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.

Lust Will Be Dispatched

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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
  • Inuyasha
  • 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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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.


1) Gibiate

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.

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The Greatest Knight: the remarkable life of William Marshal, the power behind five English thrones – Thomas Asbridge

I recently finished this book and wanted to write a review of it. However, I find myself far too tired to write today. And so, I’m pleased to refer you to this blog, which conveys a similar impression to mine of the book in question.

By the way, one of the reasons William Marshall is called “the greatest knight” happens to do with the fact that he defeated 500 other knights in tournaments and on the battlefield–fighting his last battle at age 70! Anyone with an interest in medieval times will enjoy this book.

itsonlywordsweb

I knew a little about William Marshal – he’s cropped up in quite a few books about the early Plantagenets – but I didn’t know anything about where he came from and how he became the go-to man when Kings were having problems hanging onto their thrones.

This book does an excellent job filling in those gaps and, as far as possible with someone who lived such a long time ago, bring the person to life.

I loved the story of the discovery of the manuscript in the 19th century that turned out to be a 13th century biography/hagiography of William, possibly commissioned by his son. This means that far more can be learned about William than about most of his contemporaries. The author of this book is quite clear about taking some of his source materials, including this manuscript, with a pinch of salt. I also like…

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Calling Every Odd Creature a Demon

Dream Eater Merry recalled a qualm I have about people who sub and dub anime. They translate most supernatural creatures from Japanese folklore as “demon.” The word demon points to a specific kind of creature: an intellectual spirit who refused to serve God and was damned for all eternity. They now roam the earth in order to tempt others into the same fate—for ultimately the same crime.

You might point out that the word demon did not originally mean devil. The ancient Greeks imagined that various places in the natural world had deities attached to them. These spirits were unknown within standard Greek mythology, and the pagans called them demons. Yet, it’s good practice to spell this kind of demon as daimon or daemon in order to help the reader separate this kind of spirit from a fallen angel. After all, Socrates claimed that he had a daemon who would tell him not to do wrong. The notion of a demon telling someone to avoid sin strikes one as preposterous.

Obviously a demon.

Very often, the same creatures referred to as demons in anime are more accurately called fairies. Yes, the Japanese do have a word which tends to get translated as fairy—yousei. But, if you look at European folklore, you’ll see that fairies or the fair folk or the longaevi cover a wider spectrum than small humanoids with tiny wings. Also, fairy can describe a malevolent, benevolent, or indifferent kind of creature—unlike the malevolent beings we call demons.

Still, I do imagine audiences would laugh at seeing Inuyasha boast that he wishes to become an “honest-to-goodness full fairy.” (There are at least two senses in which the above is funny; though, the slang for a man with same-sex attraction might be far from their minds when dealing with youkai.) Why not simply use the word youkai? English does this all the time when we come to unfamiliar concepts. Just make the word English with a properly Anglicized pronunciation. Let the viewer expand their horizons. Only use the word demon for akuma, which is how the Japanese translate the Christian concept of a fallen angel.

In Dream Eater Merry, the supernatural beings are not exactly “dream demons” but muma.  According to my big, fat kanji dictionary, muma is simply Japanese for nightmare or a disturbing dream.  Why not then translate muma as “nightmare”?  The heroine Merry originally calls herself a nightmare, but later becomes known as a baku for defeating nightmares.  Baku are spirits which eat nightmares but might turn around and devour a child’s hopes and dreams if called too often.  Oddly enough, there is one nightmare in the series who only does the later.  One might describe the battle between her and Merry as one between two baku–one good and one evil.

True enough, nightmares are not usually beings with personal agency.  In that way, the nightmares in Dream Eater Merry are more like demons in having agency.  But, the author is obviously personifying nightmares, and a viewer would eventually go along with this personification.  My main gripe still stands: stop calling every odd creature in anime a demon!

A Missive to My Dear Readers

Hi, there! It’s been a long time since y’all have heard from me. Since I’m not sure what to write, the following will simply consist of things which have been on my mind. First, I’ve lived long enough in the South to start saying “y’all.” As one who has lived in the North for most of his life, that “y’all” should ever pass my teeth’s barrier save in jest comes as a great surprise. Maybe five years will see me fully assimilated to Dixie. One gentleman did tell me, after I mentioned that Alabama would replace New Jersey as my residence of choice, that I would fit in just fine. That my ancestors originally settled in colonial Maryland and would fight for the South in the Unpleasant Affair of 1861-1865 has perhaps left an indelible mark in my blood.

The second thing which comes to mind is that I would like to post during this time of being cooped up in our homes. To that end, I desire to post once every day until the seventh anniversary of this blog. As an “essential worker” during the Kung flu pandemic, I’ll be out of the house most days for 8-9 hours before hunkering down with my food, supplies, ammunition, and toilet paper. (Who ever thought that people would obsessively buy toilet paper for weeks? I have ten rolls myself and expect them to last a coon’s age. Yet, some psychopaths apparently feel they need a dozen twenty-four count containers of the stuff.) I should have enough time to scribble at least three hundred words on a random topic if not more.

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The Rest of that Thanksgiving Post

Here we are on December 22nd, nearly Christmas, and you’ve yet to hear about those eight other anime which were mentioned back in the “Happy Yankee Thanksgiving” post!  Well, my dear readers have waited long enough.  Without further ado, here they are:

1) Patlabor

Through the encouragement of a good friend who is also a big fan of this anime, I decided to give Patlabor a try.  This lighthearted anime still manages to provide some great combat, suspense, and intrigue.  It also helps that the characters are very likeable.  I haven’t formulated a full opinion of Patlabor yet, but I can guarantee that it’s fun. (Hidive)


2) Ranma 1/2

Many fans of Rumiko Takahashi consider Ranma 1/2 to be her best work–others say Urusei Yatsura, and yet others Inuyasha.  (A friend of mine theorizes that it depends on which one saw first.  Inuyasha is the one for me.)  Ranma 1/2 will appeal especially to those who love martial arts comedy.  After over 60 episodes, I don’t feel bored of it yet. (Hulu, Vudu)


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Sunshine Award 2019

Thanks Jusuchin of A Journey Through Life for nominating me for the Sunshine Award!  It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these award posts, and I have a couple of others which I need to do–including rating Spring 2019 and telling you all what I intend to do about this season.  At any rate, please give Jusuchin’s blog a visit.  He tends follow one or two anime a season.  His choices always have plenty of action and come near to my own tastes in anime.

Here are the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog so that other people can visit them
  • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the nominator
  • Nominate 11 bloggers of your choosing and provide them with a new set of 11 questions to answer
  • Notify the nominees by commenting on one of their blog posts
  • List the rules and display The Sunshine Blogger Award logo within your post or on your blog site.

Now, let me answer those eleven questions.


1) What got you into anime and how old were you?

My recollection places me at age fifteen around my sophomore year of high school.  Millennials have been dubbed “the Cartoon Generation,” so it seems only natural that I would eventually discover that anime existed as a separate genre of cartoons.  Coming across Vampire Hunter D and Rurouni Kenshin on Toonami kindled my interest in anime and the rest is history.

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How The Hell Does The Rising of the Shield Hero Support Slavery?

I think this is a very nice post about Shield Hero and the Slavery controversy. 100% accurate to the actual messages the show presents.

Unnecessary exclamation mark!

We’re more than halfway through The Rising of the Shield Hero, and two things have been consistent: the quality of Kevin Penkin’s incredible soundtrack for the show, and the outrage of many Western anime fans, bloggers and critics over the story’s ‘controversial’ elements. From the first episode alone, many denounced the series for its use of a false rape accusation to establish it’s central conflict, claiming this to be outright misogynistic or simply in poor taste in the wake of ‘#MeToo’ activism. But beyond that initial furor, another outcry has been consistently present on social media.

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Boy With Luv (작은 것들을 위한 시) by BTS feat. Halsey

It’s good to see some quick takes from Nami again. Be sure to give these a look.

The Drama Llama

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It seems cliche to choose BTS’s new title song as the song for this week but I did it because of the Korean title – 작은 것들을 위한 시, literally meaning in English, “A Poem for Small Things.”

It’s about a lover who is entirely absorbed in their beloved and wanting to know everything about them. It’s not deep in the sense of being the most beautifully made iteration of this idea, but it’s a pleasant, joyous, euphoric one.  And despite what some might say, it completes a logical progression plot-wise from “Boy in Luv” and even through “DNA” and “Fake Love.”

“Boy in Luv” is the angsty adolescent love focused on self; “DNA” revels in the romance and speaks as if it’s fated, de-emphasizing choice; “Fake Love” reveals that destiny and feelings might not be the best way to determine love; and “Boy with Luv” is…

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Reflections on The Rising of the Shield Hero, Episode 4: Lullaby at Dawn

Here’s a great and well-written post on episode 4 of The Rising of the Shield Hero. The author is new to the aniblogosphere, but this is a great start. Who would have thought that Naofumi and Motoyasu suffer from the same defect?

Beneath the Tangles

Today’s guest post comes from The Varangian, a writer and podcaster who comes to us through his friend (and yours and ours), Medieval Otaku. I hope you enjoy his excellent reflections on the most recent episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero which, if you haven’t seen it yet, in turn demonstrates just how special this series may be.

The Rising of the Shield Hero has been a trial by fire both for our heroes and for the audience, as best shield boy Naofumi has endured betrayal, false accusation, slander, ostracism, and a good deal of bad manners. The only bright spot in this very dark place has been his relationship with Raphtalia, who might be the salvation of him yet—as long as she’s given the chance. In the fourth episode, “Lullaby at Dawn” they (and we) are subjected to an agonizingly severe test of their bonds, a test…

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usylessly unreadable Blue Book of Eccles (part I of ??!)

No one has ever made reading James Joyce sound appealing to me before. That alone should interest my dear readers enough to take a look at this post.

Res Praeclarae

Now for the good stuff. In rereading Ulysses and dipping into Finnegans Wake and Richard Ellmann’s biography of James Joyce, it’s become clear that the man is one of those artists who I have a foundational, yet utterly complicated and baffling relationship with. It will take some time to completely hash things out.

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Winter 2019 Anime Impressions

Always happy to see posts from Cytrus. It looks like another anime blogger is tackling ten anime this season. See if one of these shows catches your fancy.

Yaranakya

Out of the blue, some short impressions on stuff I will be following this winter.

Honourable mentions, good but probably won’t be keeping up with: Endro, HizaUe, Kotobuki

B class residents:

TateYuusha/Rising of Shield Hero: Isekai adaptation blessed with a motivated staff and a decent budget. I felt the opening was a bit too heavy-handed for its own good, but the series has more unique ideas later down the line. Now it is all a matter of whether a proper plot direction can be established and whether character chemistry can save the series from mediocrity. Very easy to follow, though, with a constant mix of action, humour and character development.

Kemurikusa: There is a lot to Kemurikusa that feels fresh, and that is its main forte. The setting, plot progression and dialogue flow are simply different from any other production of the season. That said, the pacing is on the…

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