Category Archives: Anime

What A Witch Taught Me About The Virgin Mary

Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: [It] is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence.” Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle. (Emphasis mine.)
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 405

As a Catholic, one aspect of my faith that I struggle with is the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Image result for mary queen of heaven

It’s not fair, I’ve thought more than once. If God can just create people free from Original Sin, like Mary, and thus spare them the possibility of ending up in a place like Hell, why doesn’t He do that for everyone?

I know God is love. I know God has a plan. But still: I look at all the horror in the world…

Image result for emoji movie shit happens

…and think Can God do nothing?

I’ll struggle with these questions all my life.

But, lately, I’ve found something that makes the struggle more bearable: Witchcraft. Specifically: Kiki, from Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

Image result for kiki's delivery service kiki gif

Kiki helps me to understand what it can mean for a person to be free from sin.

Having recently re-watched Kiki’s Delivery Service, there is only one instance I can remember where Kiki committed an act that could be called a “sin.” She disobeys a cop, running away from him upon being told to stay put after causing an accident. But the accident was just that — an accident. And after the cop dashed off to pursue a thief, there was no telling when he’d be back. Or if he’d even be back at all. She does avoid a police car she sees driving through the park. But, other than taking a page out of Johnny’s playbook…

…Kiki is a law-abiding citizen. As free from imperfection as Mary.

I often imagined Mary as emotionless, mindlessly going through one aspect of God’s plan to the next because there was nothing keeping her from doing otherwise. Mary was a puppet, and God was pulling her strings.

But, as a result of Kiki, I no longer think such a thing. I believe the absence of sin doesn’t mean the absence of one’s humanity (i.e., one’s emotions, feelings, and intellect). What it means is the perfection of one’s humanity; one’s humanity being directed toward that which will do the most good for all.

I think of my favorite scene in the film. Kiki goes to an old woman’s house in order to deliver a birthday present to her granddaughter. Only to find that, because of a broken oven, the potpie has not been baked and, thus, there is no delivery to make. Saddened that the delivery girl came all this way for nothing, Madame asks her maidservant to pay Kiki anyway. Not feeling that it is right to take money from a person she has done nothing for, Kiki insists on baking Madame’s gift in an older, long-neglected oven instead.

Related image

It is her desire to help others, and her insistence on a job well done, that drive Kiki to go above and beyond the call of duty. “A desire to help others” and “An insistence on a job well done” being qualities that I believe anyone, regardless of their beliefs or absence of beliefs, would praise. Such qualities are examples of human nature at its best. In such a situation, who wouldn’t want to be Kiki?

Related image
“Your mother must be proud.”

I believe Mary is the same way. She goes above and beyond the call of duty for the sake of the well-being of others.

Upon being told that God would impregnate her, Mary’s reaction was not…

…it was: “Let it be done to me according to your will.” (Luke 1:38)

To me, Mary always seemed alien and unapproachable. How could I even begin to have any kind of relationship with such a person? Every word I read about her, I felt like she was rubbing her perfection in my face. Scolding me for not being just like her. As a result, my feelings for Mary turned from revulsion, to jealously, to anger.

But no more. Through Kiki, I believe I can better see how Mary lives.

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”

Advertisements

The Garden

Picking a flower from the garden
I know there is a world out there for me

Woman

These words are slightly different than words in “Arrietty’s Song” by Cecile Corbel (an instrumental version of which is below) which was the first thing that came mind when I saw the piece of art posted above:

Thank you to the beautiful little girl who made the piece of art used in this post possible.

Why I Don’t Like Sex Scenes

Note: Graphic content.

Now that school is back with a vengeance, my relaxation time has been limited.

Thus, I’m still on Shizune’s arc in Katawa Shoujo.

Katawa Shoujo, I would say, is 90% “Great!” and 10% “No!”

Why? The sex scenes.

Katawa Shoujo1

And I’ve realized why, when it comes to a story’s content, I don’t object to, for example, a woman cutting her own arm off with an electric carving knife…

Evil Dead (2013)

…but as soon as clothes come off, I’m thinking Hands over the eyes!

The reason why is:

I feel like I’m seeing something I shouldn’t see.

What I mean by that is:

Ever see two people together and think I’ll just leave you two alone. I’m like that when it comes to sex scenes. I feel like I’m witnessing something that should only be witnessed by those two people.

As the reader or viewer — as an outsider looking in — I’m not one of the two people experiencing this intimate moment. And so the gravity of the moment is, ultimately, wasted on me. So it’s better if I remove myself entirely, for the sake of the moment. Thus, I close my eyes, press fast forward, click rapidly, or turn the page.

Though I’m not a fan of the sex scenes in Katawa Shoujo, thinking back on the two that have occurred so far, one thing I appreciate about Katawa Shoujo is that, true to the story’s name (“Crippled Girls”), no matter how explicit such scenes get, ultimately I never got the impression that the girls were objectified, treated as a means to an end, or otherwise seen as anything less than who they are: human beings.

God’s Not Dead 3 — Here We Go Again

Thoughts on A First Look at the Newest Movie in the GOD’S NOT DEAD Franchise:

I find it ironic that the subtitle of God’s Not Dead 3 (out March 30, 2018) is A Light In Darkness, seeing as how, if secular and Christian reviews are anything to judge by, neither of the previous two “God’s Not Dead” films were the light in the darkness that Christian art is supposed to be (Matthew 5: 14 — 16):

“To say God’s Not Dead preaches to the choir would be an understatement. It’s the pastor, staring in a mirror, preaching to himself.”
~ The A.V. Club

“There are serious movies about the Christian faith, about the persecution of the faithful, and about the intolerance that goes both ways. ‘God’s Not Dead 2’ is not one of them.”
~ www.rogerebert.com

“But on the whole, this movie really isn’t worth anyone’s time. And it’s startling to see that this film, of all films, has been so richly rewarded by the ‘faith-based market’. I shudder to think of what this bodes for the future of the genre.”
~ Peter Chattaway, God’s Not Dead

What the world needs is art that portrays goodness, truth, and beauty, regardless of where that goodness, truth, and beauty comes from.

“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

If you want more proof that the “God’s Not Dead” series is lacking goodness, truth, and beauty, this is the reaction an atheist (Mark) has to his girlfriend (Amy) telling him she has cancer:

Related image

Way to not read your catechism, Catholic screenwriters:

“Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam’s descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin – an inclination to evil that is called “concupiscence.” Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ’s grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.” (Emphasis mine.)
~ Catechism of the Catholic Church, Section 405

To me, no Christian who believes that a character like Mark is an accurate representation of an atheist has a leg to stand on when they criticize secular films for having one-dimensional Christian characters.

On a related note:

“The realistic, gritty atmosphere created by screenwriter/director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Daniel Day-Lewis as Daniel Plainview is tremendous. It is practically ruined, however, by Anderson’s evil caricature of Eli, the revenge-minded preacher, and the over-the-top, unrealistic performance of Paul Dano as Eli. In fact, THERE WILL BE BLOOD is one of the most mean-spirited, anti-Christian, superficial, and poorly played portrayals of religion ever created in movie history. God knows there have been plenty of insincere, sinful leaders in the Christian church, but there have also been many good Christians who have exposed and opposed such false leaders. The short length of most feature films often require stereotypes, even negative ones, to tell a good story, but when they are so mean-spirited, superficial and poorly played as this one is, they appeal only to narrow-minded bigots with an ax to grind, whose mental faculties and hearts have been poisoned by their sinful misanthropic prejudice. (Emphasis mine.)
~ Movieguide’s review of There Will Be Blood

Now let’s see what Movieguide thought of God’s Not Dead:

“There are a lot of stories in GOD’S NOT DEAD, but they work because they end up in the same place. The direction and acting are very good. The ending is terrific. GOD’S NOT DEAD is a powerful evangelistic movie. Even better, the entertainment value transcends the message. Viewers won’t be bored. They will be enlightened and inspired by GOD’S NOT DEAD.”

You reap what you sow. If you (Christians) don’t want to be seen as one-dimensional bad guys by non-Christians, than don’t make non-Christians one-dimensional bad guys.

In the universe of “God’s Not Dead,” atheists are devoid of empathy and compassion. Which reminds me of 0:26 — 0:48:

I don’t have high hopes for God’s Not Dead 3.

In conclusion:

If you’re looking for goodness, truth, and beauty — something to put a smile on your face; something to help light your way through the darkness — here are some pieces of art that do that for me (feel free to leave your own down in the comments):

“Caramella Girls” by Miku Hatsune

I like that to think that, when God confused peoples’ language at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11: 1 — 9), it was so that, one day, mankind would be able to listen to a Japanese pop star sing a song in Swedish.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”
~ Isaiah 55:12

“Obstacles” by Syd Matters

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
~ Proverbs 27:17

“Bataille Decisive” (“Decisive Battle”) from Neon Genesis Evangelion (“The Gospel of the New Century”)

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
~ Matthew 25:40

Interstellar (2014)

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
~ Psalm 19:1

“May the beauty which you pass on to generations still to come be such that it will stir them to wonder! Faced with the sacredness of life and of the human person, and before the marvels of the universe, wonder is the only appropriate attitude.”
Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Artists

Image may contain: text

Life Is Strange (2015)

“…let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
~ Matthew 5:14 — 16

And:

Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

“To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”
~ 1 Corinthians 12:7

Image result for kiki's delivery service gif

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

Abstinence Simulator: More Thoughts On “Katawa Shoujo”

First: My thoughts on Emi’s arc in the dating sim Katawa Shoujo:

  1. Everybody Wants Some
  2. The Dream Lives

Playing my second arc (Shizune’s), upon doing some research on it in order to know what I’m in for and reading about the other arcs too, I’ve come to the conclusion that sex is just something I’m going to have to accept in Katawa Shoujo.

Now, if you’ve read my other posts about Katawa Shoujo (so far), you know that I don’t think that sexual content is inherently bad. It’s how it’s handed that leaves me thinking:

Image result for jontron outta this house

Out of all the women, Emi is currently the only one whom I can see Hisao having sex with. And even then I’m thinking Keep it in your pants, woman! All in good time. I don’t know why. Is it because their relationship was built off of the physical (their daily morning runs are how they started spending time together) and so their physical displays of affection come across as natural to an extent that, for now, Shizune’s don’t? Shizune strikes me as more, for lack of a better word, intellectual.

I know I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t imagine Hisao and Shizune gettin’ it on. Regardless of how passionate their feelings for each other. I just want the two of them to play Risk instead. Wouldn’t that be something? Misha barging into Shizune’s room upon hearing a scream, only to find Hisao sweeping across Africa, Shizune burying her face in a pillow, shaking with barely-suppressed anger as, one by one, her armies fall.

Katawa Shoujo3

I know there’s the option to hide sexual content. Which I’m using.

I just wish that, seeing Shizune undress, I had the option to sign You deserve better.

The Dream Lives: Thoughts On Emi’s Arc

Earlier today I completed Emi’s arc in the visual novel Katawa Shoujo.

As far as I can tell, I got the Good Ending: Emi and I are a happy couple.

But it’s the way we’re happy that leaves me thinking Is this really “Good”?

To explain:

When Emi and Hisao first kissed, I felt like this:

Image result for giddy gif

“Natural” is the word I would use to describe everything leading up to that point. I had been worried that Katawa Shoujo would be nothing more than a male fantasy of women just throwing themselves at a guy. And I was glad that I was being proven wrong.

And, after that kiss, when Hisao’s and Emi’s relationship become more physical, though I didn’t agree with them having sex, I understood why it was happening. The sequence of events that led up to them becoming intimate had me thinking That makes sense.

It was only after Hisao and Emi started experimenting sexually — specifically: trying anal sex — that I finally thought OK. This is turning into what I was worried Katawa Shoujo would be. And though I believe I have an understanding of that now, in the end Emi’s arc leaves me disappointed.

I don’t really know how to continue at this point since my head is still in a whirl, so here in no particular order are the thoughts currently going through my head:

  1. For a woman who is afraid to open up to others, Emi certainly comes prepared for “opening up to others.”
  2. Despite their words of love and trust, Emi and Hisao still aren’t opening up to each other. At least, not  physically. What I mean is: When it comes to their souls, they are wearing no protection — there is nothing holding them back from sharing the deepest parts of themselves.
    Image result for katawa shoujo hisao emi
    Not so when it comes to their bodies. When it comes to their bodies, their mindset is “Don’t let too much out.” It comes across as dishonest. Like they’re saying “I love you. Not all of you, though.”
    Image result for man and woman usb port comic
  3. Emi’s arc was, to me, 10 minutes too long. If it had ended with Hisao and Emi embracing in front of her father’s grave, comforted by the knowledge that nothing would ever keep them apart, that would’ve been perfect. Instead, they go back to Emi’s dorm room for another night of sex. Which makes me think What would their relationship be like without the sex?
  4. The end of Emi’s arc made me appreciate a story like Life Is Strange more. In Life Is Strange, my love for my best friend Chloe was platonic. I chose not to kiss her because I didn’t want to feel like, from that point on, my relationship with Chloe was defined by that kiss — defined by a desire to be physically satisfied by her — instead of defined by a desire for Chloe’s well-being.
    Life is Strange37
  5. I wanted to love Emi’s arc. And for 6 of those 8 hours, I did. Those last two hours still had a lot that I loved. But, also much that I did not.
  6. Maybe I’m asking too much of a dating sim like Katawa Shoujo. Only time will tell whether I’m right or wrong.
  7. Don’t fail me now, fanfiction! *Starts writing own Emi arc*