Day 1 of 10 Days to 500 Anime: A Silent Voice

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My hearty thanks go out to everyone who voted in the poll in order to pick out what movies I’ll be watching.  As of yesterday morning, these eight movies rank the highest:

  1. A Silent Voice
  2. The Boy and the Beast
  3. Millennium Actress
  4. Up on Poppy Hill
  5. In this Corner of the World
  6. Grave of the Fireflies
  7. Eve no Jikan
  8. Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works the Movie

Following those eight, the two movies I picked out of 2nd and Charles, Submarine Revolution 707 (2003) and Ex-Driver the Movie (2002) will appear on days nine and ten.

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Voting on Ten Movies to 500 Anime

About every two years I add one hundred anime to my Watched list.  (Not too impressive when you consider that shorts, OVAs, and movies also count as separate titles and that I stay away from series with over twenty-six episodes.)  Also, as usual every two years, I want to let my dear readers vote upon what I watch to finish out this new hundred.  Since I ran into Ex-Driver and Submarine 707 Revolution the Movie at my local 2nd and Charles bookstore, you will get to vote on eight of the last ten.  (I think of 2nd and Charles as an earthly paradise of sorts.  Book, manga, and anime lovers who live nearby such a store know what I mean.)  Below is a list of thirty-two movies from my Want to Watch list arranged by production date, please select eight choices.  I intend to review each and every movie in the final lineup.

Thanks for your input on which movies will be in the new series of posts!  Be sure to pass the poll onto your friends so that they can throw in their two cents also.  The poll will remain active through January 23rd.  If a group of movies require a tie breaking vote, I’ll hold another such poll afterwards.  Thanks again!

EDIT: I notice that one title did not come out properly in the poll.  Where you see “(2015),” it ought to read “<Harmony> (2015).”

Forgotten Review: Girls’ Last Tour

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Girls’ Last Tour ★★★ 1/2

Don’t ask me how I forgot to review Girls’ Last Tour yesterday, for this oversight is a mystery even to me.  If anything can explain it, it’s the fact that I dropped the anime for a while until some commentators convinced me to give it another try.  (Yours truly ought to more frequently apply the three episode rule.)  Reading Infinite Zenith’s “Girls’ Last Tour (Shōjo Shūmatsu Ryokō): Full Series Review and Recommendation” reminded me of the fact that I had both watched the show and not reviewed it on my blog.  Infinite Zenith features very detailed posts with plenty of screenshots, and I highly encourage all my dear readers to read the post linked to above.

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What first attracted me to this anime was how unique the setting was.  As a lover of snowy settings and post-Apocalyptic tales, I had to give this show a try.  As the series unrolled, one could see that the mangaka essentially explored what makes life worth living.  Each episode provided one possible answer, and overall the mangaka simply answers “friends.”

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Rating the Anime of Fall 2017

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The time has come for my season review.  The seven anime I watched rated from two to four and a half stars with only two shows receiving the same rating.  This is to say that my shows run the gamut from disappointing to near masterpieces.  Fall 2017 well rounded out a good year for anime: the quality of the shows were generally good even if nothing truly spectacular came about.  I’ll write more about this when I write about my top five shows of last year.  The shows below rank from least to greatest.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

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7) Dies Irae ★★

As a cross between Fate/Stay Night and Hellsing, this show boasted a unique atmosphere–one of the most unique of the season.  It also boasted some likable characters, and one really roots for the hero to overcome the immortal Nazis trying to massacre his city.  The above makes me sad that I cannot in justice give it more than two stars.  Though the plot eventually becomes discernible, the events in the anime tend to be scatterbrained and the tale descends into bloody and disturbing violence.  The flashback to Sister Liza Brenner’s past as the mother of Lebensborn was probably the most disturbing part of the anime.

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Spice and Wolf’s Author Supporting Medieval Studies

I found this pretty interesting.  Isuna Hasekura has contributed to a new Medieval European Studies journal published during autumn of last year.  The acknowledgements read: “We gratefully acknowledge a generous donation from Mr. Isuna Hasekura and Mr. Nobuo Matsuki which made the launching of Spicilegium possible.”  Cytrus, a dear reader and fellow blogger, once sent me a reading list of what Hasekura studied in order to write Spice and Wolf, but I had no idea that his passion for the Middle Ages was great enough for him to sponsor a historical journal!  Spicilegium is run by the Japan Society for Medieval European Studies, and I hope to read their first issue soon.  As of now, it only contains three articles, but I hope that the journal will grow in the future.

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On another note, I hope to be publishing blogs more regularly in the near future, so look forward to that!

Reblog: 12 Days of Anime Christmas, Day 6: The Irresponsible Captain Taylor and Reverence for the Sacred

Here’s my last post on Beneath the Tangles.  I might very well be the only writer to inveigh against something which annoyed them in an anime Christmas episode, but here it is:

12 Days of Anime Christmas, Day 6: The Irresponsible Captain Taylor and Reverence for the Sacred

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Some nice fellow did me the honor of translating this post into Spanish.  I think this counts as the first time my work has been translated, for which I am very grateful.  Muchas gracias!

12 días de Navidad Anime, día 6: El ‘Irresponsable capitán Tylor’ y la reverencia por lo sagrado

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On my Devotion to Padre Pio

Recently, I received a couple of questions from Luminas, a great follower of this blog, through the “Ask Medieval” page.  The first will be answered in this post and the second in a later one.  After that, I have high hopes of answering my next dear reader and hope for many more questions to follow!

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This question concerns why I am so devoted to Padre Pio over other saints who are similar in many ways.  First, let me start by describing Catholic worship and devotion for those who might not be so familiar with it.  It consists of three levels denoted by their Greek names: latria, hyperdulia, and dulia.  Latria refers to worship giving to God alone as Author of the Universe, Savior of the Human Race, and Source of All Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.  Hyperdulia refers specifically to the reverence paid to the Blessed Virgin Mary for being the Mother of God, the human being whose cooperation was most essential for humanity’s salvation, and the most graced human being in all of history.  Dulia refers to the reverence paid to the saints and angels for being devout servants of God and dear friends of God deserving of imitation.  Latria is absolutely necessary for salvation, hyperdulia morally necessary, and dulia necessary to practice when obligated by one’s diocese (as in a saint’s feast day being declared a holy day of obligation) but mostly subject to personal taste.  Having said that, many spiritual authors strongly recommend devotion to St. Michael, St. Joseph, and the holy angels as a group.  Be sure to thank your guardian angel for putting up with you so patiently since your days in the cradle!

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Curiously Dead Cat Blog

I just discovered the blog of a contributor to Beneath the Tangles named Dr. Steve.  He wrote to me about his new blog, and I recall being very impressed with his article, “What Can a Succubus Teach us about Chastity?”  (There’s an impressive eye-catching title!)  He’s also written “Platitudes and Power in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War” and “Communion and the Food of the Gods in Restaurant to Another World” for Beneath the Tangles.  TWWK encouraged him to make his own blog, and Curiously Dead Cat resulted from this advice.

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His favorite show is Gate, by the way.

With such interesting posts behind him, I decided to check out his new blog.  Curiously Dead Cat has only been around since November 29th, but it has a nice assortment of articles out by now.  My eye was particularly drawn to his posts on Shirayuki Hime (I really need to watch that show) and Recovery of an MMO Junkie, which is my favorite show of the current season–what a shame that it only airs for ten episodes!  I rather enjoyed Dr. Steve’s (who now uses the handle NegativePrimes) post on the opening song of the latter anime and how it displays the idea of the characters having their identities fragmented between real life and the internet world.

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At any rate, be sure to check out his blog.  You’ll be glad that you did!

Knighthood in the Modern Age

My first question received under the “Ask Medieval” feature came from Gaharet and concerns how knighthood can be carried into the modern age.  To paraphrase, what are the essential features of knighthood and how might one be a modern knight?  The first quality of a knight is to be able to fight.  All other qualities of a knight surround the central fact of the knight being a warrior.  A knight may hesitate to strike a blow, but will not hit weakly when his hand is forced.  To that end in modern times, knowledge of how to shoot and martial arts are eminently desirable.  Next there comes keeping fit and healthy for action.  Thirdly, a knowledge of Historical European Martial Arts, though archaic, help in staying fit and better imagining what combat was like from a medieval knight’s perspective.

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The central virtue of the knight is courage.  The word courage derives from the French word for heart.  The knight must take care to keep his heart pure lest the taint of sin lead him to use force wantonly.  To which end, the virtues of faith, charity, chastity, honesty, magnanimity, obedience, loyalty, and good cheer are necessary.  To perfect his character still more, the knight ought to take on the mantle of meekness, not vaunting his own achievements but giving the glory to God.  The knight par excellence is a Christian gentleman.

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Reblog: The Real Place of Phos’s People in Fractured Humanity

Yesterday, a post I wrote for Beneath the Tangles was released on the site.  Therein, I wax philosophical on human nature and the place of the will, using an interesting myth given by the jellyfish-like character King in the anine Houseki no Kuni.  I hope that you enjoy it–or that you will at least enjoy my lengthy quote from St. Catherine of Siena’s famous dialogue with God.  Click on the link below!

The Real Place of Phos’s People in Fractured Humanity

Mid-Season Review: Anime Fall 2017

tolkien-pipeThere comes a time in a blogger’s career when he must stuff a pipe, light it, and let nicotine act as his muse.  At least, that’s how I feel as I sit down to write this mid-season review.  Now, my list contains seven shows–the seventh being the formerly dropped Girls’ Last Tour.  (That’s a much easier title to remember than Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou.)  Not much happens plotwise in this show, but I think that I’ve discovered its thematic plot now that I’m four episodes in.  (Yes, I’ve not quite caught up; but, I want to get my thoughts down now before I start procrastinating.)  By the way, let me thank Gaheret for submitting a query through “Ask Medieval.”  I hope to post my reply to him soon–as soon as I write that article for Beneath the Tangles.

At any rate, let’s begin those reviews!

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1) Girls’ Last Tour

Yes, it appears that I dropped this show too soon.  It does get more interesting after episode one, even if the episodes remain slow.  The fact that the characters are not boys (Does this not seem the perfect setting for a boys’ adventure tale?) does not bother me as much anymore.  More bothersome to me now is the heroines continually wearing those helmets in freezing weather.  People often marvel that knights kept their armor on in the frigid campaigns against the Baltic pagans and the arid crusades against the Saracens.  A helmet magnifies the cold in the same way as medieval armor!  In reality, out heroines would both have stowed their helmets away long ago.  Can’t we get a slice of realism with our moé?

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Happy Thanksgiving and a New Feature

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Or, minna, Kanshasai omedetou gozaimasu!   Don’t fail to be grateful to God for your life, faith, family, friends, feasting, gifts, talents, virtues, intellect, grace, health, country, possessions, and all good things which come from our Heavenly Father.

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Be grateful that you’re not a character in Galaxy Express 999.

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Western Civilization Exists for the Mass

This article makes a very interesting point, and it also brings up a famous petition signed by none other than Agatha Christi to preserve the original Latin mass. Their efforts gave England and Wales special permission to use it in addition to the modern mass within their parishes.

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Many are stunned today at the speed in which western civilization is collapsing. Coinciding with this is the post-conciliar crisis within the Church, the fourth great crisis of Christendom as it has been described by that great defender of orthodoxy, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan. What may not be as clear too many is the connection between the destruction of the Mass and of the collapse of the Christian west.

One man who understood this connection was Dr. John Senior, professor of English, Literature, and Classics and co-founder of the very successful Integrated Humanities Program at the University of Kansas. Dr. Senior taught for decades at the university level. He was also a convert to the Catholic faith, devoted to the traditional Mass and an attendee of Immaculata Chapel (SSPX) in St. Mary’s, Kansas.

Senior has been credited with inspiring a generation of young men and…

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Which ACCA-13 District Fits Your Personality and Career Goals?

Here’s an interesting post. If you remember the districts from this fascinating show, you can likely figure out which district I picked before reaching my comment. My runner up was Dowa.

Read the post and see where you’d like to reside if it were possible!

JAPANime Talks

We all have things that we want – things we desire.

And while those things require different degrees of effort, time and resources, there are factors that play crucial roles in the realization of one’s desires.

They are things that become your foundation before embarking on a much bigger and exciting journey ahead. For instance, the place where you grew up. 

Birthplace, of course, is not everything. But it does, at some point, give birth to your beliefs and influence your actions.

And when it comes to associating one’s birthplace with current societal status, nothing defines it better than the anime series, ACCA: 13-ku Kansatsu-ka (ACCA:  13 – Territory Inspection Dept.)

So let’s go visit Dowa Kingdom and see which district will make you feel at home while at the same time help realize your life goals!

PESHI – The Port District

This district is home to the kingdom’s best…

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Reblog: Girls’ Last Tour Episode 5

This post by Karandi has me reconsidering whether I was right to drop this show.

Review: Normally I would be the first to describe something like Girls’ Last Tour as dull. The plot does not exist other than two girls travelling around seemingly deserted world occasionally looking for food but mostly without any kind of direction. The two characters, while charming, aren’t anything particularly note worthy. Even the setting, post […]

via Girls’ Last Tour Episode 5: Beauty in Simplicity — 100WordAnime

Reblog: Can Christians Watch Anime?

TWWK of Beneath the Tangles wrote a very good article on what Christians need to think about when deciding whether to watch anime or not.  I highly encourage my dear readers to peruse it.  I’ve linked to it below.

Also, Beneath the Tangles is having a Patreon drive involving giving to a charity for orphans.  One of the new patrons will have the possibility of winning a copy of the film Your Name.  Something you might want to consider.

Can Christians Watch Anime

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Kino no Tabi -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series (Episode 4)

A Journey Through Life

Kino no Tabi -the Beautiful World- the Animated Series (Episode 4)

Since mass combat rolls didn’t need me, a ground pounder, while starfighters and starships in orbit are doing things, I decided to watch (with lowered volume) to watch Kino no Tabi’s fourth episode. This writeup was then delayed for a few days. Thank Goodness I don’t have a predetermined release schedule.

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Perfect Blue and Black Swan: An Homage to Insanity

Wow, it’s not often that one finds an anime post which quotes from scholarly journals! This is a very fascinating look at how Black Swan (2010) is a remake of Satoshi Kon’s Perfect Blue.

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Alright kids. Let’s get a little pretentious.

I would love to publish some of this more formal work every once in awhile, when I get a chance, sometimes I find it fun to get a little deep and show off how much of a literal genius I am.

So. Without further ado, here we go.

Perfect Blue and Black Swan: An Homage to Insanity

In a dark city, a young artist driven to insanity as a result of the intense mental strain given to her by the performance art that she partakes in. The description above is a plot synopsis that might cause a film to jump to mind, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan (2010).  But, this synopsis also describes the plot of the 1997 Japanese animated film Perfect Blue, directed by Satoshi Kon. Both films share many comparable features: main characters whose names are eerily similar (Nina and…

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10 Japanese Superstitions

November is National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), and I always try to post something every day during this time. Here’s a reblog from the Otaku Lounge on Japanese superstitions. This post will have some which you’ve never heard of.

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One of the most interesting aspects to me about visiting another country is hearing about common superstitions. No matter how logical people may seem, no matter how grounded or rational the culture, there are always things that people will do or not do, say or not say, that are rooted firmly in myth and folklore. Some, like seeing a black cat cross your path, are common to many countries, while others are much more location-specific.

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Seven Anime for All Souls’ Day

You’ve probably read many posts about which anime to watch in celebration of Halloween. I missed the boat on that, but Halloween is actually part of a three day observance.  An alternate name for Halloween is All Hallows’ Eve, referring to it being the night before All Saints’ Day.  Today, after All Saints’ Day, comes All Souls’ Day.

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And so, we ought to be thinking about the afterlife over the course of these days.  While Halloween’s original purpose in time immemorial may have been for people to prepare for All Saints’ Day, the ghoulish costumes along with the emphasis on horror movies in October brings to mind hell rather than heaven.  On November 1st, we think of the blessed in heaven.  Today, we think instead of the poor souls who yet await the final cleansing of their souls before they enter the Pearly Gates.

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