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Anime Secret Santa 2016: Space Dandy

Space Dandy

(2014 – 24 Episodes)

There’s a blog called Reverse Thieves which I came across, thanks to my fellow staff members at Beneath The Tangles. Every Christmas they host an annual Anime Secret Santa project where bloggers sign up, are given someone’s MAL list (My Anime List) and are to look at their own to see if there are shows they haven’t seen but might enjoy. So if someone has watched a lot of comedic or dramatic anime, you pick a few that they haven’t seen for them to review.

My own MAL list consists of many varieties of anime, not specific to one or two genres. I like to jump around and try different styles to see what else is out there. I am not a fan of slice-of-life nor violent or very supernatural shows, but I do like comedy and deep stories with characters that you feel for. I was hoping to watch a hidden gem that I had never heard of that would blow me away, but instead I got something…else.

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Dandy in all his glory

Space Dandy! This was a program that premiered on Adult Swim, which is part of Cartoon Network. I was weary of watching it, because presentations that are on that block are often vulgar, silly, or make no sense. Sometimes they have some good anime, like Attack on Titan or One Piece, but Space Dandy wasn’t one I was familiar with. I did not finish all 13 episodes for reasons I will explain below, but I can safely say my suspicions were verified after watching episode 1. It’s about a young guy who thinks he’s hottest and  most amazing person in the galaxy, going to a popular intergalactic bar franchise called Boobies (yes, the name says it all) or other locations looking for unregistered aliens. Once he finds them, he can turn them in for a bounty and get paid, but he’s been pretty out of look lately and only gets in trouble.

His crew is made up of a logical yet sarcastic robot named QT and a cat looking alien, Meow. Very original, I know! They are pretty funny and just going along for the ride that is Dandy’s personality, because that’s what keeps the show going. He is the center of every episode but for me, it got boring pretty quick. Each episode is a separate adventure unrelated to the others in most aspects, except for the enemies that are consistently after them. I didn’t expect much from this show after the first two episodes, except cliche humor or silly comments from Dandy about how amazing he is.

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The Space Dandy Crew

I can see why this show would be aired on Adult Swim, which has programming late at night when most people are pretty tired or falling asleep. In this way, you could watch some weird and dandy show (see what I did there?) while drowsy and you won’t pay much attention to it. At times, I almost felt like this anime was created just for that block of television since it matched so well with their other shows.

I attempted to watch the entire first 13 episode season, but couldn’t get myself to finish it. I will give it another try later on, so for now I can only recommend it to those who don’t mind an anime that takes itself seriously. There are many funny parts, perverted scenes aside, and the animation isn’t that bad. Dandy isn’t someone we can look up to, but his determination to go where the action is, reminded me as a Christian to be fearless and not worry about what will happen next. Fear holds us all back, so I have been repeating this verse to myself out loud whenever I remember:

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy silliness and comedy
(+) Enjoy space adventures or anything space related
(+) Aliens.

Skip if you:
(-) Don’t enjoy perverted comments
(-) Want a serious plot with deep, meaningful characters
(-) Prefer your anime making some kind of sense….

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Fan service when Dandy goes to his favorite bar, “Boobies”. Take a guess why it’s called that.

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Mega Man ZX: The Light That Remains | Beneath the Tangles

The Mega Man franchise has been one of my favorites ever since I was a kid. I recently purchased a Nintendo 3DS so I can finally catch up on all the Nintendo games and Japanese ports not available on any other system. The list of games that I have been craving to play is pretty long, and one of those is Mega Man ZX. This series starts years after the end of Mega Man Zero 4, which was a fantastic series by the way! The original Mega Man for the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) was about a blue robot infused with a blaster on his arm. He would battle eight robot masters that were created by the evil Dr. Wily and […]

Source: Mega Man ZX: The Light That Remains | Beneath the Tangles

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Berserk And The Nature Of Life

*The following is a guest post from M. Daizen who contacted me via email. He wrote about the manga Berserk, which isn’t one I’ve personally read. It was recently redone in 3D and after checking out the anime, I cannot recommend it as a Christian to other believers. That is just my opinion, but there are always nuggets that can be mined like the ones here. Enjoy the post, and if you are interested in submitting a guest post, just email me! God bless.*

Berserk is an incredible work of fiction that has influenced many future works in gaming, manga and writing, and it is easy to see why. It is a dark fantasy that shows its beauty in every page through the feelings that it triggers inside everyone’s hearts.

From the first page, you can sense a sort of excitement seeing the main character, Guts, angry and fighting in a world of suffering and pain. The series introduces him in the middle of his life, yet you feel the urge to follow him and his vengeful rage everywhere he goes; where did he come from, and why is he torturing himself in order to constantly kill brutish demons with a sword that weighs almost five hundred pounds?

The beginning chapters are an incredible experience to read. The dirty battles, people, and of course, the artwork, only gets better. To anyone willing to read this series, you will understand this straight away.

This series has had multiple adaptations as an animation, but I can assure you that the manga is the greatest and original way to experience Berserk. Another thing you must know is that the chapters did not start getting officially numbered until about 15 chapters in, so the “Chapter 1” is actually much later than where the first few volumes actually begin. Know this, because otherwise it could get more confusing considering that after the first bunch of chapters, it starts the “Golden Age Arc”, which is a flashback of Guts’ entire life since he was born up to where the series started.

Now, this Golden Age Arc shows a truly tragic and incredible life of a human growing up where he is always made to feel like an outcast to the world. Guts is made to look like the abomination of darkness throughout the entire series, yet that is what ironically makes him the hero.

Below are two different explanations of what the series is about.

  1. Guts’ constant turmoil between two feelings. One is revenge toward his former friend, Griffith, who ended up killing almost all of their companions for his own gain. Griffith also raped Casca, the woman who Guts loved, causing her to lose her mind.

This revenge is always in a balance between his desire to restore the mind of Casca. He finds, however, that his revenge on who defiled her always comes to distract him from actually helping her.

  1. This series is also about the opposition of fate. Throughout the entire series, fate is precisely what Griffith follows, and precisely what Guts wages a war against. The glory of this series to me is seeing how fate is always working in Griffith’s favor, yet the one man who disrupts it is Guts, and I bet that any reader wants Guts to be the one to succeed after seeing the tragedies that Griffith caused throughout the series.test

In my own personal experience, the way this series tackles fate is something that expresses my relationship with God in a unique way. I believe in going with the flow and accepting things that I can’t control, but Guts showed me the other side of the spectrum that I believe in more strongly–that the world is your oyster. Life is what YOU choose, and God is within all of us. Every essence of a person came originally from God, thus every part of a person, and everything that they do, comes originally from the will of God, even when people make decisions that God dislikes.

Guts, without even a thought, is always opposing fate, not to mention, opposing it to Griffith, who eventually becomes a God from the power of a necklace that had a power to connect to the entity of fate, crowning him as the fifth ‘Godhand’, which are human beings incarnated into powerful demons that control fate (though ironically, Griffith is often portrayed as hero in a fairy tale). Guts also fights, and beats, a religious pastor who becomes an angel and deems Guts an evil demon. Guts doesn’t give a single crap about who is titled a god or an angel of god, and doesn’t care about how sinful everyone says it is to oppose fate.asdf

By many, he would be considered the most sinful being on the planet, but ironically, this personality makes him sprout out as a true God. A true angel. I felt love, excitement, and sympathy for him, seeing that he fights for good in his own way. You feel these things directly from your heart, and your heart is the heart of God. This whole idea is the glory and genius of Berserk.

It’s also intriguing how the series teaches this considering how desire is treated in it. The Godhands come to people when a person’s ego has met a collapse, then they offer this person the thing they want more than anything; however, they must sacrifice the thing that they can’t bear to give up. This whole situation is the perfect way to show what ego can do to somebody.fdsf

I believe that if you do something that you know is right in your heart, you do it out of a desire, but not an ego-based desire. One’s deepest desires also show a person who they truly are, and when one faces the Godhand, they must face every dark part of themselves before satisfying that ego-based desire, and that causes them to realize how that desire they had wasn’t truly making them happy.

The other main element of this series that I can say stands out the most is sexuality. Casca is raped, but what causes that to be so relatable and sad to Guts is the fact that when he was only a small child, he was raped. The rape in this series shows both the reality of the world it takes place in (Berserk takes place in Europe at the end of the 100 Year War), and most of all, inspires sorrowful feelings within the reader that connect you to the character.fdsfs

I myself have been sexually abused in my childhood, and this series was a gift from God knowing how well I related to Guts. I have even become grateful about my personal abuse because the type of emotional joy and experience that I’ve gained thanks to works of fiction like Berserk. I’m not judging that other abuse victims would feel the same way from reading this series, but I think it truly shows how our inner darkness can bring about light (which this series repeatedly talks about).

There is a scene where Guts and Casca have sex by a beautiful waterfall, and during this time, Guts has flashbacks of the trauma he went through when he was raped. He starts getting aggressive with Casca, but she listens to his feelings and learns what happened to him, understanding what had happened to him and resulting in them both having an incredibly happy experience. Guts actually had a dream about a positive memory in his childhood before he was defiled.ytryrtyrt

When I read this part, it was the one of the couple times that I cried while reading anything. It taught me about the inner child inside all of us, that becomes restricted when repressed through bad experiences. Our inner children are still inside us though, and they never die. As Guts’ came back to life during that scene, mine did a little too.

There are a lot of other details to speak about how sex, family, and other feelings arise in this series, but the author, Kentaro Miura, truly gets it. He understands life. He understands God. He understands why God fills our lives with darkness as well, and I am grateful for every piece of darkness and light that God has gifted us with in this lifetime, because if Berserk is life, then life is beautiful.

~ M. Daizen

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12 Days of Otaku Christmas, Day 9: NIGHTS Into Dreams | Beneath the Tangles

This is my first post on the 12 Days of Christmas over at Beneath The Tangles. It was a little tricky finding a game with some Japanese reference that has to do with Christmas. Even though I never played this game, I know of it, and thought it had a nice message that relates to our Savior. Be sure to also check the other 12 days, and enjoy!

This will be my first time adding my thoughts to the 12 Days of Christmas annual series here at Beneath the Tangles. As I am more inclined to play video games than watch anime (though I have watched over 100 anime), I decided to write about a certain game that is pretty short. One of the systems by SEGA that didn’t do too well here in the USA was the Sega Saturn. SEGA released several games that are cult classics today on that console, and one of those was NIGHTS into Dreams. This game was all about dreams and nightmares, in which a boy and girl enter another world to stop the nefarious plans of Wizeman with the help of Nights–the jester-like character that you […]

Source: 12 Days of Otaku Christmas, Day 9: NIGHTS Into Dreams | Beneath the Tangles

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TangleCast 35: The Final Fantasy Episode! | Beneath the Tangles

I had the privilege to be part of Episode 35 of the Beneath The Tangles podcast where we shared our thoughts on the new Final Fantasy XV game. Hope you enjoy!

Celebrating the recent release of the 10-years-coming Final Fantasy XV,  podcast regulars JP (Japesland) and Casey (CutsceneAddict) join two of our resident Beneath the Tangles gamers, Michael (Samuru) and Josh (JoshW) to discuss the recent Final Fantasy hype as well as the games in the series that have had the biggest personal impact on us individually. As one of the most iconic video game series of all time, particularly from Japan, Final Fantasy has reached many people all over the world with its unique stories, characters, and philosophies. Which game is your favorite? Do any of our podcasters’ answers annoy you to death? Let us know below! As always, every episode of The TangleCast will be covering a different topic, from anime reviews, to discussions on […]

Source: TangleCast 35: The Final Fantasy Episode! | Beneath the Tangles

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Something More: A Hero’s Journey, Grace in Clannad, Anohana, and the Holy Spirit | Beneath the Tangles

A new column that I am doing currently on Beneath The Tangles is Something More. I hope you can check it out as monthly I update it with fantastic articles from around the internet that discuss anime and spirituality. Blessings.

Welcome back to Something More, your monthly round-up of spirituality and anime (among other forms of entertainment!) articles. I do my best to search the internet for posts that fit this feature here at Beneath the Tangles. If you happen to find one and believe it merits being on our list, tag us via Facebook or Twitter, email it, or let me know in the comment section. I promise I will take a look and see if it can be added! God bless, and enjoy. It was a little difficult to find my featured piece for the month this time, but just when I was about to give up and try to figure out what to do, this popped up. I […]

Source: Something More: A Hero’s Journey, Grace in Clannad, Anohana, and the Holy Spirit | Beneath the Tangles

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Something More: Ghost Hunting, Spiritual Personas, Suffering from God and Djinns in Final Fantasy | Beneath the Tangles

Hola mis amigos! To all those who have been looking forward to Something More, I hope I meet your expectations. I am Samuru, one of the staff writers here at Beneath the Tangles who enjoys writing on video games and occasionally anime. I used to write a column on Geeks Under Grace called Treasure Chest that was inspired by this very column, so I’m happy to pick it up! Please contact me in whichever way you prefer (article comments are probably better) and leave me posts that you feel should be here. God bless, and enjoy. In my first featured post for this wonderful column, I chose Eugene’s detailed post on ghost busting in Japan. Whether it’s from a Shinto […]

Source: Something More: Ghost Hunting, Spiritual Personas, Suffering from God and Djinns in Final Fantasy | Beneath the Tangles

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Dragon Ball Z: The Reason Why Goku Smiles | Beneath the Tangles

When I think about one of the most popular characters in all of anime, Goku from Dragon Ball, the image that comes to my mind is a smile. No matter what is going on, often times he is happy about something even if the situation is dire. Dragon Ball is not an anime that is about sunshine and rainbows. In most episodes, there isn’t much to be smiling about, but here comes Goku, the strongest fighter in the universe and grinning ear to ear. His positive and uplifting attitude is a breath of fresh air when all hope seems lost. When all the Z fighters are down and out, he comes to rescue them with an otherworldly determination. Now, don’t […]

Source: Dragon Ball Z: The Reason Why Goku Smiles | Beneath the Tangles

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Final Fantasy XIII: Focus on Eternity | Beneath the Tangles

*My latest post on Beneath The Tangles! Hope you can check it out and leave a comment or question below 🙂

Source: Final Fantasy XIII: Focus on Eternity | Beneath the Tangles

I haven’t had a lot of time to game much because of several transitions in my personal life. I have been organizing my writing schedule, starting a new job, completing a video game recommendation guide for Christians, and looking for inspiration from new games to write about. I didn’t realize how many games I had played until I looked at my personal list. This time, Final Fantasy XIII caught my eye—even though it’s been a while since I played it, I knew I could draw some great points from it. Not only does Final Fantasy XIII deal with eternal life, which is the highlight of submitting to Christ and His forgiveness of our sins, but also our purpose and what […]

Source: Final Fantasy XIII: Focus on Eternity | Beneath the Tangles

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The Scars We Carry – Geeks Under Grace

Source: The Scars We Carry – Geeks Under Grace

When I was younger–and had more time to watch anime–the classic Fullmetal Alchemist was one of my favorites. Of course, later on the more accurate Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood released with high acclaim. I never watched it (shame on me) because I thought it wasn’t much different than the one I saw years back. Since it was on Netflix, I added it to my queue and got around to it recently, finishing all 64 episodes. It was so much better than the first series!

Episodes 1-13 are basically a refresher for those like me who watched the first series. After that, though, the story takes a very different turn. I was glued to my screen, whether on my phone, laptop or TV (thank God for streaming!). I never did read the manga, but I knew that there were many major changes based on the manga, and I was very happy with them. The new characters, plot twists, higher stakes, and even religious dialogue were well done. One character that I kept thinking about, though, was Scar. I honestly thought he would just be killed off in a random battle. All that he went through resonated with me, not because my race was wiped out in alchemic genocide, but because of how he grew into a better person. I strive to do that, and I believe we all do to some extent. His pursuit of revenge ends up being his only reason for living, until he encounters a more fulfilling purpose.

Source: The Scars We Carry – Geeks Under Grace