Friday, April 12, 2013

Anime Life (Some Awesome Things Anime’s have Taught Me)

Ok, so I haven't seen too much anime, but what I have watched I have really enjoyed. Obviously, like any genre there are good and bad, and some that are mixed. Some of my favorite include my childhood favorite; Digimon, and more recent watches; Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and Soul Eater. Plus, some awesome movies (Miyazaki's stuff for sure!) and games. Overall I have always been impressed by the character depth that the writers put into these. In most cases, characters are not just defined as “good” or “bad,” they are mixed, all of them.
Here are some cool concepts I have over and over in anime:

Viewpoint is important: 
Often I find I have to correct myself for feeling as though someone is wrong for doing or believing something I wouldn’t. Now, I do believe there is a right and wrong, a true morality, but for many things, people act based on their experience. Anime’s help remind me of this, that where one comes from and what they have learned is right, effects how they act toward the world. Often, in anime, even the “enemy’s” believe they are doing the right thing from their perspective. Even main characters do things that they feel is right, but end up wrecking more havoc than not having done anything. I suppose this is another big anime concept, the importance of choices, they never just effect us.

Self-sacrifice is crucial: 
Self-sacrifice for the general population isn’t a huge topic in individualist cultures like ours. Unless it is someone we love, sacrificing ones-self seems counterproductive (probably explains why we allow such a thing as a homeless veteran to happen). Often in anime characters will sacrifice their own selves to save the greater population from evil. I remember, even as a child, finding that fascinating. In many of these shows characters would literally sacrifice their lives or "life-forces" for the greater good, in hope of a better future. These were intense moments of both sadness and hope, such a strange combination. Don’t shield yourselves from that reality, it is the truth of freedom not being free. For life there is always death. Even our very own Jesus died, sacrificed His own self, because He knew how much we needed to be free.  

Forgiveness, Atonement, and Redemption: 
This is probably my favorite topics of anime. It is the intensiveness of true hope. The evil characters can be seen as trapped by their own evil, and also need saving. It is easy as people to fall into the trap of seeing other people, especially those who act in true evil, as the enemy. We see the cruel things they have done, and desire to see justice done (but we deserved justice too!). As Christians though, we must see them as they really are! Victims, captives of their own sin and evil. These are the people who need saving, the ones that are wrecked by pain and sin. Nothing brings me more pleasure than watching the character you thought was the villain in the beginning, see their mistake, ask for forgiveness, and find redemption. It isn’t instantaneous, often a journey ensues, or a search for atonement, but they find themselves later, fighting the very thing they were. It reminds me to have hope for people, all people. Jesus died for sinners, me, you, all of us. Every person has a chance, not all will take it, but there is forgiveness and redemption. If you forget one day, look into your own heart and see how you too need saving. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn says “the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being.” That is true enough.

Anyway, I am sure there are many things to learn from many places, these are just a few I noticed while watching some of my favorite anime. No go watch anime and look for these things!

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