Kyoukai no Kanata 04 – The debt that had to be paid


shot0494

As we have seen already, the cursed blood that Mirai has controls how she views the world and her place within society. It is the source of her hatred, anger, pain, and suffering, something that has shaped her perception of her own worth and how people should treat her. Throughout the last three episodes Mirai has consistently tried to distance herself from Akihito, constantly pushing him away by saying that he is different from her, someone with friends, who has a happy, carefree life. Mirai has thus internalised the negativity of individuals around her, truly believing that her clans blood is truly cursed. Interestingly, Sakura Inami reinforces this negative view by describing her as a ‘Shinigami’, a god of death with the power to destroy the land around her with blood that falls like acid rain and purges the land of life. It is easy to see why Mirai’s clan is so maligned when the full power of her blood is unleashed, melting away the trees and leaving the landscape around her barren and scarred.

Read more of this post

The complex nature of anime


shot0679

There are many anime series every season that are labelled as ‘bad’, or ‘rubbish’, with numerous bloggers, or people on twitter talking about how stupid they are, and how boring characters or stories may be. I do think that many anime are often mislabelled, with people taking their lack of cultural understanding to mean that a series is badly written or directed. Perhaps people forget that anime is Japanese and therefore incorporates aspects of the countries history, culture, and social norms. This may seem a little odd since it is fairly obvious that anime is Japanese, but perhaps western audiences have become so used to watching anime, that the notion of a culturally and socially embedded medium is either ignored, or never springs to mind. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 03 – The Shadows of the Damned


shot0237

Throughout these early episodes of Kyoukai no Kanata it has become obvious that Mirai truly believes that she is from a cursed bloodline and is therefore a cursed individual who may hurt anyone she gets close too. This is further backed up by the latest revelations that she has already killed someone, a good friend in fact, thus reinforcing her already negative attitude towards her own existence and that of her clan. Here we see how easily negative viewpoints and attitudes can be internalised by an individual, to the point where they begin to believe them to be true. We do not know if Mirai’s clan is cursed, or destructive, although it is arguably the case that they were neither, and it is a label they acquired from other Spirit Hunter clans. As I have mentioned in the last couple of posts, blood plays a significant role in Shinto, being a source of pollution, and through the creation myth of Izanagi and Izanami a source of death and destruction for humanity. It can therefore be argued that the ‘cursed existence’ of a clan with the ability to manipulate blood can be directly linked to their abilities, and perhaps a suspicion that they are somehow linked to the very Youmu that the clans are supposed to hunt. Read more of this post

Galilei Donna – Shades of Dan Brown


shot0685

Grand conspiracies have a habit of sounding incredibly far-fetched, and often just silly. Theories to do with the pyramids, or Stonehenge being linked to aliens, or a great, long lost power pepper popular fiction, appearing almost everywhere. They can be used to create interesting films or television series that are as far fetched as the stories they are based on. In many ways Galilei Donna fits neatly into this particular sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy – a story about the Galileo discovering something extraordinary, and hiding it from the world, possibly because he feared the consequences of it being discovered. And now a mysterious organisation is after this amazing discovery, quite possibly for nefarious purposes that may, or may not involve world domination. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 02 – Shadows and dust


shot0029

At the centre of Kyoukai no Kanata is the connection between blood and corruption found in Shinto belief. Both central characters of the series are in some way corrupted through their blood, be it Mirai and her clans ability to manipulate blood at will, or Akihito’s mixed blood. Their existences are clearly seen as dangerous, and the Spirit hunter’s feel threatened for reasons that have yet to be fully revealed. What we can discern from the actions and attitudes aimed at these characters are that they are viewed to be potentially volatile, and even destructive forces within an otherwise stable relationship between Youmu and humans. Read more of this post

Gingitsune – The Fox and the Orange


shot0816

The Fox or ‘Kitsune’ is one of the most well known spirits/youkai in Japanese religion and belief. Kitsune are believed to possess superior intelligence, long life, and magical powers, they are also tricksters and many local traditions and stories tell of unwary travelers, or drunken revelers being tricked by a cunning Kitsune. These spirits are rarely malicious, although there are stories and myths of people being terrorized by kitsune for a variety of reasons. Whereas the tanuki in Uchouten Kazoku are fun loving, and a bit silly, as shown in their love for drink and care free attitude, kitsune can be seen as a more serious, occasionally solemn creature. Significantly, Inari is associated with the kitsune to such an extent that the kitsune is often seen as Inari and vice versa. Foxes are ichnographically ubiquitous and many practices at Inari shrines involve them, such as the pair of guardian fox statues in front of the main sanctuary or on the altar. Read more of this post

Kyoukai no Kanata 01 – It’s all in the blood


shot0053

Kyoukai no Kanata is a series about cursed existences and the continued importance of blood within Japanese belief. Both of the main characters live cursed existences due to their connections with blood and the realms of gods and spirits. There is no moral notion of sin within Shinto belief; death is not the ‘wages of sin’ as it might be for Christianity, but rather the outcome of evil-doing. Because purity is valued above all else, evil is defined as that which is ‘pollution’, or ‘polluting’. The primary pollutions within this belief system are sickness, death, and blood, and exposure to such pollution can offend the kami, resulting in disasters such as plagues or famine. Because of this Shinto shrines usually do not conduct funerals, leading the to familiar adage, ‘Shinto for weddings, Buddhism for funerals’. Nevertheless, Shinto has historically dealt with ideas of dead; with practitioners believe that spirits of the dead go to the mountains, above the sky, below the ear, or beyond the horizon (Kyoukai no Kanata). Living beings from this world may visit those from the other worlds in borderlands such as cliffs, caves and coastlines, places where the boundary between the two worlds is considered weak. Read more of this post