Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Welcome!


Welcome to my anime blog, “A Series of Miracles”. The title comes from the anime series Nichijou, a.k.a. My Ordinary Life, in which a character mentions that “our everyday life may be a series of miracles”.
Which isn't that hard to believe when random wooden toys fall from the sky.
Those words have inspired my life, to find the small miracles in my own everyday life. It has also inspired how I watch anime, to look for those moments in shows which I can only describe as “a miracle of animation”. As I invite those who are reading this to join me in discovering these small miracles in the world of Japanese animation, I would like to talk about the three things that define my anime experience, so you may know where I come from.
1.       I am a Christian, and I view anime from a Christian perspective.
This, I believe, is the most important thing to know about me. To deny me of my faith is to deny me of who I am, because I define who I am based on whose I am: I belong to Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, the Creator of this universe and the one who loved me so much that he died for my sins.
I say this not to tell you what you should believe, but that so you know what I believe, and that this does impact how I view various anime. I do invite those who are not Christians to follow along and perhaps learn more about what Christianity is about. At the same time, I probably will also make plenty of posts that have no direct references to Christianity at all… but even those will be so influenced by the worldview that my faith has given me that I feel it would be near-impossible for me to write a completely secular post.
If you disagree with anything I say because of this and you feel you must say something back to me, all I ask is that you be civil in posting comments. I am fully willing to engage in conversation with anyone who wishes and who seems like their head is on straight. On the other hand, I refuse to waste my time trying to talk to raving lunatics.
Now, for the Christians reading this, you may be wondering, what is a Christian doing watching shows from a country where 99% of people are not Christians? Surely nothing good can come from watching a bunch of shows made by non-believers, right? Well, the funny thing about stories is, even if the writer had no intention of writing about God's truths, they oftentimes nevertheless appear in those stories, waiting for us to fish them out and share them with the world. 
This does mean that we have to be discerning about what we watch. It means being in the world without being conformed to the world, using our renewed minds to determine what is good, acceptable, and perfect (Romans 12:2). There's lots of good in anime to be found, but there's also a lot of trash, and sometimes the good is buried in the trash. Being a discerning anime watcher isn't always easy, especially in the last case of "good buried in the trash", and different Christians will have different standards for what they can tolerate in a show. 

To any Christian looking to watch anime, doing so prayerfully alongside the Holy Spirit is a must. To help out, anytime I recommend or review a show, I will indicate that which Christians may find offensive or a stumbling block (the latter particularly referring to sexual content).

That said, for other Christians reading this, I would love it if you followed along with me as I explore the world of anime, whether you watch it with me or whether you simply read my posts. And again, if you disagree with me, feel free to engage in civil conversation with me in the comments section.

Now for the second thing that defines my anime experience...

2. I like watching shows well outside the "anime mainstream" and what people might normally consider "entertaining".

What does this mean for me? Well, first of all, it means don't expect me to blog on, say, Naruto. Though that's more because I just don't have time to try to watch all those episodes...

More notably, it means I like to watch a lot of shows that will probably be hard sells for the average person, especially those who are not normally anime fans. This is most notable regarding my love for "slice-of-life" shows, which turn off a lot of viewers due to their slow pace and lack of overarching plot. Add in a love for shows with bizarre and unusual plots, and I can definitely understand if a show that I talk about is one that you've never heard of and you have no interest in watching. But those are the types of shows I like. You won't hear me get super-excited about Bleach, but you could get me talking a lot about Hidamari Sketch, if you're more interested in a show about the everyday lives of an apartment of (mostly) art students than an action-packed supernatural thriller.

This does not mean I avoid all action and "mainstream" titles, and I'll probably cover at least a couple of those shows too. But my interest is not in watching all the popular anime.

Finally...

3. I am also interested in the anime industry, particularly the North American anime localization industry.

In addition to posts about the shows themselves, I will also make posts about the anime industry, in particular with what's going on in North America regarding anime localization, including both legal streams of currently-airing shows through sites like Crunchyroll and physical releases of anime on DVD and Blu-ray. In addition, my coverage of shows available only through fansubs will be very minimal. (Though this is more because it is much more convenient for me to watch a show streaming or on DVD than through fansubs.)

I encourage all anime fans to, when possible, watch a show through legal means like legal streaming sites or by buying DVDs and Blu-rays of anime. I will not make any statements on the morality of fansubs, but at the same time, I would like to remind people that there are humans behind the process of creating anime and bringing it to North American fans, and they rely on these legal means to make a living. Even streaming a show for free through a legal site like Crunchyroll provides a bit of revenue for the creators (primarily through ads). Of course, what you do in the end is your choice, and I won't call anyone out on their particular choice.

So that's it for an introduction. Stay tuned for my first official post about anime.

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