Thursday, June 13, 2013

AKB0048: Musical Missionaries

I recently finished both seasons of AKB0048, a show that I completely fell in love with and has become one of my favorite shows of all time, for some particular reasons. It's a show based on the real-life Japanese idol group AKB48, but director Shoji Kawamori, mastermind behind the Macross series, has taken these idols into space and outfitted them with mechas and sci-fi weapons for a grand space adventures.

Also included: lots of hearts, sparkles, and colorful, shiny lights.
The story goes as such: It is the year 0048, that is, 48 years after a massive intergalactic war had destroyed the Earth and forced humanity to inhabit other planets across the universe. During this time, the government has banned things that "disturb the heart", namely art and music, and has appointed the DES to enforce this rule with an iron fist (and mecha drones). However, this has not stopped the idol group AKB48, now re-formed as AKB0048, from holding concerts and bringing their songs of love to even planets with the strictest bans on entertainment--helped in part by the idols also being experts in (non-lethal) combat.

On one such planet with a total entertainment ban, four girls had heard about one of AKB0048's guerilla concerts and sneaked out to attend it, and there, they completely fell in love with music. Many years later, they defy parents and leave behind everything they know in order to try to join AKB0048 themselves. There, they learn to fight and sing and dance and bring the love of AKB0048 to people all across the universe along a number of other trainees, under the guidance the current main members ("successors" of the original AKB48 members), all while defying the entertainment ban and the DES.

To Christians, perhaps that summary might sound vaguely familiar... doesn't it sound an awful lot like Christian missionaries bringing the Gospel to places where Christianity is illegal?


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sound of the Sky: What's Really Amazing About Grace


On Memorial Day, looking for a good military anime to watch, I ended up watching Sound of the Sky(Japanese: Sora no Woto) and absolutely loved it. It has a nice portrayal of a more idyllic military life in a world that has been torn apart by war, from which most of the characters bear scars from. The show overall is about hope in a desolate world, and the form of that hope is embodied in sound—specifically, the tune of “Amazing Grace”, which gets played repeatedly throughout the show.
Official art.
Of course, for Christians, we don’t need to be in a war-torn world in order to appreciate how amazing grace “that saved a wretch like me” is. The characters of Sound of the Sky are not explicitly Christian (the “sister” of the local Church seems to have inherited a lot of Shintoism into her religion), but nevertheless, grace plays a major role in resolving the show’s major conflict… but perhaps not in the way you might expect.
(Warning: Major spoilers after the jump!)

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Anime Hall of Fame Induction: Humanity Has Declined

In my Anime Hall of Fame series, I highlight shows that I enjoyed a lot and think are worth trying out. Click the "stardf29's Anime Hall of Fame" tab at the top of the page to see a list of all the inducted anime series so far. More anime series will be inducted over time, and this post will be updated with any new information for this series.

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Humanity Has Declined