Category Archives: Anime

Boundless Challenge: Week #11

OriginalPhoenix, I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the Boundless Challenge.

Boundless

My last entry in the challenge was almost a month ago.

The point of the challenge is to write about how I “lived boundless” this week — to write about one example every week of me doing more than I thought I was capable of.

And, I really do hate to say it, but: Lately, my neighbor’s cat has been more boundless than me.

Since I used to have two dogs — they died after living long, happy lives — my neighbor’s calico cat — that hangs out around my house because I give her food — has, for the longest time, resisted actually coming into the house. She must still be able to smell the dogs. But, over the weeks she’s made progress.

Yesterday she jumped on my couch and stayed there for 10 minutes before running to the door and meow-ing to be let out.

The light is bad, but here she is:

Image may contain: one or more people, cat and indoor

I call her “Kiki,”  thanks to Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

Why?

Because: Instead of delivering bread, Kiki the calico delivers “Aww!” Whenever I see her, I can’t help but go “Aww!” She always makes me do this:

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To get back on subject:

This week, I do have something to be Boundless about:

I finished the screenplay for my short film.

There will, undeniably, be more edits as I show it to people more knowledgeable about screenwriting than I. But, I’ve hit a wall: I feel like I’ve done everything for this screenplay that I, with my current knowledge of writing, can do. Hence why I consider it “finished.”

Have you ever felt like that? You write, and write, and write, and you get to a point where you look at what you’ve written and think I’ve done everything I can.

For weeks, my life has been relatively unexciting.

Just been trying to get more used to my job stocking shelves, since it’s the first job I’ve had in over 3 years. (School, family obligations, and soul-searching kept me busy during that time.)

When I’m not working, I’ve been listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack while I try and think of more ideas for screenplays…

…and spending time with my best friend. We hang out more frequently now, which I’m glad for. In my quest for awesomeness, I don’t want to neglect relationships.

What else has happened recently?

Well, thanks to Wild Woman Sisterhood

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…and some editing, I found a picture that captures what my short film is about:

Woman10 (2)

Regarding my short film:

I’ll write more on that later…

Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix for inspiring me to get back to doing the Boundless Challenge.

Her fiery, phoenix-y awesomeness is just what I needed today.

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Daily Prompt: Blindly

Not wanting to know what I will see, I close my eyes.

Blindly, I lay myself bare.

The eyes of all see all of me.

Their eyes, like fingers, search me.

And I wonder: Is the scream trying to escape my mouth one of pleasure or pain?

These words are inspired by the above image, from the anime A Lull in the Sea.

Thank you to littleanimeblog — that’s where I saw the image.

And thank you to wordsareallihave, for making me aware that today’s Daily Prompt was “Blindly.” She inspired me to write this post.

Thoughts On The Reality Of Evil

Throughout the movie, Louise is subject to visions of Hannah at various stages of maturation ranging from infant to adolescent. Her memories begin as innocent moments playing with her in the back yard or having a chat at the lake but then they take a turn when Hannah develops cancer, gets sick, and eventually dies. All of these wonderful moments she has with her daughter develop Louise’s rationale for deciding to have her at the end of the film. But why? Why bring Hannah into existence knowing full well that she will become the victim of natural evil (i.e. cancer) and suffer and die at a young age?

…there are certain virtues that display themselves only as a specific response to evil; for example, the soldier that jumps on a grenade or the father who drowns in a flood to save his children. While the soldier and father’s death is tragic and a product of the evil that exists, their sacrifice would not exist were it not for the presence of evil acts. In other words, a world with no evil contains less virtue than a world with evil.

…the world He created, from beginning to end, is designed to show us the immeasurable glory that flourishes in the midst of pain and suffering, to show us what true love can do in the face of evil…
~How ‘Arrival’ Affirms a Christian Worldview

Image result for arrival movie death

Reading these words last night, I was reminded of Illuvatar’s (God’s) words to the Ainur (angels) after Melkor’s (The Devil’s) failed rebellion in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion:

…no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.

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Having recently re-played episode 1 of Life is Strange that week, I found myself thinking, too, of Syd Matter’s “Obstacles”:

Let’s say sunshine for everyone
But as far as I can remember
We’ve been migratory animals
Living under changing weather

Someday we will foresee obstacles
Through the blizzard, through the blizzard
Today we will sell our uniform
Live together, live together

What do this movie (Arrival), this book (The Silmarillion), and this song (“Obstacles”) have in common?

1) An awareness that our world is not as it should be — for example: an awareness that there is something profoundly wrong with a person dying so young — and 2) A hope that suffering is not in vain.

According to my Catholic faith:

We lived in a world where there was “sunshine for everyone” (Eden).

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But, as a result of Adam’s and Eve’s sin…

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…as far as we can remember we’ve been “migratory animals living under changing weather.” We’ve been cast out of Eden, and have been trying to find our way back ever since.

There will come a day where we will “foresee obstacles through the blizzard” — we will see what it is that prevents us from being our best self — a day where we will cast off our shackles — “sell our uniform” — and “live together.” There will come a day where we will be reunited with the one we love, able to face life with a kind of knowledge that we did not have before. To me, that state of being sounds like Heaven.

Image result for where must we go we who wander this wasteland in search of our better selves

On a related note:

6:02 — 9:11:

My point with posting that video is:

Christopher Hitchens recognized that all is not as it should be — that our world is broken, and must be set right.

He recognized that it’s not enough to throw up one’s hands and say “Nothing really matters!”

He recognized that something did matter.

He recognized that injustice, like filth, needs to be washed away.

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Spirited Away (2001)

Feminism, Anime and Me

A thought-provoking, important post.

Though I do believe that fanservice can, at times, serve a good purpose — See my post Need Evidence That Good Will Triumph Over Evil? Look At A Woman’s Butt for why I believe that — ultimately, fanservice is something that should be gotten rid of.

All Hail Haruhi

As I type up this article there is a singular overriding voice in the back of my head saying:

“this should not exist”

To understand the thought process behind such a comment, you really need to look back at the history of All Hail Haruhi. Part introspective, part love letter, I want to tell you about the relationship I have with feminism, anime, this blog and even my own identity. Truthfully nothing I can say on the subject can be spoken of in a vacuum. A thousand invisible and interchangeable parts have collided to bring me to where I am today. So allow me to take you back to the beginning…

It was 2014, not so long ago, but a bygone memory given the rate in which the world has changed over these last two and a bit years. I was still on Reddit back then, no Twitter, no WordPress, only the largest…

View original post 2,774 more words

Why Christians Should Give “Kiki’s Delivery Service” A Chance

Note: I watched the movie in Japanese with English subtitles.

Reasons why I believe Christians should give Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) a chance. (Contains spoilers.)

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It is a positive portrayal of family

You don’t have to go far to find examples of Christians lamenting the state of the family in popular culture — lamenting how positive portrayals of an intact family consisting of father, mother, and child are, compared to decades ago, few and far between.

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Frozen (2013)

Christians going “Where are all the good families?” will surely be relieved by Kiki’s Delivery Service, with its positive portrayal of Kiki’s family…

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…as well as the positive portrayal of the family that gives Kiki a place to live when, following tradition, she leaves home for a year in order to find her purpose in life.

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It celebrates hard work and discerning one’s vocation

In Kiki’s Delivery Service, hard work is something to embrace, not avoid at all costs.

And discerning a vocation is something to commit oneself to.

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People who don’t discern…

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…are seen as snobs.

And people who don’t work…

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…are seen as stuck-up and ungrateful.

It is a positive portrayal of the elderly, and Christian living

Let’s compare Madame from Kiki’s Delivery Service to another old woman, an old woman from an explicitly Christian movie: Miss Clara from War Room (2015).

Miss Clara talks the talk…

…but does she walk the walk?

Compared to Madame, I would say “No.”

Madame has qualities that I don’t see in Miss Clara:

Madame makes up for her mistakes. She insists on paying the delivery girl even though there is no delivery to make.

In contrast: I don’t recall Miss Clara making a mistake — having a moment where she realizes “I messed up.”

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Madame has a passion. She likes to cook. Her specialty is herring and pumpkin pot pie.

In contrast: Miss Clara’s only passion seems to be her prayer life. Praying, of course, isn’t a bad thing. But: Miss Clara seems to do nothing but pray. And God did not create us to exist only on our knees: He also wants us to be creating, exploring, and learning too.

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Madame is willing to take others’ advice. She listens to Kiki when Kiki suggests using her old oven to bake her daughter’s present.

In contrast: Miss Clara gives advice but is never taught anything by Elizabeth Jordan, the woman she is trying to help. Miss Clara is the same at the end of the movie as she was at the beginning: she hasn’t grown as a person. The most growth that Miss Clara could be said to have is that, because of Elizabeth, she buys a smartphone.

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Madame uses her skills and passion for the benefit of others. To show Kiki her thanks for all that she has done for her, Madame bakes her cake.

Not everyone can bake a cake.

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Despite Miss Clara’s prayers and exhortations, Madame strikes me as the more Christian of the two women. Even though her religious beliefs are never known.

It’s beautiful

If excellence declares the glory of God, than Kiki’s Delivery Service is singing God’s glory.

Every shot in the movie looks like it’s from a painting:

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And the music… *sigh*

If I had to choose between living in a room at the top of a bakery in the fictional city of Koriko…

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…or living in the Jordans’ house…

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…I know which one I would pick.

It is explicitly spiritual

You don’t have to go far to find Christians lamenting the secularization of society. Which is why Christians should appreciate the spirituality evident in Kiki’s Delivery Service:

“We fly with our spirit.”

“That’s what I’m talking about! Trusting your spirit. The spirit that drives your friend to bake, me to paint, and you to fly, is the same spirit. Maybe the spirit comes from God.”

Related image

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When I was little, God was there and wonderfully granted my dream.
On mornings when I wake up with kindly feelings, even though I’ve grown up, miracles happen!
Opening the curtain, tranquil sunlight filtering through the trees.
If it envelopes me in tenderness, surely everything reflected in my eyes will be a message.
When I was little, God was there and every day he delivered love.
Inside my heart, I had forgotten my precious box of good memories.
The time to open it is now.
~An English translation of “If I’ve Been Enveloped In Tenderness”

In the world of Kiki’s Delivery Service, witches’ powers come from God, not Satan.

What’s wrong with taking something and reimagining it? Christians do it all the time.

For example: When it comes to Rock music, Christians went from this…

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…to this:

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And: C.S. Lewis frequently reimagined Pagan spirituality. For example: River gods (like the one in Prince Caspian) were ultimately subservient to Aslan.

Image result for river gods narnia Image result for aslan resurrection

Why can’t the same be done with witches?

In conclusion:

If you’re a Christian who is lamenting that there is very little you feel comfortable showing to your kids, show them Kiki’s Delivery Service.

Un-Christian: My thoughts on the Newboys’ song “God’s Not Dead”

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
~Philippians 4:8

Listening to “Always With Me” from Spirited Away (2001) while thinking about “God’s Not Dead” from God’s Not Dead (2014), I realized how different the two songs are.

“God’s Not Dead,” now that I think more about it, comes across as confrontational — like the Newsboys are telling me “Go on! Say ‘God is dead’! I dare you!” It doesn’t help that, in the music video, the song is sung as a reaction to scientists’ claim that “God is dead”:

In contrast, the words I would use to describe “Always With Me” would be “At peace.” No scientists’ claim is going to put this girl on the offensive: She’s just going to keep on believing, because she knows that someone greater than her is “always with me”:

“Violent” is the word I would use to describe the lyrics of “God’s Not Dead.” Lyrics like “dead,” “explode” and “revolution” are in service of a message about defeating one’s enemies: “In this world I’ll overcome.”

In contrast: Lyrics from “Always With Me”:

“So many tears of despair, uncountable through and through
I know on the other side of them I’ll be sure to find you”

In conclusion:

One of these songs strikes me as more Christian than the other.

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Why I Am Writing “I Have Found It”

For almost 3 weeks, I’ve been writing a short story called “I Have Found It.”

“I Have Found It” — Chapter 1

With this post, I wanted to explain how I see “I Have Found It” — I wanted to explain why the story is the way it is.

Now:

Why is the main character named “Eureka”?

Eureka is the name of the love interest in my favorite anime, Eureka Seven.

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There is so much that I admire about Eureka. And when I was thinking of what I wanted my main character to be like, I thought I want her to be like Eureka.

The two have the same names, and do share one other trait — a desire to be “emotionally naked”: open and honest with themselves and others — but that is where their similarities end.

How did I decide who Eureka is?

Eureka from Eureka Seven was one source of inspiration.

When creating Eureka, I mostly drew from my own experiences. For example: Eureka wants to be naked. And being naked is something that I have done twice:

My Experience Being Naked

Getting Naked

In “I Have Found It,” I wanted to convey the experiences I had during those two times, to help describe what Eureka goes through when she is naked.

Another example of drawing from my own life: During my second semester of college, for a week I was as sick as I have ever been, and afterwards, for a few weeks, had to use an inhaler because I had trouble breathing. It negatively effected my grades and was, overall, to put it lightly, a bummer. I don’t know what I was sick with, or why I got sick.

One bad semester. That’s all it took. Hard classes and illness ended my dream before I could make it begin.
~Chapter 5

My third source of inspiration for Eureka is fellow blogger sunshine lou.

Her post Naked vibes are good vibes — where she describes the peace and freedom that being naked gives her — made me think Her story needs to be told.

What I mean when I say “Her story needs to be told,” is this:

After reading a number of sunshine lou‘s posts, I felt that I needed to do what I could to make people aware that 1) There are people who go naked, 2) People go naked for good, wholesome reasons (a person isn’t weird or scary for choosing to be naked), 3) The human body isn’t to be feared, but understood, and 4) Being naked can teach you about yourself and the world.

I wrote “I Have Found It” to say:

“Here is a person who wants to be naked. Don’t judge her. Understand her.”

Is “I Have Found It” supposed to make a person want to get naked?

“I Have Found It” is about a character who spends a lot of time thinking about her nudity — why she wants to be naked, where she wants to be naked, and what being naked will mean for her, her faith, and her family.

Eureka recently came home from college, after dropping out because illness and bad grades made continuing her education impossible. And now, feeling like life is passing her by as she spends her days at home, not knowing where to go or what to do now that her dream of a college education has been smashed, she is trying to find a new inner balance.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve applied for a job. I’m helping my parents with their work. I’m not being lazy. But… It’s not enough. I’m not enough.
~Chapter 5

Which is where being naked comes along.

One day, undressing in order to shower, Eureka decides to, instead of stepping in the tub, step into the hallway. Walking around her apartment naked is an eye-opening experience for her: When she is naked, Eureka doesn’t see her apartment the same way that she sees it when she is clothed. And that change of perspective — that new way of looking at her life — is what Eureka feels she needs in order to break out of the rut that she finds herself in.

“When I’m naked, I feel like I’m as you created me to be, God. I’m humbled. I see myself, and I see the world, with new eyes. I finally feel like I can understand myself better. When I take off my clothes, I feel like I’m taking off whatever it was that stopped me from being who I wanted to be.”
~Chapter 5

It is not my intent to tell people “You should see the world like Eureka does.” My intent is to, as best as I can, tell a story about a point a woman is at in her life.

Is “I Have Found It” an anti-abortion story?

There is a “pro-life” theme that runs throughout “I Have Found It.” What I mean when I say that, is this:

As a result of an embarrassing accident in the middle of sex, Eureka finds herself confronted with the reality that, thanks to the man’s seed not ending up where it’s supposed to, a potential life has been snuffed out — instead of ending up in the warm, safe place that is Eureka’s womb, what could have, after 9 months, become Eureka’s kid, is ending up in the dark, cold place that is the sewer.

Eureka is anti-abortion (pro-life) in the sense that she acknowledges that what would have ended up in her womb is not just  “a clump of cells.” It is something that, given 9 months, will come out of her as a fully-formed human being.

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So, to answer the question “Is ‘I Have Found It’ an anti-abortion story?” I’ll repeat what I said above:

It is not my intent to tell people “You should see the world like Eureka does.” My intent is to, as best as I can, tell a story about a point a woman is at in her life.

For a moment, on the tip of my finger, was what could have become my kid…
~Chapter 2

Conclusion

Feedback is welcome on this post and any of my other posts.

Thank you for reading.

Have a good day.