Category Archives: Christian Living

Manabi: The Real God Girl

You know the episode is good if you can squeeze 2 or more posts out of it :3 And I didn’t even have to try.

High as a Kite

Haruhi Suzumiya appeals to the earthly notion of God: someone who is powerful to craft reality through sheer power.

But the God I serve works it much more like Manami Amamiya, who makes miracles by putting people together–from friends to buddies–to do things that only buddies can accomplish. Manabi lives in a reality that is a fulfilled future, and she brings her prophetic “vision” of how things could be to inspire and bring people together. This is really what is so “heartful” about Manabi Straight.

What’s probably a little disingenuous is how apparent it all is in the show. They really make it clear with the whole seeing thing. To some end I derive a lot of joy out of watching Manabi Straight just out of my personal perspective alone. And nonetheless I think a fair look at episode 11 would suggest that the animation quality, while isn’t jaw-droppingly gorgeous as Haruhi Suzumiya 12, is well thought-out and fluid when it is necessary. The rocking out scene, to me, was better done because the body movements felt more natural, sans the strange synchronousness of the band. Granted, in a real live people tend NOT to move around as much, but I guess they had to do it to satisfy some notion of “good animation” by serving it up to the fans.

And it’s a dekkai zettai ryouiki jamboree, for real.

Seeing reality for more than what it is–beyond flesh and blood and the physical–is part of the human experience. People relate to each other, and that’s the foundation of society and meaningful human existence. Merely puppeting your surrounding to amuse yourself may be a lot of fun, but it’s a hollow thing at the end. No matter how much of a god Haruhi is she can’t meet her internal, mental, and psychological needs with just her powers alone. In fact her search for aliens and espers and time travelers goes to show that those are the sort of things we look for to fill our needs.

Granted, looking to Mikan to fill your needs is not that different than looking to Kyon to do the same, so well, there’s plenty of reasons to like both shows :)

What Music Means to Me?

Dir En Grey, 9/1/2006

I was trying to figure out a way to do some housekeeping without just blatantly pouring out a list of unconnected things aside from a glorified version of “what I did this past weekend.” TJ was an inspiration to this solution, so props to his strange list. The irony is here that I’m going to get way more intimate than his little list will ever do to tell us about TJ_han.

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Your Life as a Sports Manga

This is sort of off-topic, but as with all things building up to a climax, it gets exciting.

Violence and Sex - the Essence of Batting Sports

A bunch of guys I know and regularly run into are playing in a softball tournament. They made into the playoffs (out of 20 some odd teams?) and they have a big game today, which may or may not be rained out (it is suppose to start in half an hour).

Honestly, I don’t really care that much about it. I am interested at all only because I know these guys. But hearing their story it’s exactly the sort of thing that lines up a good, classic shounen (or shoujo, even) baseball manga story. Complete with a prayer-miracle last-half-inning home runs, dramatic relationships between families and lovers (many of them are married), parents and children, friends and rivals, what have you.

The only thing we’re missing is spring training in rural China, swinging under a waterfall in Spain, or seeking legendary pitching techniques in the savanna plains of Mozambique. And even I say this jokingly, some of them might end up at those places doing something softball-related.

And even the rain-out big game.

If I had a pickup truck, I’d be tailgating.

Sometime, when I see some funny Phoneix Wright parody of trial lawyering, I get the same feeling. When drama is bigger than real life, it’s fun to read about it or watch it on TV or even play a game. Learning how to bring that passion into the actual practice, however, is nigh difficult if even possible.

Ah well, I suppose it’s not a matter of being able to enjoy two very different things the same way, but rather as they are? It certainly makes a real-life miracle at-bat all that more miraculous.

Speaking of manga, though–Brocoli Books is looking for bloggers to review their crap. Let them know if you’re interested.

Love Languages For Lonely Losers

Living from moments of affirmation to the next, challenged by the harsh reality of both that they are rare and they are sometimes colder than what you’d expect, I return to question how I live as a fan, and as a person.

That’s what really pushed a story like Welcome to the NHK to my mind’s fore. The manga takes a much more worldly and humane road. Do people even think about having your parent walking on you while masturbating? Or rather, they probably don’t do so out of a positive force, but out of fear. That’s something I can’t really relate to well, but maybe you can tell me just how often this happens.

But we need not to go there–that’s just funny hijinks which makes Welcome to the NHK an edgy story that may be relevant to our interests. What is definitely relevant to mine is how it talks about the NEET/hikkikomori generation. How luxury provided us with escapism. How while hard work pays off usually, but laziness pays off now always. Or for some people, the journey to find your soul is long and tedious. Idealism battles realism, and unfortunately sometimes one has to die. Or sometimes it is just a sad fact of life: not everyone can make it out there. Rejection is a part of life.

In as far as generally emo people are difficult to confront and communicate with, anime can be a powerful platform to communicate something. Real life caseworkers for hikkikomori patients do rely on some of these common topics like video games and manga to start knocking. Persistence to push them to face the music works sometimes, too. It’s about communication, either by charm or by force.

Originally I was going to talk about love languages, but this thread of thought bridges the divide from literary to the literal. The sad fact is that a large number of Japan’s youths are locked up. It happens for all kinds of reasons which I won’t get into here. Be it a middle school in Hokkoaido or Neo Venezia on the Planet Aqua, there’s a connection. It’s about the uplifting message of humanism.

KOTOKO said so as much when she was asked. No man or woman is an island, and it’s hard overcoming that oppressive lie, that gap between what you think it ought to be and what it really could be. People like her puts that kind of emotion into the work they produce. It’s sympathy, compassion, love.

And just in so many ways love can express itself, we are not going to see what we are not looking for. If your definition of love is narrow, you are going to miss a lot of love speak. If you can’t sympathize, you will have problem understanding a lot of love speak. If you can’t love, then there’s nothing to be said. In as much reality is cruel, it’s important to hold onto some trace of innocence and ideals to keep you living like a person who can speak love.

A Genuine Confession

In some ways I’m glad most porn games are terrible, because I don’t know what I’d do when I run across a good one.

In as much as the fact that I do play them, I have to confess. This entry isn’t titled “A Genuine Repentance” because I don’t know how I’m going to get to that stage, yet. Believe it or not, I am on the way there and I think it’s a place I want to be, and it is nice to not feel terrible after spending an hour which amounts to a total waste. Ah well, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the beginning.

Faith is like a seed, but so is temptation. When I not only download (another thing I am slowly working away with), but play a porn game, it means that I’m probably:

  • Bored.
  • Not just that, but have something better to do, and is being a bit escapist.
  • And I’m not suppose to be playing it (cos I won’t get myself into a position where I am supposed to…? With maybe one exception of playing it because I’m doing someone a favor.)

But that is just the rational reasons. In as much I am shameless enough to blog about this in public, the point I wanted to make is that I don’t really think it’s good for me to play porn games. In one sense, I am doing so out of my respect of advice of others. In another sense, I do it as a dare to myself in overcoming sensualism. Black Lagoon shouldn’t compel me even if it is really compelling, should I choose to resist. Purity of mind is not just an ideal state, it is holiness and a desire. If I have the choice to yield my soul to God or to devil, I should have the choice to not yield to either, at least being able to maintain the illusion thereof. I don’t really care much in reality what happens when I do give in, but philosophically it just seems to be a prudent idea to not to give in. The little bit of logical reasons to not to give in pushes it over.

On the other hand, there is no deny in the “high” one could get through the right kind of porn. Women would not be able to seduce men if that was not the case, God forbid, and for the sake of gender equality some men likewise will fall to this vice (for the sake of argument). World economy will shrink in crazy numbers. People will fall out of jobs, entire industries dying and marketing has to rethink and reinvent itself. I suppose that’s not all bad, but in a greater sense porn has its place in the world.

In as much as all good things comes from God (again, for the sake of argument), some things are better than others. Perhaps it is all just an exercise to know what is better and to not give those up for things less. That’s just one take on the matter, I know, but it’s awfully close to where I stand on it.

I suppose if I am to confess I ought to come clean with it. First, I did play a porn game just today, and I enjoyed it. It compelled me to blog this confession partly because I feel the need to voice out, in the sea of general acceptance of this kind of things amongst the fans, that some people choose to draw the line at this place. However, partly I blog about it out of its goodness. In our fallen world truths are often half-truths, a whisper of praise and recognition of a bad thing may stand in honest and purity. Like shiitake on cow dong. By recognizing that it is good I have to do the game creators the least that I could do: link to them.

The real confession, and conviction comes, from that ultimately if I were to play by the rules I outlined above I will always be shackled to things that I despise. Fairness and goodness demand it. In the chain reaction of half-truths and broken but beautiful things, I have learned to love it. It is probably a greater sin in that.

Of course, thankfully, you all know the answer to that Catch 22, RIGHT?