bachelor or widower and realized that the merits, demerits, right, and wrong of this relationship are far to complex for what I want to accomplish in a mid-season review.  Expect a post about it in the near future.

Rain 5

After the Rain‘s strongest selling point is the beauty of its animation.  No other anime I’m watching this season compares.  Akira’s eyes are especially beautiful, and I have to marvel at the time and attention the animators must have spent on them.  The premise is handled in a very mature way–even if it avoids the issue I mention above.  But, this is to be expected since the Japanese don’t hold to the Christian understanding of marriage–as much as they want the externals of a Christian marriage.  The characters are deep and likeable.  All of which makes this an excellent drama/slice-of-life.

Rain 2


Dagashi 6

2. Dagashi Kashi

The amusing thing about Dagashi Kashi lies in twice in a row picking the wrong episode length.  The first season devoted itself to facts about candy, which can only amuse for so long, and it produced full length episodes.  The second gives more time to the romance between Hotaru and Kokonotsu, harps on the dire financial straits of the dagashi store, and introduces a strong competitor which threatens our hero’s store.  For these plot types, one would expect the short format for the first and the long format for the second, but Dagashi Kashi reverses them!  The end result is that the first season often bored me, while the second season vexes me but not moving the conflict along speedily enough.

Dagashi 3

Well, the first sin is greater than the second, so I must say that I’m enjoying this season of Dagashi Kashi more than the first.  It’s still hilarious, and our new character, the klutzy Hajime Owari (What a name!  “Beginning End”), adds a special dose of humor–and fanservice for that matter.  If you want to add a comedy short to your watch list, the second season of Dagashi Kashi makes for a great choice.



3. Kokkoku: Moment by Moment

This stands as my favorite title this season, and the most action packed one for that matter.  People have remarked that the show features much more telling than showing, but the telling immerses us in the special zone of time and space known as “stasis.”  So, I don’t mind one bit.  The slow pace of the show does much to increase the suspense, and I’m tempted to wait until I can binge watch the finale.  Better than enduring this level of suspense every episode!

Kokkoku 1


In some regards, it reminds me a lot of that trainwreck known as Mayoiga (aka The Lost Village).  Both had a supernatural environment and a slow pace.  But the action in Kokkoku appears far more relevant to a central plot, and our characters are far more intelligent.  Also interesting is that one immediate family living in the same household makes up the majority of our protagonists.  I have not seen this sort of cast since watching Summer Wars.

Kokkoku 2



4. Laid-Back Camp (aka Yuru Camp)

You want to watch cute girls do cute things?  Love the moeblob style of animation?  Laid-Back Camp is your show!  Well, perhaps it’s not fair to call the characters moeblobs, but they at least verge on that line if they do not cross it.  And, the show has the positive function of making camping look interesting even to a homebody like me.  I’m starting to think about trying it for once.


Besides the characters being amusing to watch, we’re treated to some fascinating locations in Japan.  I had no idea there was a location referred to as the Southern Alps (Akaishi Mountains) in Japan.  This camping tour is great for those who are tired of all the city landscapes one sees in most anime.

Yuru 10

Koizumi 4

5. Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles (aka Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san)

Four anime on my watch list (Dagashi Kashi, Laid-Back Camp, Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, and Takunomi) focus Japanese culture in some way–whether through sweets, scenic countrysides, ramen, or alcohol.  Is it just me, or is this the most “Cool Japan” oriented anime season you’ve ever watched?

Koizumi 2

Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles happens to be the first show that I picked up.  Even though it focuses much of its time on the variety of ramen available in Japan, it succeeds at being the funniest anime on my list.  Koizumi herself is an unfeeling character, and it’s fun to watch the other three girls desperate to force themselves into her life–at least one of them romantically.

Koizumi 3

I never noticed this phenomenon myself, but I hear it’s not infrequent for hormonally charged high school girls to develop romantic feeling for those of the same sex.  Then, after they graduate, these same women wonder what they were thinking–hence, the acronym L.U.G. for “Lesbian until Graduation.”  This is not to look down on them at all: people’s sexuality often leaves them wondering what they were thinking or how they could so turned their brain off at various moments.

Koizumi 9

At any rate, the characters are all splendidly flawed: whether it’s the heartless Koizumi, the dainty Jun, the narcissistic Misa, or that busybody Yuu.  The mix of them together never fails to produce some brilliant comedy.  If you’re not watching this show, you should be.

Koizumi 7


6. A Place Further than the Universe

This and Laid-Back Camp count as the two shows this season I picked up on a whim.  Am I glad that I followed those whims!  In the case of A Place Further than the Universe, it took two episodes to hook me.  But, this show has a splendid mix of comedy and travel.  Few genres can be so fascinating as a good travelogue, and this show provides some fascinating insights into what an Antarctic expedition is like.


Beyond that, the characters are all very likable; however, of the four high school girls, our lead character, Mari, strikes me as the most bland by far.  At least that allows the other characters to show off their eccentricities–whether it’s Shirase’s rabid obsession with penguins or Hinata’s carefree exuberance.  I’m looking forward to seeing more of this expedition.

Place 2


7. The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done

Along with After the Rain, this show also raised many eyebrows.  The ten year old girls under our hero’s tutelage manifest a romantic zeal for our hero which bothers some people.  Yet, it’s not unusual for little girls to be precocious on this front.  (I still remember my little sister at six or seven years old bragging to all and sundry that she would marry me one day.)  While boys of the same age exclaim how disgusting women and romance are, girls enjoy playing house and otherwise fantasize about being a bride.  The sexual side of these relationships never plays a part of these fantasies; and so, one must view all protestations of love on little girls’ parts as belonging to the empyrean realm of idyllic fantasy.  You might compare it to boys’ love of the game Cops and Robbers or Cowboys and Indians, where there is plenty of shooting but no bloodshed.


Most of my readers already know this much about human nature.  I hope my explanation of people’s common experience offends no one.  And, I will admit the whole scene with Ai coming out of the shower without clothes was rather uncomfortable.  But, I’ll just remark here that screenwriters often employ scenes designed to make the audience squeamish, because audiences love being brought out of their comfort zone.  If this were not the case, Game of Thones would not be as popular as it is–or Made in Abyss for that matter.


What about the anime?  I’m a fan of shogi, so I absolutely love watching the conflicts on the board.  The positions actually make sense–unlike chess positions in anime–and are pretty complex.  I often pause while watching an episode to examine the board and consider each sides’ chances.  You might call The Ryuo’s Work is Never Done a cutesy, moe version of Hikaru no Go using shogi instead of go.  The children are innocent beyond measure and the adults all flawed or twisted, which makes for good comedy and occasionally good drama.

Ryou 6


8. Takunomi

A short time ago, I discovered that Takunomi was on the same half hour block as Dagashi Kashi.  Since this was a short and covered one of my favorite subjects (fine drinks), I had to give it a shot.  It does a great job in the realm of comedy, and it gives you some interesting information on some good, Japanese comfort drinks–without being overly feminine like in Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara.  Watch it if you have some spare time.

Takunomi 6

What are you watching?

22 comments on “Anime Winter 2018 Mid-Season Review

  1. Cytrus says:

    Wait, wouldn’t the second romantic partner (while technically still married/in separation) being a sin apply to Christians and Christians only? The thing that makes marriage sacred is it being a promise to God and a sacrament. However, marriage between non-Christians is an earthly contract no more sacred than high school students agreeing to “going-out” together. If both sides of an earthly agreement accept that it has failed, discarding the agreement wouldn’t be considered sinful in any other case.

    So I don’t see the argument for sin here unless you give non-Christian/bureaucratic marriage a “degree of sanctity”… which seems like a “grey” line of thought which could eventually lead to trouble. The Bible speaks for drawing clear lines between the two spheres: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” That some Japanese couples might whimsically hold a wedding ceremony western style does not seem like much of an argument here – we are all aware that is just part of a fashion show (and you can get actor-priests to perform the rites…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Cytrus! It’s been a while! The curious thing about marriages between non-Christians and marriages between Christians is that the Catholic Church considers both valid and not dissoluble by any earthly power (except death) as long as they were ratified (i.e. witnessed and recorded) and consummated. However, a marriage between non-Christians (a natural marriage) is not raised to the level of a sacrament, while the union of a baptized man and wife is by its very nature a sacrament and dispenses a special grace on the couple.

      Even if a marriage between two non-Christians is not a sacrament, the state of marriage was ordained by God from the beginning and is holy from that very fact (Mt. 19: 5-10). Otherwise, Catholics might look at married non-believers as people living in sin even though their marriage was properly witnessed and consummated–which hardly seems fair. The Code of Canon law only appears to imagine a marriage between non-Christians as legitimately dissolving before death is if one of the spouses converts to the Faith and the non-believer refuses to peacefully co-exist–the so-called Pauline privilege (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).

      You’re right that the Church giving non-sacramental marriages a degree of holiness can lead to trouble. It sometimes happens that someone contracts a secular marriage, divorces, falls in love with a Catholic, and then is told that they cannot marry in Church because the natural marriage was valid. Though, I would not be surprised if some arrangement could not be reached where the Pauline privilege would apply. Converting to the Faith in order to get married does not count as the most noble reason for conversion, but I would not be surprised if it happened more than one thinks. And, yes, non-Christian Japanese marrying within a Christian/Western setting and form is still a natural marriage.

      Liked by 2 people

      • negativeprimes says:

        Wow, very well put! I had a vague notion of this, but couldn’t have written it all out like this. ☺️

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks! I must admit that I also had a vague notion that all marriages were permanent as long as they followed proper form. But, a few Catholic articles and reading the Code of Canon Law helped sharpen my understanding of the matter.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Gaheret says:

        So interesting! I would add two things: that the indissoluble natural marriage is established in Genesis for Adam and Eve, that is, for all peoples, and, according to St. Paul it is a prophetic, living sign of the love of Christ for us, as well as a deep desire of the human heart. As a sacrament, it becomes sign and participation of that love, so husband and wife are specially aided by grace to bring each other to Heaven (not that they always correspond to this grace).

        However, the promise that this indissoluble bond creates must be complementary, open to a new life (without obstacles placed by the spouses), exclusive and perpetual (destined to last until the end of life). So, if a culture admits divorce or polygamy and you marry on the understanding that you can have more wives, that you need no union or family or you can stop being married whenever you want, it is not the same kind of promise and there is no marriage. The apparent marriage would be deemed null, just as if celebrated under threat or as a performance in a play.

        That needn´t mean that we will consider that these people are always in sin, since they could be in an invincible error on this matter (the Jewish people itself was), only that they do not have this special, indissoluble sign of the exclusive and perpetual love of Christ which completes us, gives us new life, and which we understand no human authority can dissolve.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cytrus says:

        Yes, been a while. But I’m always lurking around somewhere :>.

        So, I was going to mention that by mixing law and Law, you accept as “valid and not dissoluble” marriage involving:
        – incest
        – polygamy
        – extreme age differences (Ameagari?)
        – underage marriage (*nudge*Ryuuou*nudge*)
        – slavery
        etc. etc. as long as some country or culture considers those ok (and there is such a country/culture for each of those points). But Gaheret mentions (some) of the other conditions which would have to be met, so I won’t dwell on that.

        Instead, I’ll point to another issue Gaheret raises – that of invincible error. You state with certainty that Kondo and Akira would sin by entering a relationship, but that would mean they can sin while in full ignorance of the rules by which their actions are defined as sinful in the first place. You can clearly see their inner conflicts regarding the society around them as well as doing right by each other – but them considering God’s will specifically would be completely out of place here, as they likely have close to zero exposure to scripture between the two of them. So I can’t see how you could call the behaviour of a person sinful with certainty when that behaviour comes from following a society’s common sense and the individual’s God-bestowed moral compass.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, my explanation of the other parts of a valid marriage is certainly not exhaustive. Incest can’t be valid because it violates rules about consanguinity. With polygamy, every marriage after the first marriage would naturally be invalid. The Church seems to allow countries to regulate what counts as underage marriage, and would probably only condemn a country which lowered the age beyond the Roman law’s standard. (Certain Mexican states establish the legal marriage age as 12, the lower limit for girls under ancient Roman law, and I have not heard about the Church ever telling them to raise the age limit.) I suppose one can say that these things are obstacles preventing the relevant authority from ratifying a marriage.

        In regards to age difference, this state of affairs pertains to compatibility, which is left to the judgment of the couple and the parents in cases where the groom or bride has not reached their majority. The main manner in which the Church affects such marriages is in cases of force or fraud. An older person can’t force a younger to marry, and the younger can’t use lies and deception to gain the advantages of marrying an older and possibly wealthier person. A forced or fraudulent marriage is no marriage.

        Ah! Invincible ignorance is a fun topic. It tends to be brought up on theological matters, e.g. no one is punished for not believing in the Trinity or the Incarnation if the Gospel has not been preached to them. Things like the Trinity, Transubstantiation, and the Incarnation cannot be believed without grace and instruction. When applied to moral law, things get much foggier. Most of the moral law does not depend on divine law or revelation but on natural law, which can be discerned through reason, e.g. don’t murder, steal, fornicate, commit adultery, become greatly intoxicated, bear false witness, etc. In most cases, breaking the natural law involves ignoring one’s conscience and obeying the passions or harming someone for one’s own selfish advantage.

        That the indissolubility of marriage can be discovered by reason is an interesting case. The Philippines is the only country where divorce is illegal, and some countries even offer people the option of a no-fault divorce. Every society appears to twist its people’s consciences on this point! Divorce is certainly easier than continuing in an unsatisfying marriage, especially if one’s wealthy and can easily attract a new spouse. Human nature inclines towards what is easy and avoids what is hard.

        That divorce is easy and staying married is hard provides a reason for governments to permit divorce. But, maybe divorce is not legitimate even if it’s legal. We have to first answer why people marry at all. What are the purposes of marriage? To procreate, to gain emotional and material support for the struggles of life and child-rearing, and to alleviate and properly channel lust. Divorce undermines the last two purposes of marriage, and, while it does not undermine procreation per se, it is hard for a single mother to raise a child well. With the illegitimacy rate so high in the USA, many studies have come out showing that single parenting is far from optimal. Divorce is like blowing up a child’s planet, and the child is sure to suffer trauma from that.

        Divorce also harm the relationship between man and woman–a relationship already rife with misunderstanding and tragedy. Easy divorce causes people to feel contempt for marriage: if marriage is really not permanent and you’re likely to tire of your spouse in three to ten years, why get married at all? Why not be promiscuous? Promiscuity, however, harms society, which is why most civilizations have prohibited lustful excesses. People end up feeling jealous, bitter, and used. Men and women don’t trust or respect each other as much. The population goes down because promiscuous people don’t want children, and an aging population provides a host of new problems. The union of man and wife is the bedrock of society. Weakening this union weakens society itself.

        By the above, I want to show that one can determine by reason that divorce is evil. The Bible is not necessary for people to know that, even if revelation does make this judgment more sure. Even where divorce is part of a place’s customs, they can perceive the bitter fruits of it–especially of no-fault divorce. So, I have to think that it’s possible for one to reason out that divorce is evil, making this form of ignorance possible to overcome. If one merely follows the culture without referring the matter to one’s intellect, then one’s ignorance is called supine ignorance. In either case, the person is only less guilty–not innocent.

        There might still be a case for invincible ignorance for certain people in regard to marriage. Such people would have to not understand the purpose of marriage and ignorant of the ill-effects of divorce. The existence of such people might be possible, but I have my doubts about any Japanese adult falling into this category.

        Well, I might have opened a whole new can of worms in talking about natural law and invincible ignorance vs. vincible ignorance, but there you go. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cytrus says:

        We’re tackling several large issues all at once, but I suppose it cannot be helped. All issues of morality are linked to each other.

        I’ll group it like this:

        1) The issue of reasoning out natural law

        You provide some background for your idea that divorce and certain negative social phenomena might be correlated. Through some form of enthymematic reasoning, you go on to claim that there is causation between divorce and those phenomena. I suspect that the source you use to fill in the blanks in reasoning is the Bible, which is problematic in this case (we are discussing non-faith reliant reasoning here, after all), but I can still respect your reasoning as a valid opinion.

        My claim is that a different conclusion can be drawn by another person reasoning things out from similar or identical background information, even if we assume honest effort and goodwill on their part. For empirical proof in this matter, it is enough for you to refer to any news article concerned with divorce or the rightful form of marriage – you will be able to read a plethora of comments from people who reached different conclusions regarding those matters. Of those comments, some will lay out in detail the reasoning and thought process that led to establishing such an opinion. Such a detailed description should be taken as proof of effort in reasoning. This means that the only ways you can undermine the validity of those conclusions would be by: a) claiming ill-will (dishonesty) from the speaker – but applying that en masse basically means your stance is “everyone who thinks differently from me is evil”… a common approach of evil people b) claiming that the speaker was misinformed or made an honest mistake in reasoning – but mistakes that happen against (despite) both honest effort and goodwill only happen because God allows them, and are not the moral responsibility of the one taking the action.

        However, in the case of divorce and marriage, it is somewhat natural for there to be confusion because of the complexity of the issue and the variety of tradition between different cultures. As such, it is not the perfect example when discussing the limitations of reasoning out natural law.

        Murder seems like a much more straightforward issue. No country in this world allows for unlawful killing of another human being, and nobody finds it necessary for the Bible to tell them “do not kill” in order to see the potential issues of a society where individuals are free to kill each other. Such a system first would first create a divide between the strong and the weak, with the weak having no rights. But worse yet, it wouldn’t even create an unfair but stable system – rather it would encourage the weak to strike at the usually strong when they are at their most vulnerable (e.g. asleep) leading to unavoidable collapse. The fact that killing another human is considered evil is clear-cut and universal across all cultures in part because it can reasoned out regardless of your context.

        And nevertheless, you yourself shared a post detailing your reasoning that unlawfully killing another person can be alright… depending on the circumstances. I’m obviously referring to your thoughts on Black Bullet’s Kisara killing her brother instead of wasting time with a court case. If you gather fifty people from your local church and show them all the relevant scenes from Black Bullet (remember to warn them about loli fanservice beforehand ;>), can you really say that not one person will reach a different conclusion than you did? I’d go further and say the opinions might well split close to 25/25. And I think you admit it indirectly be writing the post in the first place – you found the matter worthy of analysis and discussion exactly because of how complex, counter-intuitive and contentious it is. And of the 25 dissenters, half may be swayed if you present your logic and arguments after the showing. But still a dozen people will claim that it was murder and sin, taking of a life where alternatives still existed, and they will have their logical arguments to back up that judgment. And that’s talking about your local church – an ultimate home-ground. Things are even less likely to go smoothly if you invite a culturally varied (or otherwise non-uniform) group of people.

        Again, reasoning can lead to different conclusions even with honest effort and goodwill between all individuals concerned.

        Importantly, this does not mean that reasoning is inherently futile. To the contrary, I believe that reasoning things out individually is a moral obligation – the only alternative to reasoning is accepting another’s words as-is, with no critical thinking involved, and that means rejecting responsibility and is necessarily a form of fanaticism, where another person becomes the law. However, it does mean that the moral obligation of an individual is to reason things out with full honesty and follow their own conclusions, rather than to reach a specific conclusion that you or I might like.

        Now, as a Christian, you might claim that the Law laid out in the Bible supersedes the individual’s reasoning, as it most closely represents God’s reasoning – the only one truly free of error. But that’s exactly why we are analyzing the specific case of Ame-agari’s Akira, for whom Biblical teachings are a non-option. Not because she ever rejected them, but because she has never considered them as an existing alternative. If such a person puts honest effort into moral reasoning, and reaches the conclusion that a given course of action should be considered good, judging them as sinful based on the conclusions of different individuals does not make sense.

        2) The issue of mixing divine Law and man’s law

        The laws countries use are a tool of maintaining social order. As all tools, they are imperfect, and everybody knows and accepts this. Most of the time, laws make a lot of sense. Some of the time they lead to completely nonsensical situations.

        In Japan, specifically, you may wake up one day to the realization that you have been married to somebody for a long time without any idea who the hell they even are. This is because in order to get married with you, all the other person needs is to get their hands on your hanko stamp for a short moment. The necessary documents can then be submitted by one of the people concerned. Actual cases in Japan have happened when foreigners abuse this secret marriage method in order to gain certain privileges, while the (random) Japanese person has no idea what their name and stamp have been secretly used for until the issue of them being apparently married becomes relevant to their lives.

        In cases like the above, the marriage is legally binding until challenged and successfully proven as illegal. However, it would be ludicrous to consider the marriage morally binding at any point, regardless of any bureaucratic process. No knowing consent = no marriage, we automatically refer to the moral/religious law. But then, if we acknowledge that the moral Law stands above a country’s law whenever it actually matters, why give special significance to the country’s law in the first place? What moral authority do state officials have beyond acting as an impartial witness of a promise? If you’re part of a minority and discriminated against, unable to have your marriage accepted formally, are you sentenced to a life of adultery because someone has power over your papers?

        In the finale of Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo, Jin gives Misaki a half-signed marriage registration form. His intention is for her not to fill in her part too soon – he intends to travel to “level up” and become worthy of her first. In this particular case, it doesn’t really matter – Misaki loves Jin a lot, wants to have his babies and whatnot, so she submits the documents immediately upon getting her hands on them. But if she doesn’t do that, then what? Does Jin’s promise of fidelity to Misaki not become morally binding as long as the papers don’t get processed by an official somewhere, meaning he can start a different family anytime and God will be a-ok with it?

        On the other hand, we know that Himawari and Sakurako from Yuru Yuri have a marriage registration form filled out since they were little, and the paper is still in possession of Sakurako’s older sister. If this gets turned in one day, and accidentally approved by an official, does that make the two married and their relationship indissoluble before God? I mean, their fans would rejoice, but…

        So, methinks handing part of God’s authority over to some office can only mean trouble.

        (Sorry for the length. And feel free to be amazed at my skill at keeping the conversation connected to anime examples.)


      • Having a concept of natural law (in the religious and legal senses) presupposes that all humans everywhere have a God-given sense of God’s most basic laws. Humans should know, and can know by logic and common sense, that monogamy is right, and that polygamy (and incest, and all the rest) are not. Therefore, humans may be fooled by their cultures to a certain extent, but they cannot truly be in utter ignorance of the basic idea of monogamous marriage.

        Similarly, anyone with a basic concept of fair dealing or family agreements should be able to understand that marriage is for life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Cytrus says:


        That is exactly what I find interesting, and potentially dangerous about interpretations of natural law. Basically, it is all too easy to end up with the belief that “what I/we believe to be right must surely be the natural law, and those who think otherwise must surely be fooled by their cultures or otherwise not of sound mind or morality”. Which completely overlooks the possibility of the speaker themselves being the one “fooled by their current culture”.

        Regarding the obvious natural laws you mention:

        The Bible shows at least one commonly known example of God-approved incest. As long as you believe in the existence of Adam and Eve as the originators of our race, their descendants were involved in incestuous relationships for a long, long time. If this were evil (sin), we end up with God orchestrating a “no-escape but to sin” situation.

        The Bible likewise portrays the lives of many God-favoured individuals who practised polygamy. Famous examples include Moses and Salomon.

        There is also the issue of all animal life being God’s creation, and God evaluating all of it as good. Christianity holds that animals are incapable of sin (or any moral decision) by virtue of lacking immortal souls. This means that all they do is natural at all times (I do not state “natural for humans”), and many species are involved in polygamy-like practices. Some species, though, have lifelong partners as naturally as the others don’t, so you cannot even paint humans as uniquely privileged to do the morally right thing.

        Very little in this world is as “natural and obvious” as some would like to think. Though to truly experience this, it is best to confront people of many cultures and backgrounds directly. You are sure to meet people of high virtue and guided by a strong moral compass who nevertheless will have very different natural assumptions about some of the issues discussed here.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gaheret says:

        -I agree with Cytrus in that invincible error in morals (and specifically, marriage) exists and is even common, even among otherwise moral and saintly people like Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Samuel´s parents, King David and Solomon. The entire people of Israel was in error for a long time due to having hard hearts. It is true that the desire for an indisoluble union is deeply rooted in the human heart, universal and ultimately accesible to human reason in general, but not neccesarily in the specific situation, due to psychological or cultural factors. The thing is that an act contrary to natural law, even when there is no guilt, still hurts human nature. One can see this in the bitter rivalry, feuds and hatred between the spouses and descendants of Abraham and Jacob, the image of women the Pharisees had, the disharmony between Ana and Elcana, and unrestrained or less restrained lust of David and the horrific later consequences on his private life: the sorrow of Micah, the rape of Tamnar by her brother, Absalom and his father´s concubines, Adonijah and Abisah… And well, the old Salomon would continue to lust for young new “wives” until they leaded him to idolatry. There´s no way someone´s heart can be satisfied in a poligamous relationship, even with a just and saintly person, and the disruptive consequences will multiply. Similarly with divorce or adultery in the cultures in which it is normal to repudiate or have concubines. This people may be in sin or may be not (and that´s a very real possibility), but they are in a hurtful situation for them and for others. Only in discovering natural law man can understand himself.

        -On the other hand, it seems to me that marriage between siblings was not contrary to natural law in the time of Adam and Eve, probably because the biological, psychological and familiar disadvantages it brings were not yet there.

        -Of course, reasonable people may err and one could be fooled by his own cultural biases when investigating Natural Law (for example, a duel to death is a grave sin, but some Christian cultures saw it as honorable for a very long time), but on the other hand is easy to see that those who are admired and respected as just in different cultures tend to agree about the essential principles of morals, if not about the specifics. For example, even in the polygamous or divorcist cultures, you have romantic tales about exclusive love, as that of Orihime and Hikoboshi in the festival of Tanabata… The darkening of the human heart was the reason because of the Commandments were given, to make us remember, and the reason why the Church was entrusted to mission to be teacher in morals and not only in faith. Yet, the essential purpose of this is not to judge others, but to help others and grow oneself, becoming able to love in a better, more truthful and complete way.

        -I studied the evangelization of the polygamous once: the first spouse is not neccesarily the valid one, because one cannot marry if he understands that he is marrying not his wife, but one of his wives. A Pagan in this situation is urged to choose one of them as his spouse from that point on, then separate from the rest while trying to fulfill his duties of justice towards them and their common children. It must be hard, but it´s neccesary for eventual peace. If someone, however, married a woman with the intent of making that exclusive, then changed his mind, the first marriage is natural marriage.

        -The current Code of Canon Law states in Can. 1083 §1 that “A man before he has completed his sixteenth year of age and a woman before she has completed her fourteenth year of age cannot enter into a valid marriage” as an absolute condition, and allows the Bishops to elevate the age in the territory of their jurisdiction at their discretion, with the recommendation to do so so the age fits the civil law and there is harmony. I think the reference is to sexual maturity, so it would pertain to natural law and be inexcusable.

        -The place where law and Law intersect is the form of marriage, I think. The Church has a long story of opposing secular injustices in this matter (now is divorce, but there was that prohibition of marriage between a slave and a free citizen in the Roman Empire, or the prohibition of the marriage for soldiers in time of war which Saint Valentine died for defying), but as long as there is this exclusive and perpetual promise, given freely and mutually between a biologically capable and complementary couple, open to life and without incest, force or fraud, however this is done in their culture, she is likely to recognize this as a form of entering in natural marriage, be it expressed when one drinks half a glass of sake or signs a solemn document.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Cytrus says:

        @ Gaheret

        Great comments all around! I can certainly see a non-sinful state or action also being suboptimal for somebody’s moral and spiritual development. Like not getting enough sleep one-night need not be seen as necessarily sinful if it’s not on an obviously self-destructive level, but at the same time it is something likely to make you irritable and mentally weak the next day, which opens up the door to sinful behaviour (e.g. not behaving right towards others).

        An “irregular” form of marriage could then be seen as a constant burden or disadvantage when it comes to leading a spiritually fulfilled life, even in a case when it is not seen as sinful. Much more difficult to improve on that state than getting a good night’s sleep is, after all.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. negativeprimes says:

    Hey, Medieval! Thanks for this post, which exemplifies a lot of what I love about the aniblogger community. You’ve reviewed a number of shows here, most of which I haven’t seen and some of which I haven’t even heard of! (And I watch anime religiously!) I did watch episode one of the Ryuo, but couldn’t get into it. But Place Beyond the Universe is phenomenal! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I’m keeping up with Ryuo mostly because of how much I love shogi, though it does have some great humor tossed in here and there. Place beyond the Universe is a lot of fun to watch. I hope that it gets another season, especially since the action likely can’t be resolved in two or three more episodes.

      Even if you’re only keeping up with one of the shows listed above, I hope that I interested you in one or two others. 🙂


  3. MIB says:

    Going through your list we had 100% synergy in our viewing for the first time…until I got to the last 2 titles! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good! I know how it is to go through a few reviews like this and see that one is only watching one or two anime on someone else’s list. One starts to wonder whether one picked the bottom of the barrel.

      Glad that we’re about on the same page!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. leirbag75 says:

    I was debating whether to watch some of these shows. After seeing this, I think I might watch Yuru Camp, Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, and The Ryuo’s Work Is Never Done. If I can ever get ahead of my school work, that is…

    By the way, since you mention loving shogi, have you tried March Comes In Like a Lion (Sangatsu no Raion)?

    If you haven’t: It’s about a guy whose family died in an accident when he was little, who then goes on to become a professional shogi player while still in high school. He starts out really depressed, not really understanding how to make friends, and with a sense that he’s just a burden to other people. But then he meets this happy family of three sisters and their grandfather who metaphorically “adopt” him, starts making friends and rivals among his shogi-playing colleagues, and slowly starts coming out of his shell. The characterization is really solid, and it’s definitely one of my favorites in a while. I can’t really speak to the strategic soundness of the positions shown, though; I’m still a beginner at shogi.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m happy to have gotten you interested in those shows. March Comes in Like a Lion has been recommended to me a few times, and I can’t say why I haven’t watched it yet. That show might end up on my watch list in the near future.

      Good luck on learning shogi! One of the best things you can do on that score is to look up shogi proverbs. Knowing those helps one’s play a lot:


      • Cytrus says:

        More importantly, medieval, have you watched Shion no Ou? Two-cours show with both a murder mystery and romantic subplots, but it makes everything revolve around shougi. When a match matters, it takes up the whole episode, with sometimes minutes devoted to what goes into a move and what it means to the players. With Ryuuou, I’m afraid I only remember two moves discussed in reasonable detail: Keika’s copy of the tempo-loss bishop exchange and Ai knowingly playing a losing move with her Dragon King for intimidation purposes. In other cases, I feel like somebody makes a move, we are force-fed reactions of everyone around wondering at the brilliance of the move but no explanation what’s so important about the choice, and then the show rushes to the next point on the agenda.

        So no matter how I look at it, Ryuuou seems like a poor man’s Shion no Ou except for the vibrant use of colour in the character designs of the former. Shion also focuses a lot on the joryuu side of things, so there is a lot of overlap plot-wise, too.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I really loved Shion no Ou. It’s the best out of any shogi related anime I’ve seen. The murder mystery element of the plot only made it better.

        There’s really no comparing Shion no Ou and Ryuou: the former is head and shoulders the better show. It’s a shame that not many people talk about it these days.


  5. […] past season, but I managed to keep up with nine anime.  Yes, that’s one more than I noted in my mid-season review and two more than I started with.  This season displayed good quality overall.  None of the […]


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