Question/Concerns about Anime content

I am new to CAF and I usually just browse the threads, but I could not find a thread that answered my specific concerns, therefore I decided to sign up and ask for myself. Before I begin, I just want to give a brief description of myself and that is that I am a 23-year-old Catholic male. Now, for my question(s)/concern(s) about anime. I enjoy anime because of its artistic style, and I actually prefer it to American cartoons, but I am not an avid anime watcher because I do not possess that much time to delve in to it. However, from the anime shows I have watched and or want to watch, I wanted opinions from a Catholic/Christian lens on whether it is Catholic/Christian friendly and other related issues. For example, I recently viewed a couple of anime shows, such as “Berserk,” and “Cowboy Bebop.” Both shows contained questionable content concerning Catholic/Christian beliefs, such as violence, demons but I was not offended because I am old and mature enough to understand that it is a work of fiction and that I will not be influenced to follow what was portrayed in these shows. Furthermore, I am aware that these shows were created in a nation that was/is culturally based on Shintoism and Buddhism.
What I am concerned about is anime, which presents Christian symbolism or ideas in a rather unclear way. For example, I was searching for anime shows to watch, and I have come across several that sparked my interest but I am not sure if I should watch them.
“Neon Genesis Evangelion,” is one such show that I am interested in checking out. However, from what I have learned, the show is very heavy on Christian symbolism, because the creator of the show thought the symbols looked cool, but opinions vary on whether it is portrayed in a positive or negative light. After reading the plot outline, I am aware that angels are the primary antagonists sent to destroy the world, and that it is never disclosed whether they were Fallen angels, etc. Furthermore, that a questionable and perhaps immoral person with a shady past ascends as a hero of the show by taking on the angels. I am afraid that I may be annoyed when watching this show because of the improper use of Catholic/Christian symbolism. I am also annoyed that if for example younger audiences or non-Catholic/Christian audiences view this show, that they may get the wrong idea about Christianity in general. Should I just ignore my concerns and watch the show, just as I watched the other shows previously mentioned because again, I am old and mature enough not to be influenced by the material? Furthermore, should I as a Catholic even watch anime considering that it contains questionable material concerning my belief system? Should I feel guilty that enjoyed shows such as, “Berserk” or “Cowboy Bebop?”Moreover, if I can watch anime, what are some shows that you recommend for viewing? Thanks.

I found a lot of Christian philosophy in Yuu Yuu Hakusho and the (original, real) Fullmetal Alchemist. Others do not. But I’m always looking for that gem or nugget.

I found it also in GaoGaiGar, Hikaru no Go, and many other series. Even the ubiquitous DBZ, And in virtually everything from Studio Ghibli. But again, I’m searching for it (and keeping notes for a future book or article).

There are many who scoff at this notion and try to dismiss it as natural law. But who wrote natural law?

I disliked CB due to its nihilism, and also disliked NGE for the same reason (plus felony misuse of Christianity), but that doesn’t mean you should feel guilty for watching; that is up to you and your spiritual advisor.

I know nothing about Berserk. (So cannot comment about that).

PS: I’m not afraid of anime portrayals of ‘demons’ (which are mere cultural mythology and not actual demons-from-hell), nor am I all that concerned about ‘leakage’ from the Japanese culture. Japan was in fact evangelized by St. Francis Xavier, with many faithful Catholics holding onto their religion in secret, in the face of a death sentence. Fascinating story!

I watched some of EVA (what fans call it) long ago but I did find it questionable. It does seem as though people are fighting against angels or perhaps even God in some way. I could never stomach the show after the first few episodes so I dropped it. It may the that the show is more about the Jewish Kabbalah, but still it’s too close to religious content and seems too contrived for my tastes.

Still saying this, there are many good shows which don’t include potentially blasphemous contents or too much fanservice (if any at all). I could recommend something like Martian Successor Nadesico TV series, Serial Experiments Lain, Eden of the East (recent release), Full Metal Panic, Last Exile, all Studio Ghibli films, Grave of the Fireflies, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Kanon, Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 1 and 2,
K-On!, Azumanga Daioh!, Strawberry Marshmallow, Kare Kano etc. If you want a tear jerker there’s Grave of the Fireflies and for a little bit of a contrived tear jerker there is “Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai” (We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That Day). A good slice of life anime about Japanese hot springs is “Hanasaku Iroha”. There is also a very nice comedy-adventure anime called “Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi”. I think it has a very good pro-family message. In one episode a character reunites with her half sister and reconciles the differences she has with her. Issues of self sacrifice for siblings also occur in the series.
And for comedy’s sake there is Tora Dora! and Seitokai no Ichizon- which parodies the whole genre.
A good suspense anime is Stein’s Gate.

Probably the most meaningful animation here and anywhere else would be Grave of the Fireflies, then all the Studio Ghibli films and then Ghost in the Shell and Serial Experiments Lain. Serial Experiments Lain does have a quasi religious outlook but it is favourable to theism. Other shows are either neutral or portray themes which are compatible or even promoted by Christianity. Fanservice is mostly minimal or non-existent.

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