Tag Archives: anime

Spiritual Warfare & Demonic Strongholds: Unclean Spirits/Mental Demons Pt. 2

Content note: brief mention of suicide

So in the last post I tackled mental/emotional issues, most specifically depression, as demonic strongholds that are often symptomatic of our fallen world that is external to us and bound to produce such a heavy , demonic burden on the mind. In today’s post, I want to take it a bit further to the manifestations of mental demons –> i.e. spiritual warfare, and it’s more all-encompassing than just depression.

8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. ”

1 Peter 5:8

 

As I stated in my introductory post for this series, I wanted to explore/use media and pop-culture to illustrate some of these ideas. There are two souls that I wish that more folks knew when it came to film/animation: Satoshi Kon & Darren Aronofsky.

Satoshi Kon.jpg(Satoshi Kon)

The late Satoshi Kon ( died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer) was a prominent  film director and animator and had a penchant for making some of the most surreal animted cartoons (anime) ever to hit TV and silver screens. His emphasis on human consciousness, the blurred lines between reality and dreams, and the ability of the invidual to relate to the outside world are some of his most recurring themes. Some of his most influential work includes the likes of Tokyo Godfathers, Millenial Actress, Paprika and Paranoia Agent. For today’s post, I will focus on Paranoia Agent.

Without spoiling too much, Paranoia Agent is a 13-episode show in which a pair of detectives are charged with uncovering  and finding the identity of “little slugger”, serial attacker/ killer. As the name of the show might suggest, however, the detectives, throughout the show begin to realize something rather perplexing about the nature of the serial tormentor- he may not actually exist, at least not in physical reality. Soon enough, after several episodes in and victims revealed, you begin to realize the unifying theme of all of the “lil slugger’ attacks: he seems to attack those in situations of immense emotional vulnerability – in times where reality seems to be so burdensome,  that the victim, rather than dealing with the situation, the lil slugger comes roller-blading right along with his golden baseball bat to strike the victim and place them out of their misery. The victims typically don’t die but they are unconscious and afterwards, they are more sober-minded. It is suggested throughout the show that the lil-slugger is actually not real but nothing more than a neurotic defense mechanism to protect the victim’s ego from being overwhelmed from outside attack.

Now, this may seem like a random selection at this point, but what I adore about the way Satoshi Kon wrote and conceived of this show is that the Lil Slugger simply is not physically real, rather he prowls around, seeking someone to devour. Preying on the emotionally vulnerable is lil-slugger’s technique and seems awfully similar to how scripture warns of the devil’s behavior.

This of course gets increasingly interesting when we think of the lives of those who are oppressed, systematically. Who else is more emotionally vulnerable than the meek and the poor in spirit? Perhaps this explains the rampant drug abuse/addiction., sex abuse/addiction, etc. we see in oppressed communities of color, especially , something to put them out of their misery. This of course has clear echoes to my last post , as some will sadly seek to do this through suicide. One thing I’ve always loved about Jesus, especially growing up in the pentecostal tradition, is that He is not some nifty narcotic and shot to our vains , He forces us to DEAL with our issues through the power of forgiveness and the refining fire of the holy spirit (Holy Ghost Fire, us pentecostals like to say) , he deals with the unclean spirit and fights and overcomes.

Next time.. I will dive into Darren Aronofsky’s portrayal of a demonic stronghold many are far too familair with – drugs. Til’s next time 😉

 

Chaos/ Order Motif in Thundercats (2011)

As promised the newly revised about section of my blog my first new post in three years is about Thundercat, the American animated cartoon. Yesterday, I woke up around 9:00am and proceed to check out what was on veetle.com. As I quite frequently do I decided to see what cartoons were showing and scrolled down until I saw a showed that I was not familiar with. The show I found was Thundercats (2011) version. I was so intrigued by the show that I new immediately how i was going to spend the rest of Saturday (or atleast until 6:30). As a result I can now proudly say that I watched all 26 episodes of the first season of the Thundercats (2011). Immediately I was impressed by the darker tone of the remake when compared to the version from the 80’s. Personally, I am always a huge fans darker versions of any show and prefer as much blood gore and violence as possible for animated cartoon. Alas, as this show is primarily targeted towards kids there was the not blood and gore that I would love to see (ah well). The story begins with the destruction of Thundera by the Lizard Army led by the evil sorcerer Mumm-Ra. The only survivors of the destruction of Thundera are Lion-O, Tygra (adopted brother), and Cheetara ( title IX cliched female character). Lion-O is the heir to the throne and is understandably pissed that his father as well as everyone he cares about is now gone. Lion-O is the owner of the Sword of Omens and one of the stones that is key to Mumm-Ra plan for world domination. He and his crew find two orphaned cats, Wilykat and Wilykit, because every renegade band of survivors needs atleast two cute little kids. They also find find Panthro (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), a straight up G and all around pimp that no one wants to piss off. The story unfolds with many of the same cliches of a lot of anime cartoons. Protagonist possess a great power (the greatest of which is making friends), typical love triangle (tygra, cheetara, and Lion-O), there is the never ending adventure to stop the bad buy before he destroys the Earth, and the played out conclusion on episode 26 where all of Lion-O’s friends that he has made throughout the series help him defeat Mumm-Ra for the time being.  And that pretty much sums up the entire 26 episode season. Several thing stuck out for me that may be subjects for another post. I could help but notice the amount of speciesism that took. On every episode it seems likely every species believed itself to be far superior to every other species. I also could help but notice the character of Pumyra, who has to be one of the most ungrateful women of all time. My dude, Lion-O saves hers at least 300 times in five episodes and then she has the audacity to betray him in the waning moment of the season. That ain’t right.  But alas both of those are thoughts for a different day.

I will preface this section by commenting that prior to Saturday morning I recently finished writing my 20 page exegesis paper on Job chapters 6-7. Major themes and motifs from the book of Job were still pretty fresh in my head. While I was watching episode 21 “The Birth of Blades,” I began to thinking about what made Mumma-Ra so evil. I question why he is considered the proverbial bad guy of the series. I mean I knew that he destroyed and entire race and planned on world domination. But then again didn’t the cat creatures do something similar with the Sword of Omens to be the superior species to every other animal humanoid creature on the show. On episode 21 we learn that the Sword of Omens was actually created w to help Lion-O’s ancestor Leo defeat Mumm- Ra’s blade the Sword of Plun- Darr. Leo was Mumm- Ra most trusted subordinant before his betrayal. Mumm- Ra emphasizes to Leo the fact that he intends on restoring order to universe. He claims that the universe is a chaotic place and thus it is his job to restore order. This is all good for Leo until the destruction of star system that included three planets with sentient life forms. This raises questions about what it means to have a universe filled with chaos.

Clearly the line between chaos and destruction was crossed from Leo’s perspective when life forms were destroyed. Thus, Mumma- Ra is associated with death and destruction and not the restoration of order to a chaotic situation. Mumma- Ra becomes the symbol of evil because he has taken it upon himself to implement the natural order of the universe. His problem is that he is the only one who decides what is order and what is chaos in a given situation. Our understanding of what it means to have chaos and order in the universe is limited by the social realities that we experience. This is to say how we define chaos and order is based on the way we choose to experience the universe. For Mumm- Ra his reality involves him being the ultimate ruler of chaos and order in the universe. I probably have a lot more to say about this particular issue but I have yet to flesh out the finer points of this argument and may continue this line of thought in future post. I guess my main thought is that we commonly have such rigid constrains on terms like order and chaos, however, we often times refuse to acknowledge our own limitations of our understanding of these words.