religion

The Golden Bough and Darling in the Franxx

From its first episode, Darling in the Franxx uses flower language and plant genetics to frame the entire series. It’s not subtle about any of these trappings, which continue to appear in each passing episode week after week not only in commonly-used titles (like pistil, stamen, etc.) but also in flowers found in the on-site greenhouses, in various rooms, and the series’ most recent ending sequence.

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On Lesser and Stray Gods

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Exchanges between humanity and gods in anime have always fascinated me. Perhaps it is due to my Catholic upbringing – where the primary relationship between man and god is built with the former firmly in awe of the latter, and a very rigid process of human life to afterlife – however, Shinto gods and humans have always appeared to have a fairly equal relationship. The beliefs of Shinto are that spiritual essences reside in all things, creating a collective known as yaoyorozu no kami or “eighty millions of kami” with the boundary between spiritual and natural  left undefined. This isn’t to say that these gods (for lack of a better term, I’m using “kami” as synonymous with “god”) are without organization as there is a hierarchy within the multitudes. Primary gods are enshrined at specific locations, naturally garnering more attendance from worshipers. 

Which leads us to the following question: would you trust the young man pictured above, of all gods, with your wish?

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Yakushimaru in Wonderland

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“Long has paled that sunny sky:

Echoes fade and memories die:

Autumn frosts have slain July.”

-A poem from “Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There,” by Lewis Carroll

From the moment she barges in by force, in search of a rabbit, Koto is the standout character – our presumed Alice – in the wonderland of the Mirror Capital. She is loud, winsome, and charming, allowing us to discover the mysteries of the Mirror Capital alongside her. Koto is confused, attempting to grasp at any sort of explanation for her mother’s disappearance, and so are we as we attempt to digest the imagery and references that Kyousogiga throws our way.

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The Doubting Homura

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“Won’t you believe in the answer that the one you have protected all this time has found?”

-Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, episode 12.

When I was young, my mother would walk every Sunday to the Roman Catholic church down the street with two neatly-dressed, freshly-showered children in tow. We were hardly kicking and screaming, but like most children, my brother and I were often reluctant, and found various, harmless ways of entertaining each other in mass: singing hymns in horrible British accents, or providing whispered commentary on others’ outfits. That being said, there were times when the messages from the mass would truly engage me, when I found the stories themselves interesting, and I would listen with rapt attention, in spite of the fact that I wouldn’t be able to contextualize these messages until I was much older.

One such story that stands out in my mind is that of the apostle Thomas, not necessarily due to the message of the story itself, but my mother’s relationship with it. Every year, shortly following Christmas, my mother would look forward to this particular piece of scripture, involving Thomas. When I was around eight or so, I remember asking her why. She looked down at me with a smile from the seat on my right and said something to the effect of that it was the one time when a passage directly referenced her: a person who believes in spite of not having seen.

Truly believing in others, after all, is one of the most difficult things to do.

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