To my reckoning, this story is a little more than a week old. After being dead and buried for four years, the body of Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster was found incorrupt. That is to say, the normal process of decomposition had not set in yet. The coffin had broken, allowing water and mud to enter the casket in the meantime. Though the lining of the coffin had rotted away, neither Sister Wilhelmina’s body nor her habit, which was made of natural fibers, had decomposed. For a woman of her size, the body ought to have been reduced to about twenty pounds. Instead the sisters estimated that it weighed between eighty and ninety pounds. If that’s not miraculous, I don’t know what is!
Author Archives: medievalotaku
Magical Destroyers’ Spirit of Revolution
Watching the first two episodes of Magical Destroyers stood as a unique experience for me because of the clarity with which I saw the wares they tried to sell. The anime displays the Spirit of Revolution as presented by the American Catholic scholar E. Michael Jones in neon lights for all to see. Jones had a front row seat to the eruption of the cultural revolution in the ’60s and has written many books on the topic of moral subversion, such as Libido Dominandi (2nd edition coming soon), Monsters from the Id, and the Degenerate Moderns series. His best book is Logos Rising, which covers humanity’s consciousness of the divine order of the universe from the earliest civilizations up through the rise of philosophy and Christianity. Every educated man worth his salt should read Logos Rising–that’s how excellent a work it is.
So, while I would have felt that Magical Destroyers was morally subversive from the first episode, reading Jones’s works allows me to explain why it is so. The last time an anime to bring about a similar reaction was Concrete Revolutio. The opening song of Concrete Revolutio seemed to project a morally relativistic framework, and I get more than enough of that from reading the news.Continue reading
Divine Mercy Chaplet in Japanese
The idea for this post comes from looking for a Japanese translation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, which our Lord revealed to St. Faustina Kowalska for the conversion of the world. An internet search has turned up empty, so yours truly is left to his own devices. The chaplet requires six different prayers: the Our Father, the Hail Mary, the Apostles’ Creed, the Trisagion, and two prayers unique to the chaplet. Fortunately for us, the first four prayers already have official translations, and we can simply rely on those. On the other hand, the two prayers unique to the chaplet will require some work on my part.
My hope is that this little effort will be picked up by other people interested in spreading the message of Divine Mercy revealed to St. Faustina and that yet better translations will result from this. The Divine Mercy Chaplet only takes ten minutes to say, and is an excellent way to meditate on the Passion and Death of Our Lord while beseeching his mercy on the whole world.Continue reading
Babylon and the Suicide of Moral Argumentation
An anime came out in 2019 called Babylon. I don’t remember Babylon receiving too much discussion at the time. I attempted to watch the first episode, and it did not grab me them for some reason. Am I glad that I decided to give it another shot recently! The plot offers a really philosophical discussion of good and evil but in terms people who lack B.A.’s in philosophy can grasp. I myself felt frustrated for a while that the characters were not able to form good arguments against suicide for most of the anime. That, I’ve come to realize, is actually part of the anime’s charm. It would not be so well done if our hero, the prosecutor Zen, were a Japanese St. Thomas Aquinas.
The root of the problems with the debate on suicide in Babylon lie in no one understanding what man is. They don’t understand what man is, because they do not know what man is for. In order to understand anything, one needs to know the purpose of that thing. No character in the anime appears to realize that man is for God. As the Baltimore Catechism explains it: “God made me to know him, to love him, and to serve him in this world and to be happy with him forever in the next.” The fact that God is the Lord of Creation and that Man was created for His Glory means that human beings cannot destroy themselves at will. The time of their demise rests in God’s hands–not theirs. The exceptions to this rule only come in the forms of self-sacrifice: sacrificing oneself to save another person or to avoid sin, e.g. accepting martyrdom rather than renounce God.Continue reading
A Noticeable Absence in Suzume
Suzume is a good anime movie to watch. Fans of animation are sure to be pleased with it, and even the English voice actors performed well. Suzume fits nicely alongside Makoto Shinkai’s other blockbusters, Your Name and Weathering with You. Some bloggers have said that the movie is lacking in comparison to the other two, but I didn’t think so. The film is quite beautiful and the characters compelling, so I can only reiterate that fans of animation will enjoy it.
Yet, the movie itself did not impress me as much as something which struck me by its absence: fathers. We do get to meet the hero’s, Souta’s, grandfather and the father of Chika, a young girl whom Suzume befriends on her heroine’s journey; but, these have very little screen time and centrality in the plot. Souta’s grandfather gives some vital information to the heroine, entrusts her to the care of a guardian deity, and leaves the story for good. At the same time as fathers make very little impression in the story, family connections form a big part of the story–whether it’s Suzume and her aunt, the various families Suzume encounters, or even the familial duty handed down to Souta.
So, that leaves me the question of why this father shaped hole is here? And, I’d love to hear comments from my dear readers, since I can only speculate. One option lies in Makoto Shinkai in particular lacking a father figure while he grew up. However, my research into the state of fatherhood in Japan leads me to the conclusion that this might be a more general problem. Japanese fathers appear to often play a minor role in the actual upbringing of their children, spending forty-one minutes a day doing housework or childcare on average.
While providing material necessities for their families is one of the primary roles of a father, which might even necessitate long absences from home in particular circumstances, Japanese culture seems to have made it the father’s only role. Japanese companies expect their male employees to be devoted to them both during working hours and even socializing after the end of office hours. This likely leads to many Japanese having a rather distant relationship to their fathers or maybe only getting to know them later in life.
The Japanese government appears to want to change this way of living and allows for both parents to have up to 52 weeks of parental leave, retaining at least 60% of their salaries. However, many men fear their company taking a poor view of them taking advantage of this leave and will often not even be present even at the birth of their children! So, the government is trying to change minds by an ikumen propaganda campaign. Ikumen is formed by combining the words for childcare (ikuji) and hunk (ikemen) and conveys the image of a strong, sexy dad who loves spending time with his young children. You see, they think that the birth rate can be increased if women believe that becoming mothers won’t be the end of their careers because their husbands will take part of the load in childcare. (Many Japanese women quit their jobs after becoming mothers in order to care for their children full time.)
I fully support this idea of a dad able to have a work/family balance, and its success might very well lead to Japanese families having more children. However, it’s not for the reason they state: women developing their own careers instead of being devoted to care of the home always leads to smaller families! The reproductive cost of women has always been higher than that of men, and often means that women must choose between a career or children. The real benefit to having men take more involvement in the care of their children is twofold: 1) the children gain in their education by receiving more formation from their fathers and 2) the fathers themselves will love and value their families more through spending more direct time with them. The latter will likely encourage fathers to have more children, and the former benefit will probably create young men who will want to replicate that kind of family life. At any rate, any change which makes fathers less like cogs in the machine of the Japanese economy will be a good thing. Who wants to be just a cog? If one must be a cog, it should at least serve a good purpose for one’s own life.
But, I have a sense that some of my readers have a better understanding of how Japanese culture works, especially as it relates to fathers working white-collar jobs. Please let me know what you think about this issue in the comments. Also, what did you think of the movie Suzume?
Going to the Theater: Suzume
Having watched Your Name and Weathering with You, I am eager to see and support Makoto Shinkai’s Suzume by paying a visit to the theater tomorrow. I have already read that its quality does not match the other two films, but that it still makes for a good movie. The main plot revolves around a young girl trying to stop a series of earthquakes which have resulted from her helping a stranger find a peculiar door. Well, one can’t write much about what one does not know, so I’ll stop while I’m ahead.
Has anyone seen Suzume or have plans to see it in the near future?
The Results of Removing UY’s Soul
The most important thing for any film adaptation is to recreate the feel of the original work. Slavishly adhering to the original plot is not necessary as long as the main features of the story are retained and its essence is transferred from the page to the screen. The 1978 Urusei Yatsura accomplished the task of retaining the essence of the manga in spades. One wonders why the new 2022 version was ever made. Many people are put off by older styles of animation, and I suppose that the animators thought that they could render the story palatable to new audiences. The 2022 version changes the veneer of the tale without replicating the soul of it. The result is that people are still better off watching the 1978 version of Urusei Yatsura–if they can’t stand the animation, tough!
Rating the Anime of Spring 2022
You know, there were too many anime worth watching during the spring season. Only one ranked as high as four stars in my opinion, but the ten anime I watched were quite enjoyable. Conversely, only three anime struck me as worth watching the Summer 2022 season: When Will Ayumu Make his Move, Call of the Night and Lycoris Recoil. Maybe I’ll add Cyberpunk: Edgerunner and Utawarerumono: Mask of Truth to that short list. I love most of what Trigger has done. The first Utawarerumono is still one of my all time favorites. Even though Utawarerumono: The False Faces was a complete disaster, I still feel compelled to try out their most recent attempt to craft a tale within this world. Feel free to recommend some new titles to me below.
At any rate, Vivaldi’s La Stravaganza plays in the background. Let me get on with rating last season!
- The Executioner and Her Way of Life ★★★1/2
Fantasy anime are a dime a dozen, and only rarely does the setting really stand out for me. The Executioner and Her Way of Life sets itself apart by containing a setting where…well…I don’t want to say it, even though it’s not actually a spoiler. You just won’t be shocked and appalled the way I was during episode one. The unique conceit with this isekai is that Japanese people are immediately slaughtered as soon as this world’s church discovers them. Otherworlders all carry special powers, which have gotten out of control in the past and have caused mass destruction, e.g. one entire continent being turned to salt. At the same time, the people of this world have adopted some Japanese technology (enough to give the world an early 19th century feel) and the Japanese language for its common tongue.
Our heroine, the priestess and assassin Menou, a.k.a. Flarette, discovers that some royals have summoned a Japanese high school girl named Akari inside one of their castles. Having infiltrated the castle, Menou claims to Akari that she wants to rescue her–only to assassinate her in the middle of the “rescue.” However, Akari has the power to turn back time, which leads to her reviving moments later. Menou realizes that she needs special help to liquidate Akari. So, she continues their pretend friendship as she takes Akari on a journey to her death.
There’s a dark setting for you! However, the characters tend to be very amusing to watch. There are some great fight scenes. I can promise you a unique fantasy anime experience with this show.
Quick Takes for a New Year
Let me wish you all a much belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If I was a proper blogger, you’d have heard from me twice ere now and November (NaBloPoMo) would have been filled to the brim with posts–instead of just the last one. My New Year’s resolutions include writing a post once a week–here or on another blog. The causes for me slipping in regard to post output were a greater workload and too much concern for prosaic matters (money, work, health, etc.).
Another cause lay in me suffering from acedia, which is defined as sorrow in regard to spiritual goods. Prayer, the Holy Mass, and reading Catholic books became so difficult that I started cutting corners, which of course only increased my spiritual sloth. This spirit of acedia oppressed me such that I prayed a deliverance prayer found in Fr. Chad Ripperger’s book Deliverance Prayers: For Use by the Laity. You know what? All of the spiritual works above became easier and produced more joy afterwards. Having been delivered from acedia, I hope to engage myself more in writing and other things I have neglected.Continue reading
The Tipsy Pelican Tavern Series
The Tipsy Pelican Tavern series is an English fantasy series in the tradition of Japan’s light novels. I happened upon the series quite by accident while searching for a new light novel to read on Kindle. The alluring blonde on the cover drew me in and, for $3 (I think that’s what I paid then, it’s $5 now), it seemed worth a shot. The premise of the series starts with the legendary hero Archibold Stormblood faking his death in order to live in obscurity as a tavern owner. In this world, people gain extraordinary powers by opening “gates” within themselves. These gates give the user additional awareness, strength, stamina, speed, and magical powers. The number of gates someone has opened is apparent to any individual capable of using magic, so Stormblood closed all of his gates. (Stormblood had opened nine. To put that in perspective, an individual with three gates open is very rare.) A tavern keeper with even one gate open is unheard of, and its existence would blow his cover.
Although Archie would love to lead a quiet life of crafting new brews and pleasing his patrons along with his longtime servant Charm his new employee Elsa, trouble seeks him out in the form of the Templar Cassia. (In true light novel fashion, Archie attracts more nubile women to his acquaintance over the course of these two novels.) Cassia realizes Archie’s true identity and tries to enlist him in a quest to defeat an elder dragon. Archie refuses, but Cassia persists–even taking a job at the Tipsy Pelican Tavern in order to stay close to him.Continue reading
Reblog: The Roman Martyrs and 86ers
Here’s my latest post on Beneath the Tangles. I want to get more into the story of 86 and might pick up the light novels in the near future. For now, I hope that you enjoy this brief meditation on some similarities between the Roman Martyrs and 86ers. Click on the link below.
The Roman Martyrs and 86ers
Reblog: Lust Will Be Dispatched
I’m back to writing for Beneath the Tangles again. May this become a habit! This recent post covers my reflections on lust which were inspired by episode six of Combatants Will Be Dispatched. I hope that you enjoy it.
P.S. I apologize if anyone finds that image a little too gruesome.
June: The Month of the Sacred Heart
Last month, Catholics celebrated St. Mary, the Mother of the Lord. This month long devotion is very popular in Catholic circles, as is the devotion to the Rosary for the month of October. (In my church, a statue of Our Blessed Lady stood near the sanctuary for each mass.) The Church has established a particular devotion for every month of the year. While the May devotion to Mary is universally popular, many people tend to neglect June’s devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
When we ponder the Sacred Heart of the Savior, we learn more clearly the love He bears the human race. The Sacred Heart is depicted as being covered in thorns and immersed in flames with a cross at the top. The thorns represent the insults and offenses directed at the Lord, particularly against the Holy Eucharist by which Our Lord wishes to remain present to us until the end of time. That the cross and the thorns are surrounded by fire indicates that neither the most evil event in human history, the Crucifixion of Christ, nor the sins we daily commit can extinguish the Love of God for mankind.Continue reading
On Survival Anime
Recently, I finished High-Rise Invasion on Netflix. Netflix has some great anime, though certain other programs with blasphemous depictions of Christ make it hard to recommend the service. If it were not for the kindness of a family member obtaining it for me, High Rise Invasion might have remained permanently off my watch list. At the same time, there are plenty of arguments that the pros of having a Netflix account outweigh the cons. One can note that they might just not be in the business of discriminating against content on religious grounds. (Plenty of Christian films play on Netflix also.) Others say that boycotting Netflix in a monolithic fashion does not effect them, so enjoy your movies. At any rate, follow your conscience.
My first exposure to High-Rise Invasion came in the form of the original manga by Tsuina Miura, who is also known for Ajin. I think of Ajin as a masterpiece, so there is little surprise that I enjoy High-Rise Invasion. Having written that, the two stories could not be more different. Ajin has characters who can’t die. Death stalks the characters of High-Rise Invasion at every turn. Most of the characters in Ajin are male, while females take the most important roles in the other one. Ajin eschews fanservice. High-Rise Invasion embraces it. On a final note of difference, Ajin‘s greatest character is the villain, Sato, while the heroine of High-Rise Invasion, Yuri Honjo, stands above the rest of the cast. It is almost as if the mangaka decided to reverse everything except the use of gore in order to make this more recent story.Continue reading
Some April Quick Takes
Hisashiburi da, ne? Yours truly is going to try to make up for the long gap between now and my last post with some quick takes. I rely on this format too much. One day, you may see some more posts like “Contra Divitias: Kill la Kill’s Opprobrium of Wealth” or, everyone’s favorite, “Shogo Makishima: the Villain who Should be Hero.” Today is not that day, but I hope that you enjoy what I’ve written below.
Yesterday marked the 9th anniversary of Medieval Otaku. Most blogs don’t last that long, and it’s obvious to me why they don’t: one seldom has the same level of passion for a subject or time to write about it as when one began. The sad thing about that is how often someone finds this blog and tells me how much they enjoy reading these scribblings. This indicates how much certain people still like to read about old anime, which I’m more inclined to write about these days–when I write at all. You also make me guilty, and guilt is the font of productivity–as a psychologist might tell you about conscientious people.
I have turned more towards reading manga of late than watching anime. Here’s an exhaustive list of the stuff in my collection. (Assume that I own the complete set unless otherwise noted.) Tell me whether you notice some of your favorites below:
- Full Metal Panic
- Gunsmith Cats
- Rurouni Kenshin
- Gun Blaze West
- Busou Renkin (vols. 1-7)
- Geobreeders (vols. 1-9)
- Full Metal Alchemist (vols. 3-7)
- Silencer (vol. 1)
- Samurai Deeper Kyo (vols. 1-26)
- Claymore (vols. 1-16)
- Gunslinger Girl
- Azumanga Daioh
- Black Cat
- Chrono Crusade
- Maison Ikkoku (collector’s edition vols. 1-3)
- Urusei Yatsura (collector’s edition vols. 1-9)
Most of those are in English, but Inuyasha, Geobreeders, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Nobuhiro Watsuki’s works are in Japanese. My manga collection used to be larger, but I have since pared it down to only include those works which I will read more than once.
I hope that you have all enjoyed a fruitful Holy Week and a happy Easter Sunday. There is still more of the Easter season to celebrate. This next Sunday is called Divine Mercy Sunday. Catholics who receive the sacrament of penance within eight days (before or after) of receiving Holy Communion on that Sunday and say a short prayer invoking Divine Mercy (e.g. “Jesus, have mercy on me a sinner” or “Jesus, I trust in you”) may receive a plenary indulgence. A plenary indulgence refers to a full pardon from God of all temporal punishments, either on earth or in purgatory, for sin. The qualification “may receive” is added above because a plenary indulgence requires the recipient not to even have an attachment to venial sin. If one is still attached to certain venial sins, the indulgence is partial.
Be that as it may, Christ promised St. Faustina, to whom he delivered the revelation that the Sunday after Easter be dedicated to His Divine Mercy, that the treasuries of His Mercy will be open that day. He intended this feast to prepare the world for His Second Coming. So, be sure that one will receive a significant indulgence on that day even if not a full one!
The mangaka who most catches my attention now is Rumiko Takahashi. Her work Inuyasha ignited my passion for both manga and the Japanese language. The slow translation of Inuyasha into English inspired me to learn the original language, and VIZ Media finished translating it years after I had read the entire series. Takahashi’s Japanese is pretty easy to read and sure to inspire any neophyte learner of the language that he’s making great progress.
Having said that, I am reading Urusei Yatsura and Maison Ikkoku in English now. Part of me wishes that I did not take the lazy way: Takahashi loves puns, and the translator sometimes really stretches to come up with English equivalents. The complete tankobun edition of Ranma 1/2 only goes for around $50, so that might end up on my shelves in the original. Maybe I’ll pick up Mermaid Forest in the near future.
At this point in my manga reading hobby, I’ve determined that it really is better to read manga as a physical book or in an e-book. Reading manga online often comes with too many ads and slow loading times.
Kindles are too convenient. A Kindle Paperwhite sits by my bedside as a dedicated e-reader, and it houses a library in a device small enough to fit into a large jacket pocket. Of the twenty-five books I’ve read so far this year, only seven were not on one of my Kindles. I find the Kindle Fire 8 is better for reading manga while the Paperwhite excels it for standard books. Looking at all the books I have lying unread around the house makes me feel guilty about using Kindle almost exclusively. Does anyone else experience a similar feeling?
Since the CCP Virus has spread around the world, China has made a ton of money selling masks and other medical supplies to afflicted nations. For my part, I’ve decided to boycott Chinese tea until that government pays some kind of reparations for their part in spreading COVID-19 across the world. It’s impossible to cut out Chinese products completely from one’s life, but tea is a different story. I confess that Chinese tea is the best in the world (though the Indians likely produce better black tea), but one can still get excellent tea from Japan, Taiwan, India, Ceylon, Nepal, Kenya, and even South Carolina. I feel as much need to buy Chinese tea as I do to buy Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager.
I hope that all of my dear readers have watched The Wind Rises. Hayao Miyazaki provides us with an animated biography of Jiro Hirokoshi, the designer of Japan’s famed Zero fighter plane. The movie was very well done. Recently, I came across a book titled Zero, which was written by Jiro Hirokoshi and Masatake Okumiya, a Japanese army officer. It chronicles the introduction of the Zero in the Second Sino-Japanese War, which began in 1937 and lasted until the end of WWII, and continues until Japan’s defeat. I have not come across another book dealing with WWII from the Japanese perspective and find this one fascinating.
May you hear from me again soon!
An Early Merry Christmas
Before being swept up into the Christmas work week, I want to wish all of my dear readers a Merry Christmas. (May all of you have had a more fruitful Advent than mine. I felt more prepared for Christ’s coming on the first week. Errare est humanum. Whatever readiness I now feel, I credit to the grace and mercy of God.) Since months have passed since my last post, I also wish to confirm the fact that I am still alive. The plague has not taken me down! My reasons for writing so little come down to a lack of inspiration, less free time, more distraction, and plain and simple sloth–or perhaps rather acedia. (Here’s yet another article I wrote on that capital sin.) Speaking of a lack of inspiration, is anyone enjoying the current anime season (Or enjoy the last one for that matter?) all that much? Iwakakeru, Yashahime, Jujustu Kaisen, and Golden Kamuy form my watch list, but I find myself often preferring to read a book or an old manga.
My interests pertinent to this blog are still alive. Deo iuvante, you shall see one more post before Christmas. Anno Domini 2020 has been a crazy year. If the things happening this year occurred in 2000, I might have believed the apocalyptic prophecies abounding at that time. We want pain, difficulty, and complexity to be quickly solved and out of our lives–even problems of which we are only cognizant of because of the news and social media.Continue reading
Watch List for Summer Anime of 2020
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Putting pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard can be more difficult than one might think. Last time–April 29th, I remember promising to write more frequently. I think that jinxed me. So, as much as I want to tell you to expect more posts, I shall say instead that you’ll be lucky to read another post from me this side of 2021.
At any rate, one of those posts which I ought to have written was on Spring 2020’s anime. If you remember, I only watched Sing “Yesterday” for Me, Wave! Listen to Me, and My Next Life as a Villainess. This season turned out somewhat better in me finding five anime to watch. (Seven to nine anime used to catch my attention every season, but I must have come to the conclusion at some point that life is too short to watch bad anime. Or, maybe not: I did watch Sing “Yesterday” for Me.) Take a look at the following five anime, and tell me whether I’m missing out on anything good.
Here is a true masterpiece of the time-traveling, samurai, monster-slaying genre. Everyone should be watching Gibiate, ready to rate it five stars, and sending Crunchyroll e-mails, postcards, and handwritten letters of thanks for producing this anime. This counts as a welcome break from your standard fare of magic academies, high school rom-coms, harems, and isekai.
8th Anniversary Quick Takes
This blog’s eighth anniversary came and went on April 5th without comment. Oops! Hopefully, I blog a little more regularly next month. May these quick takes in some way make up for my lack of posting!
I have finally made progress in Ashita no Joe II. Joe Yabuki is almost in position to fight his greatest rival to date: Bantamweight World Champion Jose Mendoza. (It’s funny to consider that most of the strong and tough boxers in this anime weigh 118 pounds or less!) The buildup to this fight has been even more intense than the one between Rikiishi Touru and our hero.
Cardinal Burke on Coronavirus
Here’s another day on which I’m too tired to write. You’ll find a link below with an article from Cardinal Burke if you’re so inclined.
Cardinal Burke: Message on the Combat against the Coronavirus, COVID-19 – https://wp.me/pYA4j-dM4
That Lame Fight in In/Spectre
I’ve highly enjoyed the past few episodes of In/Spectre, but the battle of Steel Lady Nanase vs. Kuro has much for me to gripe about. If you haven’t watched this anime, you might want to stop reading now. The problems of this fight can’t be discussed without spoilers.