The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People Sep20

The Danger of Valuing Principles Over People...

Growing up, I always tried to be the “obedient kid”—the one who followed all the rules and stayed out of trouble. Coupled with the fact that I usually kept to myself, this made it very easy for me to look down on those who didn’t abide by the same rules I did. I’d engage with people, but I always carefully judged them against my standards. As a result of my constant judgment, I pushed myself further and further into isolation, always keeping my distance from those who didn’t live up to my values. This mindset became very toxic in my mid-to-late teen years. As I got older, my standards grew higher and higher, and I found myself mentally denouncing just about everyone around me. Church groups, circles of friends, school activities—I saw what I believed to be major flaws in all of them, and I used these as excuses to disassociate myself from many of these people. The two main characters of the anime Death Note, Light and L, both adhere strongly to their own ideas about what’s right and wrong. They also each possess the ability to impose their philosophies on the world around them: Light has a notebook with which he can kill anyone just by writing their names, and tries to purge the world of crime by killing convicted criminals. Meanwhile L, who is heralded as the world’s greatest detective and has access to many of the world’s law enforcement resources, views Light’s actions as murder and begins hunting him down. Viewers often take sides with one of these two characters; after all, they’re both driven by seemingly noble goals. Yet, they also share the same crippling flaw: they value their principles more than they value people. They each believe themselves...

7 Anime Characters You Never Knew Were Influenced by Christianity Jun02

7 Anime Characters You Never Knew Were Influenced by Christianity...

Fun fact: Only 0.1% of Japan’s population practices Christianity… which makes anime’s fascination with messianic imagery (Evangelion), creepy-cool crosses (Death Note), and kick-butt clergy (Trigun) a bit of a head-scratcher. Though often used as symbolic short-hand or “occult” aesthetic, Christianity’s influence on anime characters sometimes runs deeper than wearing a cross or practicing a pseudo-fantasy variant of the real-world religion (that probably involves vampire-hunting). Looking beyond the obvious examples (such as Kirei Kotomine from Fate/Zero and Rosette Christopher from Chrono Crusade), here are seven anime and manga characters you didn’t know were directly influenced by Christianity during development (and beyond). 1. Mihael “Mello” Keehl, Death Note Bearing a Slavic name synonymous with the archangel Michael’s, Mello decks out his attire (gun included) with crosses, wears a rosary, and keeps statues of Mary and Christ in his hideout (but only in the original manga, where his implied Catholic faith went uncensored). What truly sets Mello apart, however, is the stubborn distinction he makes between the “Almighty” Christian God and shinigami “gods” amidst a nihilistic narrative where most don’t believe his God exists. This insight deepens Mello’s characterization as a rebel determined to spite the ways of the world—far past the point of reason. “I hardly need to remind the reader about the epic battle between the century’s greatest detective, L, and that grotesque murderer, Kira. Looking back, I can only surmise that the gods [shinigami] smiled on Kira for their own vain amusement. Perhaps these gods actually wanted a blood-soaked world of betrayal and false accusation. Perhaps the entire episode exists as a lesson to teach us the difference between the Almighty and the shinigami.” – Mello, in his self-authored light novel, Death Note: Another Note 2. Rin Tohsaka, Fate/Stay Night At a glance, the...

Hymns and Heroes: 10 Matches Made in Heaven Oct07

Hymns and Heroes: 10 Matches Made in Heaven...

Not many fictional characters stumble into church (except to set the existential mood), and even fewer actually practice Christianity, unless we’re talking Nightcrawler or Nicholas D. Wolfwood. (No, Sephiroth, being a Jenova’s Witness doesn’t count.) But imagine if our favourite characters were—for no particular reason—suddenly forced to choose their epic theme songs from a hymn book (or else face cricket-chirping silence during their otherwise awesome advents). We’ve got a hunch that these 10 hymn-meets-hero mashups might, literally, be matches made in heaven: 1. Obi Wan Kenobi —”Higher Ground” He takes “plant my feet on higher ground” literally. Maybe if Anakin had given this hymn (or, y’know, his Jedi Counselors) a listen, he’d have fewer artificial limbs. 2. Prince Zuko — “Thine Honor Save” Change thy haircut whilst thou art at it. 3. Aerith Gainsborough — “Holy, Holy, Holy” That was the plan. To her credit, the evilest seraphim did eventually “fall down before her.” 4. Light Yagami — “Is My Name Written There?” You’ll know in about 40 seconds. 5. The Night Guard (Five Nights at Freddy’s) — “I’ll Stand By Until the Morning” …if I’m lucky. 6. Edward Elric — “Small Things Count” Except Ed isn’t “small”—he’s fun-sized. I hear arms and legs count, too. 7. Gandalf — “He Lives” And now he comes in more colours. 8. Link — “Must I Go, and Empty-Handed?” (1) Yes, though it is dangerous. (2) No, take this! 9. Goku — “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand” 100,000,000. Now that’s a power level. 10. Ned Stark — “Winter is Coming” Yes, this is an actual hymn, though it’s more about ice than...

Meek, Weak, or Chic Dec07

Meek, Weak, or Chic

Meekness may be the most misunderstood virtue of the 21st century. Maybe that’s because it rhymes with “weakness,” or because the phrase “meek and mild” has become synonymous with timidity. Perhaps it’s because, in an age of self-gratification, meekness is no longer seen as a necessity. Whatever the case, nothing could be farther from the truth, in my opinion. Take Vash the Stampede, tragic Western hero of the anime Trigun, for instance. He carries the name of a wanted criminal worth 60 billion double-dollars, but characters and viewers alike have a hard time believing it. Lovable, friendly Vash—a criminal? Maybe a criminal for stuffing too many doughnuts in his face, but certainly not a criminal of the law. On the contrary, Vash refuses to pull the trigger if it means ending a life, and whenever his bullets do accidentally find their mark, he ensures that those wounds are bandaged. Until episode five, Meryl—an insurance agent sent to evaluate claims against Vash’s notoriety—refuses to believe that the flirtatious goofball in the red trench is the Vash. It’s not until the town is threatened by an unstoppable foe that Vash’s dorky grin disappears and he whips his gun out, firing five non-lethal rounds in a breath-taking, slow-mo, mid-air dive. By the scene’s end, Meryl has no doubt about his true identity. It’s not the mockery of the enemy that drives Vash into full-throttle, or even the concern that his skilled reputation will be tarnished if he doesn’t retaliate. Rather, Vash has yoked himself to the plow of an ideal—that he is a saviour of human life. Only when those lives are threatened does the playful doughnut-hog vanish beneath the persona of an avenging angel. Meekness makes Vash a visionary—one so focused on the greater ideal he serves that others’...

Episode 7 – Sword Art Online / Casey Covel Nov17

Episode 7 – Sword Art Online / Casey Covel...

Hot off the digital press, it’s Infinity +1. This week Jason, Allison, and Kyle ask the big questions about perception and reality. They talk about their favourite music scores and why music is so important in great music and games. Make sure to give your favourite score in the comments. Then in the second segment, Jason and Allison chat with Casey Covel, one of Geekdom House’s anime and cosplay experts. They talk about what makes anime so intriguing and the value of supportive parents. Download and subscribe to Infinity +1 on iTunes...

Light’s favourite word Jul13

Light’s favourite word

At first glance, Light Yagami doesn’t seem like a murderer. He’s a thoughtful honour-roll student concerned with straight A’s, family, friends— Oh, and the rapidly rising crime rate in the world. Understandably, then, when a Shinigami (death god) drops its killer notebook on the earth, Light picks up the tool of mass murder and begins doing away with the world’s worst criminals. All it takes is a name and a face, and with one inky scribble in the fabled Death Note, Light can kill anyone—even more quickly than he kills his own conscience. Like most would-be-heroes-turned-villains, Light believes he’s creating a utopia where “honest and hard-working” people will be safe beneath his reign as god. But in doing so, Light fails to account for his own human nature and strikes his death blow with a single word: “I.” “I will become the God of this new world.” “I will begin my reign from the summit of victory.” “l will change the world!” This single pronoun is full of arrogance and happens to be one of Light’s favourite words. Listening to Light’s self-righteous ramblings, it’s easy to consider another villain whose obsession with the word “I” led to his demise. In his quest to become a god, Light had forgotten God. In the Old Testament, the prophet Isaiah writes about the fall of Lucifer—an archangel cast out of heaven for similar “I” statements: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.” “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds.” “I will be like the most High.” It’s no coincidence that Lucifer’s downfall originated in pride. Self-obsession is at the root of every sinful act, whether lying to cover one’s guilt or murdering to satisfy one’s vengeance. Like Lucifer, Light’s initial desire for power leads to a barrage of moral crimes—lies, betrayal, thievery, manipulation, and plenty of murder. By the time Light’s self-confident pride leads to his own demise, the would-be god has walked over the corpses of thousands of victims—from purse snatchers and serial killers, to his own father and only friend. In retrospect, it’s easy to judge Light—to call him overly-ambitious, selfish, and psychotic—but his pride is the one trait that dogs us all. Perhaps we don’t seek to be literal gods of humanity, but every one of us has held to a certain amount of self-worship—I know I have, especially during times when I’ve believed my ideals to be superior and tried to force others to adhere to them. When Light picks up the Death Note for the first time, he suddenly sees a way for the unattainable dream of his ideal world to become a reality. Whatever good intentions he originally possesses are quickly corrupted, however, when pride takes control. In an iconic scene, Light outlines his plan to Ryuk—the Shinigami who dropped his Death Note on earth: “I’ll make this world inhabited only by people I decide are good.” The devilish Ryuk answers with surprising insightfulness, “Do that and the only one left will be you.” It’s easy to take short-cuts, even toward good things like justice, godliness, and peace. If I had discovered the Death Note, I, too, may have believed that forcibly removing evil people from the world was the only way to save it. However, I hope I would realize that I can’t conform people to a perfect world without first fitting them into a perfect mold. Otherwise I would be forcing them into a painful and uncomfortable place, breaking and twisting whatever doesn’t fit naturally. Nobody would be able to live up to my expectations and, in the end, I would be the only one remaining. Light, in all his straight-A mastermindedness, is unable to realize this simple truth because his pride blinds him to it. From his perspective, he’s the only one able to save a world that has lost its way; furthermore, it’s his duty to nobly...