“Originally a niche medium, anime (Japanese animation) has experienced a massive explosion in popularity in recent decades. Its cultural influence is widespread, from massive conventions full of truly devoted fans to Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters and family films. However, anime can be daunting to explore and understand due to both cultural differences as well as its willingness to feature more mature themes and subject matter than are usually found in American animation (including sex and violence). While this is cause for concern, anime’s willingness to wrestle with serious themes also means that it contains numerous titles that parallel Christian theology in surprising ways, and are worth the discerning believer’s consideration. Studio Ghibli has become the most celebrated studio in anime history thanks to its beautifully rendered tales full of moral complexity and ambiguity. Ghost in the Shell offers a cyberpunk look at technology’s challenges to our definition of what it means to be human. One man’s never-ending search for atonement and forgiveness is at the heart of Rurouni Kenshin’s samurai tale. Haibane Renmei’s depiction of the wages of sin and self-righteousness could easily have been lifted from 1 John’s opening chapter. And finally, Attack on Titan is a violent and harrowing look at what it means to live in an apparently materialistic and godless universe. Titles like these not only offer Christians some fascinating explorations of important themes but also provide a way for believers to engage with one of pop culture’s most dynamic influences.”
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