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RE: [Yuricon] Re: Utena and Academics

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  • Ellen Kuhfeld
    ... From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Haruchin Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 5:55 AM To: yuricon@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 11 , Dec 1 8:20 AM
       
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Haruchin
      Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 5:55 AM
      To: yuricon@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: [Yuricon] Re: Utena and Academics

      Thanks very much for the URL, Crimson. I'll definitely check that site out.
       
      I hear what you're saying about religious imagery often not reflecting a real religious interest or theme in the anime. Evangelion is certainly a good example of that. As a theologian it was often very annoying to see so many religious themes (not to mention iconography, but that's another discussion) just thrown into the mix without actually using them; especially when the series' real philosophical point was so poorly expressed. It's all a bit of a missed opportunity as far as I can see.
       
      Still, the use of imagery as fetish aside, there are many genuinely theological themes in anime that would certainly support academic exploration. I wouldn't want to limit the scope of enquiry to be Christian theology (although that is my area of expertise) or even Western theology in general - Buddhism and Shintoism are used liberally in anime, which makes them fertile ground for further discussion. I've not watched enough of Utena to develop any ideas about overarching themes (looking forward to watching more than one episode!), but I'll definitely look out for any Gnostic overtones. If one was to explore that particular area, I believe one would have to focus on a particular variety of Gnosticism, rather than risking losing oneself in the myriad of different ideas gathered under that very inclusive umbrella term. Restricting oneself to Valentinian Gnosticism or that of Basilides for example might be more fruitful than using a much more generalised overview. I think one has to be careful in these kind of enquiries to do a little projecting as possible. That is, I think it possible to use the anime source material as a kind of focusing device, where one takes the themes raised and then explores them without suggesting that the author was an expert on that particular area of academic study. For example, it might be the case that Ms. Saito has never heard of Valentinus, but that doesn't mean that her work might raise interesting questions that can be further explored through reference to Valentinus' beliefs.
       
      For myself though, I think I would like to explore themes rather than focus on particular historical theologies. My area of theology is Christian systematics, which means I'm interested in the construction of theologies. Unlike our historical or biblical brethren, we systematic theologians go about exploring and constructing theology through a study of broad themes - creation, redemption, salvation. One of my favourite anime series, and it is probably my favourite for just this reason, has a surprisingly well developed doctrine of sin and redemption. Haibane Renmei is a wonderful example of a series with well-realised religious themes, and I would love to use it as my focusing device to further explore ideas of the meaning and reality of sin, and the process of redemption. I think it also has something to say about the state of salvation, but that is more of an afterthought, since the focus of the story is the process of coming to salvation and less about the state itself.
       
      It's good to know that a forum for such discussion does exist though - I would hate to get caught up in this kind of study and then discover that there was no audience for it at all. I know for a fact that I would get laughed out of town if I tried to talk about religious themes in any kind of popular media in the vast majority of academic theological journals. It's the nature of academia, I suppose, to equate "popular" with "shallow". Though I accept that plenty of popular media is indeed nothing more than shallow entertainment, there are examples of particular works, in a variety of different fields, having far more to say than simply being caught up in the business of entertaining a given audience.

      Anyway, food for thought. Once my thesis is completed I might start putting a little something together.
       
      Haru


      Get closer to the jungle. I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!

    • Ellen Kuhfeld
      ... From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Haruchin Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 5:55 AM To: yuricon@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 11 , Dec 1 8:21 AM
         
        -----Original Message-----
        From: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Yuricon@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Haruchin
        Sent: Saturday, December 01, 2007 5:55 AM
        To: yuricon@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: RE: [Yuricon] Re: Utena and Academics

        Thanks very much for the URL, Crimson. I'll definitely check that site out.
         
        I hear what you're saying about religious imagery often not reflecting a real religious interest or theme in the anime. Evangelion is certainly a good example of that. As a theologian it was often very annoying to see so many religious themes (not to mention iconography, but that's another discussion) just thrown into the mix without actually using them; especially when the series' real philosophical point was so poorly expressed. It's all a bit of a missed opportunity as far as I can see.
         
        Still, the use of imagery as fetish aside, there are many genuinely theological themes in anime that would certainly support academic exploration. I wouldn't want to limit the scope of enquiry to be Christian theology (although that is my area of expertise) or even Western theology in general - Buddhism and Shintoism are used liberally in anime, which makes them fertile ground for further discussion. I've not watched enough of Utena to develop any ideas about overarching themes (looking forward to watching more than one episode!), but I'll definitely look out for any Gnostic overtones. If one was to explore that particular area, I believe one would have to focus on a particular variety of Gnosticism, rather than risking losing oneself in the myriad of different ideas gathered under that very inclusive umbrella term. Restricting oneself to Valentinian Gnosticism or that of Basilides for example might be more fruitful than using a much more generalised overview. I think one has to be careful in these kind of enquiries to do a little projecting as possible. That is, I think it possible to use the anime source material as a kind of focusing device, where one takes the themes raised and then explores them without suggesting that the author was an expert on that particular area of academic study. For example, it might be the case that Ms. Saito has never heard of Valentinus, but that doesn't mean that her work might raise interesting questions that can be further explored through reference to Valentinus' beliefs.
         
        For myself though, I think I would like to explore themes rather than focus on particular historical theologies. My area of theology is Christian systematics, which means I'm interested in the construction of theologies. Unlike our historical or biblical brethren, we systematic theologians go about exploring and constructing theology through a study of broad themes - creation, redemption, salvation. One of my favourite anime series, and it is probably my favourite for just this reason, has a surprisingly well developed doctrine of sin and redemption. Haibane Renmei is a wonderful example of a series with well-realised religious themes, and I would love to use it as my focusing device to further explore ideas of the meaning and reality of sin, and the process of redemption. I think it also has something to say about the state of salvation, but that is more of an afterthought, since the focus of the story is the process of coming to salvation and less about the state itself.
         
        It's good to know that a forum for such discussion does exist though - I would hate to get caught up in this kind of study and then discover that there was no audience for it at all. I know for a fact that I would get laughed out of town if I tried to talk about religious themes in any kind of popular media in the vast majority of academic theological journals. It's the nature of academia, I suppose, to equate "popular" with "shallow". Though I accept that plenty of popular media is indeed nothing more than shallow entertainment, there are examples of particular works, in a variety of different fields, having far more to say than simply being caught up in the business of entertaining a given audience.

        Anyway, food for thought. Once my thesis is completed I might start putting a little something together.
         
        Haru


        Get closer to the jungle. I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!

      • Ellen Kuhfeld
        I faintly believe (I never watched the whole thing) that the Seven Deadly Sins were characters in Full Metal Alchemist. Ellen Rose
        Message 3 of 11 , Dec 1 8:23 AM
          I faintly believe (I never watched the whole thing) that the Seven Deadly Sins were characters in Full Metal Alchemist.
           
          Ellen Rose

        • mantennashowers@aol.com
          There were a set of characters, all artificial beings created through alchemy, named after each of the deadly sins. I m more inclined to think that reference
          Message 4 of 11 , Dec 1 9:41 AM
            There were a set of characters, all artificial beings created through alchemy, named after each of the deadly sins. I'm more inclined to think that reference comes from the history of alchemy, from when people mentioned Christian and Greco-Roman theological concepts in passing, rather than a specifically theological reference- more rooted in Christopher Marlowe's Faust.



            -----Original Message-----
            From: Ellen Kuhfeld <ellen@...>
            To: Yuricon@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 8:23 am
            Subject: RE: [Yuricon] Re: Utena and Academics

            I faintly believe (I never watched the whole thing) that the Seven Deadly Sins were characters in Full Metal Alchemist.
             
            Ellen Rose


            More new features than ever. Check out the new AOL Mail!
          • crimsonlotus20
            Zyl, Interesting recommendation. I take it you must be affiliated to the LSE, because Millennium is infamous for publishing anything remotely associated with
            Message 5 of 11 , Dec 1 11:05 AM
              Zyl,

              Interesting recommendation. I take it you must be affiliated to the
              LSE, because Millennium is infamous for publishing anything remotely
              associated with IR, but with enough post-modern, post-strucutral 'far
              out there' elements to piss off shallow American
              positivists/empiricists. Good thing that it's student-published, too,
              so I suppose there is an article out there called "Images of Alterity
              in Anime: the Japanese lens of new Occidentalism" or something to
              that effect. I would write it, if I had the time and/or inclination.

              Regards,
              MdG

              --- In Yuricon@yahoogroups.com, Zyl <zylelt@...> wrote:
              >
              > Haruchin,
              >
              > There are quite a few academics in the UK who have done work with a
              > anime/manga slant, though not from a theological angle:
              >
              > Dr Sharon Kinsella - http://www.kinsellaresearch.com/ (feminism)
              > Dr Roger Sabin - http://www.shef.ac.uk/ibds/sabin.htm (media and
              > cultural studies)
              > Dr Nicola Liscutin - http://www.soas.ac.uk/events/event37645.html
              (nationalism)
              >
              > Further afield, there's of course Dr Matt Thorn -
              > http://www.matt-thorn.com/ (cultural anthropology)
              >
              > As for publication venues, if you can weave in an international
              angle
              > to it, you can consider:
              >
              > Millennium: Journal of International Studies (http://www.e-
              millennium.ac)
              > see their 2001 special issue on aesthetics and International
              Relations:
              >
              http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mpg/mjis/2001/00000030/00000003
              >
              > as well as their 2000 special issue on religion and IR:
              >
              http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mpg/mjis/2000/00000029/00000003;
              jsessionid=3f6ua74jajfdl.henrietta
              >
              > Cheers,
              > Zyl
              >
              >
              > On Dec 1, 2007 2:54 PM, Erica Friedman <alecto_fury@...> wrote:
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > > To: yuricon@yahoogroups.com
              > > From: haruchin@...
              > > Date: Sat, 1 Dec 2007 11:54:46 +0000
              > > Subject: RE: [Yuricon] Re: Utena and Academics
              > >
              > >
              > > > Thanks very much for the URL, Crimson. I'll definitely check
              that site
              > > out.
              > >
              > >
              > > You also may want to join the anime-manga research ML :
              > > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/amrc-l (I believe. Y!groups is down
              right now
              > > and I can't confirm.) This groups is engaged in academic research
              and
              > > dialogue about anime and manga on many levels.
              > >
              > >
              > > Cheers,
              > >
              > > Erica
              > >
              > > Yuricon - "For real women who like their women...animated."
              > > http://www.yuricon.org
              > > Hungry for Yuri? Have some Okazu: http://okazu.blogspot.com
              > >
              > > "World Shaking" Fanfic - http://www.worldshaking.net
              > > The Fanfic Revolution - fanficrevolution.blogspot.com
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ________________________________
              > > Share life as it happens with the new Windows Live. Share now!
              > >
              >
            • Shane
              They are in fact the major enemy for the heros. And as the title suggest it is deep in the theories, beliefs, and symbolism that come with Alchemy. There is
              Message 6 of 11 , Dec 1 1:12 PM
                They are in fact the major enemy for the heros. And as
                the title suggest it is deep in the theories, beliefs,
                and symbolism that come with Alchemy. There is also
                many religious themes in use with the Ishvalans
                (Ishbalans?, who happen to be a race of desert people
                that believe in monotheism and think alchemist are
                traitors against Ishbala, their god. If you read the
                manga then the series brings in a very Chinese type of
                people call the Xing. We really haven't seen enough of
                them yet to know what their religion is if they have
                one but their Alchemy has different principals then
                the other alchemy shown in the series.

                Back to the anime and the resulting movie there are
                many historical yet alternate reality themes in the
                show and the government of the main character's is a
                fascism with their leader being called Fuhrer King
                Bradley.

                This makes for a series that not only has religious
                undertones but moral and political as well.

                ~Shane

                --- Ellen Kuhfeld <ellen@...> wrote:

                > I faintly believe (I never watched the whole thing)
                > that the Seven Deadly
                > Sins were characters in Full Metal Alchemist.
                >
                > Ellen Rose
                >
                >
                >



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