On the Danger of Flying Witch and Its Ilk

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Here is the article I promised on magic in anime, which will especially focus on Flying Witch.  My arguements proceed from several premises, developed from Catholic theology and my years reading fantasy fiction, which I shall list here:

  1. All occult magic–i.e. not the kind resorting to deception or sleight of hand–in the real world is evil.
  2. Magic in the real world is evil because it involves the diabolic.
  3. To encourage or to support magic or the occult is always wrong.
  4. In fiction, there can exist types of magic not associated with the diabolic because the rules of fictional world and settings are not those of the real world.
  5. The decision to approve or condemn a fictional work’s portrayal of magic depends upon its similarity to the occult and whether it presents the magic as positive or negative.

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Hamatora’s Anti-Christ

As well as being a very enjoyable story, Hamatora asked a few interesting questions.  In particular, the way Moral framed his obsession with strength intrigued me because he used similar arguments to Dostoyevski’s Raskolnikov.  In both Raskolnikov and Moral’s understanding, only the weak are bound by morality.  The strong are not bound by moral laws–what C. S. Lewis or Lao Tzu would call the Tao.  Moral finds the order of the universe–that there exist strong and weak–inherently unjust, especially with some people in Hamatora being able to advance farther than their fellow men through having special powers.  His solution revolves around eliminating the weak through giving all people special powers.  Moral believes himself to be the Messiah, except that his mission and methods turn him into a mere anti-christ–and St. John the Evangelist tells us that many of them exist.

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Yet, one does wonder whether a central tenet of Moral’s ideology is correct even though his methods are heinous: that weakness must be eliminated.  After all, human beings do spent a great deal of time eliminating their weaknesses: exercising, studying, practicing skills, and practicing willpower.  People tend to hate weakness both in themselves and others.  A villain in Claymore even went so far as to say “Impotence is a sin.”  But if yet another villain agrees that weakness is so horrible, it implies that despising weakness and the weak is a quality of villains.

Demand Power

Moral’s problem comes in making strength and the elimination of weakness into an ultimate value.  Even if he attempted to do this without resorting to villainy, he would still be in the wrong.  A society with strength as its basis lacks charity.  Due to regarding usefulness and strength as the most important qualities, Spartans exposed sickly or malformed infants, and the ancient Indians killed their sick.  The fact of the matter is that God established certain strengths and weaknesses in everybody.  As God told St. Catherine of Siena, this forces us to practice mutual charity.  The same lesson can be gleaned from the Scriptures in St. Paul’s passages on each being given diverging spiritual gifts and the Church as a body (1 Corinthians 12).  The Middle ages in particular has a unique understanding of each member of society forming an integral part of the whole.

An Angry Three

The very strong physically are often weak mentally and vice versa.  This often comes of people discerning their gifts and pursuing them in despite of other parts of their humanity, but it reminds one that we need others.  Moral’s system would destroy the links between people and all need for chivalry or charity.  It is in this way that Moral acts as the anti-christ: claiming that certain people are not needed and thus subverting the order established by God.  One must ever be suspicious of people who wish to change the natural or even traditional order of society!

Nice is speaking for all of us here.

Nice is speaking for all of us here.

It is even the case that we must tolerate the moral foibles of our fellow men.  How would we win the crown of patience if we did not have to deal with quick-tempered Irene, the stubborn Brad, the avaricious Jean, the arrogant Claude, the slothful Clarissa, or the air-headed Desmond?  (These are not real people, by the way!)  We stand culpable for moral faults, but we must bear with them in ourselves and others until God sees fit to change them–knowing that we ourselves have placed obstacles to uprooting these vices in God’s way.  Love stands as the essential Christian virtue, and love is made like unto God when we not only love saintly, strong, beautiful, and smart people but also weak, poor, sinful, stupid, and ugly people.  Our goal is none other than to fulfill the New Commandment: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another,” (John 13:34).  A system which would eliminate the difficult to love is anti-christ.  For, God made us all and for all to love one another.

Taking a bite