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From Mr. Jelly: Gundam Wing: Whilst this does not come anywhere near the others in terms of sinister influence, it is still worth nothing that there are some objectionable elements:
Gundam Wing seems, like much Western entertainment, to insist on the 'goodness of man' (as opposed to the Bible, which insists that his imagination [thoughts] are evil from his youth up, and in his natural state hates God and all good things). It presents a message of pacifistic disarmament - when all the weapons are destroyed, man will live in peace. Normally, Japanese animation is quite good on this point, but Gundam Wing seems to be an exception. Some attempt is made to rectify this philosophy in the film 'Endless Waltz', where the colonies are depicted as striving to make war in spite of the peace treaty, but the damage has already been done if people have watched the series.
Stories which vividly depict the darkness of humanity may not seem 'pure' or 'lovely' as per Philippeans 4:8, but certainly fulfil the criteria for being 'true', 'honest', and 'just', and give a better view of the world than 'light-hearted' entertainment (like most Western 'sitcoms') which slips into peoples' minds the idea that humanity 'just might' not need saving after all. Not that Gundam Wing is particularly light-hearted - whilst appropriately sober, it nevertheless paints humanity in a better light than they appear in the Word.
G Gundam: Another animation in the Gundam Wing series, this is primarily aimed at children and teenagers, which is why I feel it necessary to mention its objectionable points: The emphasis is primarily on destruction as a 'game' - unlike some other animes, G Gundam sees the battles occuring as part of a 'tournament' rather than a war. Whilst the Bible lends limited support to the idea of a just war (even picturing a war in heaven between the forces of God led by Michael, and the forces of the dragon), it does not support casual violence - Proverbs 28:17 is an especially chilling warning in this regard.
A strongly dualistic theme can be found running through this programme, with the 'good' Shining and God Gundams pitted against the 'evil' Dark and Devil Gundams. This is mostly covered up in translation ('God' becomes 'Burning' and 'Devil' becomes 'Shadow'), but it is still worrying - how much more neo-Gnostic material remains? Whilst less objectionable than some other points, the sinister influence of dualistic entertainment (often supported as 'epic good vs evil') should not be played down - good and evil are not equivalent forces (in fact, they are not forces at all: only God is good, and evil stems from whatever is not according to God's will). Whilst we are in the world, evil will 'triumph' - we look to the day of the Lord, however, when the ultimate good will triumph totally over evil. It would actually be better if evil were depicted as scoring temporal victories over good (as often happens in this world) than depicting good triumphing over evil by evil's methods. This is not just a problem with anime, though - Hollywood, or should we say hellywood, is constantly churning out 'action thrillers' that see 'good' using exactly the same violent methods as evil.
[Continues at Dragonball Z, Anime and Neon Genesis Evangelion ]
Anonymous: Gundam Wing is really a re-make of the original Gundam series from 1979, and that it spawned a lot of movies and T.V. shows, including Z Gundam, ZZ Gundam, Char's Countteratack, F-91, War in the Pocket, Stardust Memory, V Gundam, G Gundam, 8th MS, Gundam X, Turn A Gundam, and Gundam Seed.
From Esther and Josh: I have to write again to ask your help. I learned a lot about your warnings on children's programs like Pokemon, Digimon , books like Harry Potter and alike, but my son is now watching a program called Gundam Wing which is Japanese made and it is shown on the Cartoon Network. We have banned Pokemon and Digimon because of it's negative messages and influences but we don't know much about this new show . If you have time, we would appreciate any feedback you have on this cartoon called Gundam Wing.
From Berit: Since I can't find it on our cable network, I can't review it. But I will post comments from others who have watched it. May God give you His wisdom and discernment as you read and research this new feature.
From Jerint, "an anime fan": I really enjoy Gundam Wing. I was reading through your comments, and I saw this one person's comment about Gundam Wing being suicidal and the pilots being homosexuals. The main character, "Heero", is in fact not suicidal. The episode I'm thinking that they saw was when he blew up his Gundam while fighting the oppressive military of OZ. This was because it was one of his orders that OZ can not, under any circumstances, get a hold of a Gundam. So he blew it up, almost killing him.
Now, the pilots being gay? I don't know, it's a possibility. All I know is that the pilots often think of other pilots. You can think whatever you want here.
I'm a Southern Baptist Christian that regularly goes to church, and I find nothing wrong with Pokemon (I despise the show, but I enjoy the Japanese movies), Dragon ball Z, and other such anime. It hasn't warped me in any way. I don't feel evil or dirty. I watch for the entertainment of it all, the intricate storyline (that is all but butchered when it comes to America, by the way).
I guess this is like the KKK problem; both sides have good points and both have quotes from the bible backing them up. What I want to know is; why do the passages conflict each other so much? It's a matter of interpretation. I'd rather stay neutral.
Oh, and Harry Potter; I've never read the books myself, but my little cousin (who was raised by a family that includes a Pastor) loves those books, and my family sees nothing wrong with them. Once again, a matter of interpretation. I guess no one can win this argument. I'd really enjoy hearing from you!
Berit's reply: You ask some good questions, Jerint. There are many reasons why people think that Bible passages conflict with each other. It often happens because people look for evidence to prove what they want to believe or to justify a lifestyle they have chosen. In other words, if a person wants to do something that would clash with his conscience, he might look for a verse in the Bible that affirms the freedom we have in Christ from legalistic rules.
Galatians 5:13 is a good example: "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty...." By taking this verse out of its context, they can change its meaning. Here is the whole verse:
"For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)
Here is another Scripture that can be twisted to mean the opposite. Read the first line, then stop and ponder its meaning. Then read the rest which provides the condition and context for the first part:
"Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as servants of God." (1 Peter 2:16-17)
God has shown us what He considers evil in many parts of the Bible. One Scripture that helps us understand God's attitude toward the message in Harry Potter books and many popular television programs is Deuteronomy 18:9-12. As you can see, it's not very multicultural or politically correct:
"...you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who... practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord...."
Some would say, "but that's the Old Testament. It doesn't apply today. To follow the old law would be legalism. Now we are free to follow our feelings...." (See how we have come full circle -- back to the original conflict?)
The fact that Jesus often quoted the Old Testament tells us that its moral standard was still applicable in New Testament times. God hasn't changed. What He showed us about His heart and standards through His love and care for Israel holds true today. The difference is that Israel tried to live by the law. We live by faith in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished at the cross.
In other words, we have to be careful not to confuse freedom with license or obedience with legalism. (Legalism is adding our own standards to God's standard and/or trying to meet that standard by our own strength.) Both our eternal salvation and our daily victory in Christ is through faith in Him, not by following the law.
Many Christians today point to Jesus' warnings against the legalism of the Pharisees, and so they throw out God's standard along with legalism. In the end, many embrace a different form of legalism -- one that replaces God's standard for a new, politically correct tolerance toward everything. To them, uncompromising obedience to God would be sinful, because it could others feel guilty or uncomfortable. That's where our culture is today.
But 1 Corinthians 10:5-11 -- the New Testament -- brings us back to the message and unity of the whole Bible:
"Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers... passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.... But with most of them God was not well pleased, for their bodies were scattered in the wilderness.
"Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters as were some of them.... Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell.... Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come."
We cannot escape God's standard, no matter how hard we try. It's tempting to isolate certain verses or conform uncomfortable passages to today's demand for tolerance and multi-faith unity, but it only leads to spiritual blindness, a seared conscience, and the loss of the wonderful peace and joy He offers us in His presence.
Second note from Jerint: Oh, thanks so much for writing back! ^-^ Wow, this has really changed my mind about a lot of things; I've never looked at it this way. Thank you.... Sure, you can post this if you would like!
From Jerint again: I thought that I should write up a summary from a STRICTLY neutral standpoint. It's rather long...sorry! Anyways, here goes:
Gundam Wing, sometime called Gundam W and GW by it's fans, is a 49 episode show based on the popular Gundam series based in Japan. The Gundams are immense humanoid robots; also called Mobile Suits, MS, or Mecha. Gundanium Alloy, the make up of Gundams, is immensly strong but lightweight, making Gundams far more superior than other suits. There are also other, weaker Mobile suits.
The year is After Colony 195. 5 young pilots have been specially trained to pilot 5 different suits; Heero Yuy (his real name is never revealed), pilot of the Gundam Wing; Duo Maxwell, pilot of the Gundam Deathscythe; Trowa Barton (Triton Bloom), pilot of the Gundam Heavyarms; Quatra Raberba Winner, pilot of the Gundam Sandrock; and Chang Wu Fei, pilot of the Gundam Shenlong.
The 5 scientists who built each Gundam and trained each pilots have a grudge against OZ, a secret Military Unit bent on World Domination in the name of peace. The leader of OZ is Treize Kushrenada (your classic Brooding German), and his right hands are Colonel Lucrezia Noin, Colonel Une, and Zechs Merquise.
The Gundams are sent to Earth with specific and strict orders; Carry out all plans. Kill anyone who sees the Gundams. And above all, NEVER let OZ get their hands on a Gundam or a Pilot.
Zechs is intrigued by these new mobile suits; since he's the best Mobile Suit pilot on Earth, he thinks that these Gundams are a challenge to his superior fighting skills.
Heero had to evacuate his Gundam from the beginning, all because of- who else, Zechs. A young girl, Relena Darlian, finds him unconscious on the beach and tries to help him. Heero "escapes", with the vow that he'll kill Relena since she saw him and his Gundam. He can never quite seem to do it, though. He can't seem to kill two people that "are an obstruction" to him; Relena Darlian, and another Pilot, Duo Maxwell (which is where you get the large "yaoi", or gay followers; mostly because, quite frankly, NO one can stand Relena).
So, the series go on, and while the Gundams are fighting a key battle, Colonel Une aims a high powered gun at the colonies. If the Gundams don't stop, then she will destroy the Gundams. Zechs, who is fighting Heero, and Noin, who is with Colonel Une, are both horrified that Une would fight so dishonorably. Heero's teacher suddenly shows up on TV, saying that he surrenders, but he will never surrender the Gundams. Heero takes this to be an order to destroy his Gundam; so he does, nearly killing himself in the process.
The Gundams try to return to outer space; Quatra is forced to destroy his Gundam in order to let Duo, Trowa, and Wu Fei escape to space. The Colonies, however, don't want anything to do with the Gundams and join OZ. They capture Duo, Heero goes to kill him, but can't, so they just escape. Duo is complaining the whole way, because he has to go back and destroy his Gundam. OZ does it for him. Wu Fei is pretty much just wandering around space; Trowa "joins" OZ; Heero gets himself captured; Duo's hiding out on a Colony; and Quatra returns to his home colony, only to see his father and his sister get killed and he goes crazy.
Wu Fei gets caught, and Duo gets caught again, and Quatra's on a rampage blowing up colonies with a new, and dangerous, Mobile Suit; the Wing Zero. Heero and Trowa try to stop him, and Quatra blows up Trowa's MS.
Quatra is, of course, horrified (another yaoi reference) and seems to snap out of what ever he's in. It turns out the Wing Zero uses a system that takes all battle data and feeds it directly back to the pilot. The result is a brain overload which makes you see illusions and go crazy. Heero and Quatra get caught again, but Colonel Une releases Duo and Wu Fei. She gets shot, and is apparently dead.
The two pilots have a surprise waiting for both of them; the scientists have recreated their Gundams with new abilities; Duo gets Deathscythe Hell, and Wu Fei gets Altron. They blast their way out of the base and disappear.
Treize doesn't like the path that his superiors, the Romafeller Foundation, is taking, so he steps down from his position. Zechs goes against the Foundation, is "executed" (remember, him and Treize are buddies), and heads up to space in search of Heero. Relena finds out that she is they heir to a kingdom based on total pacifism, the Sank Kingdom. She is also Treize's sister. Zech's real name is Milliardo Peacecraft (oh, gee...).
A new system called the "Mobile Doll" system is created, which allows suits to operate without a pilot (which is why Treize steps down; he doesn't think it's "honorable"). Romafeller start taking over the world. Heero and Quatra escape back to Earth, where Quatra's friends, a bunch of Arabians called the "Magunac Corps", had managed to recapture his Gundam and fix it up. Heero goes to kill Treize.
Heero meets up with Treize while the Sank kingdom is being attacked. Treize introduces Heero to a new Gundam; Epyon. Epyon, as it turns out, does the same thing that the Zero system does. Heero starts blowing up both good guys and bad guys. The Sank kingdom falls and Relena is captured.
Zechs hears about the Sank kingdom, so he is horrified and wants to go battle. He is attacked by Romafeller, however, and his MS id blown up. Zechs escapes, and low and behold, he finds Wing Zero floating around in space conveniently placed right by the battle field. So he hurries to Earth, but the Zero system soon takes over.
Heero is wondering what happened to all of his enemies (he blew them all up, and is apparently not even aware of it) when he spots Zechs. They start fighting, but soon both go into a brain freeze and they fall out of their Gundams. When they regain consciousness, Heero takes Zero and Zechs takes Epyon. Meanwhile, Quatra and Noin travel up to space to find Duo, Trowa, and Wu Fei.
A new revolution takes place in outer space, and a group called "White Fang" soon takes over. Quatra finds Duo, they both find Trowa (who suffered from Amnesia when Quatra blew up his suit), and they find Wu Fei. Wu Fei refuses to join. Heero goes up to space, finds Wu Fei, and makes him pilot Zero for awhile. Wu Fei finally realizes that his enemies are Treize and Zechs. Zechs, upset about Sank, becomes the Commander of the White Fang.
Treize takes control of the Romafeller foundation and releases Relena, who immediately goes up to space to talk some sense into her brother. Treize gets ready to attack Zechs. They all start fighting; OZ versus White Fang, and the 5 gundams against both. Wu Fei kills Treize. Heero and Zechs fight. The space station that is the White Fang base start heading towards earth. If it hits, then Earth would be destroyed (the same if a Meteor hit; like Armageddon).
In a desperate maneuver, the ship that they used to transport the Gundams rams into the station. Most is stopped, but a piece is still falling, and it's big enough to destroy the world. Zechs suddenly realizes what he's doing, so he tells Heero to leave and he destroys the main reactor, blowing up a lot of the ship. In true suspenseful style, a piece is still falling. Heero destroys it, everyone celebrates, anf=d the series is done.
Gundam Wing seems to be based on a mainly neutral religious level. Some, though, has Christian references (in a lot of the speeches, God is mentioned). It also has a sprinkle of Shinto; Duo's nickname in the Japanese version is "Shinigami", the Shinto god of death. Duo seems to be the main character best representing all of these attributes. He wears a Priest's collar and outfit (he was an orphan, raised in a church), doesn't mention God that much, and calls himself "Shinigami".
In Episode Zero, a manga released to explain the pilot's child life, the kindly Father Maxwell (hence, the last name) asks Duo (who had just gotten in a fight), why he doesn't obey God's teachings of Peace. Duo cheerfully answers; "I dunno."
"Don't you believe in God?"
"No, because I've never seen a miracle. I believe in Shinigami, though, because I've seen his work many times!"
The church is blown up by OZ. Overall, this show is for 14 year olds to 20 year olds. It contains blood, guns, mild cursing, and general blowing up of MS.
If your child sees anything that says "Yaoi" and "Gundam Wing" in the same sentence (this goes for...you know, th H-word too...I don't understand why you censor it, because parents need to know what to look for) DON'T CLICK ON IT. Some fans have rather *cough* Imaginative minds.
This concludes my "little" *muah* Summary of Mobile Suit: Gundam Wing. A few characters were edited out for the sake of space and to keep my insanity together in the wee hours of the night...or is it morning? I can never tell....
From Berit: Thank you, Jerint. I'm sure many parent will find this information helpful. I suppose these kinds of violent images seem almost normal to a lot of people these days. Perhaps today's steady diet of murder and destruction helps explain why so many people have become desensitized to another person's suffering and are ready to fight (not physically) anyone who offends them.
As you might expect, I'm especially concerned about Duo who wears a priest's collar, calls himself by the name of "Shinigami" (the Shinto god of death), and "believe[s] in Shinigami" because he, in contrast to God, seems to show his miraculous power.
I don't believe any person who wants to follow God, no matter how old, would want to watch this show. Adults aren't immune to these influences. Any person who feeds these messages to his mind and memory will be desensitized to both real and imagined evils. Our latest article on Harry Potter and Dungeons & Dragons cites some research documenting this susceptibility.
I suggest parents pray for guidance. What a challenge it is to raise children to follow the true God in a world full of fantastic alternatives!
From Jon Smith: (Most of Jon's letter -- including the section below -- is on the Anime page) Two great examples of these types of anime (that people show remorse for fighting in) is Rurouni Kenshin, in which a Samurai kills a young man named Hitokiri Gentatsu in battle, and after that, decides never to kill again, and does this, no matter how much hate he has for a person. The other, is Gundam Wing. This shows the characters who hate to kill, but do it for the good of their home, and the earth, and slowly, some of the characters even are shown literally going insane because of the deaths of loved ones, or having to kill, and it also shows how terrible war can really be. ...
I truly hope some of those parents out there realize their mistakes in forcing their children to quit watching this great art form, because in truth, it is doing more good than harm, and if you are careful with what your children see (but open, it is alright to show them violence, it won't influence most, as long as there is moral behind the violence) they won't see anything that is remotely like pornography, or anything that shouldn't be acceptable in any societey. Thank you for reading and I hope this letter has opened a few minds about the true art form known as anime and manga. I'd love for you to post my comments along with my email address: Trunks7690@aol.com
Jon, I believe the "concerned parent" gave reasons why anime could lead to porn, not why all anime is porn. However, this is not an area I am qualified to evaluate. As I have mentioned before, my main research has to do with the beliefs and values behind anime. I wouldn't be so ready to excuse violence committed because of love or loyalty.
No matter what the reason, repetitive images of violence will desensitize a viewer -- child or adult -- to many forms of violence. The lynching that took place in the South during the days of slavery illustrates what can happen when people feel justified in taking revenge without going through the legal proceedings guaranteed in our Constitution. And the large volume of angry, threatening mail we receive because of our beliefs show how eager many anime and rpg fans now are to take the revenge they crave. This danger attitude threatens both our freedom and our safety in this land.
From Conni: I quote: "I don't believe any person, no matter how old, should watch this ." Not even people who are old enough to decide for themselves what they believe? What about people who don't believe in your style of "morality"? I decided around age 16 that I did not believe in Christianity. Why? I explained that in a letter I sent you several months ago that has yet to receive a response.
Anyway. As you will note in my signature, I am a GW fan. Initially, Duo was my favorite character (I have a "thing" for long hair), then I added Zechs to my list of favorites. To explain more about Duo, he grew up on a colony where there was an outbreak of plague. He watched his best friend die, then was taken in by Father Maxwell. A year or so later, the bad guys massacred over 100 people who were taking refuge in the church. In the meantime, Sister Helen asks him if he believes in God. "I believe in the god of death, because I've seen his works." This causes Sister Helen much consternation, but she keeps him at the church as an orphan, until the day OZ attacks, and he runs off to steal a mobile suit and defend the church, but it's too late, and when he gets back, they're already dead.
Why the priest's collar? Nobody knows. It's just a cartoon, remember? You'd have to track down the character designers and costume designers and ask them. It may be symbolic of the time he spent in Father Maxwell's orphanage. It may be a disguise. It may just as easily be aesthetically pleasing to the person who drew it. Quatre wears a pink shirt. Does that mean he's automatically gay? No, it just means the character designer wanted to draw a pink shirt. The only character whose outfit was probably deliberately chosen is Wufei, the Chinese boy, who is usually seen in traditional Chinese martial arts clothes.
They are all fighting for peace, which, honestly, is a little out there. I mean, who wants to *fight* for *peace*? Yeah, defeating the war-mongering generals in the Romefeller Foundation and replacing them with a pacifist ruler could feasibly reduce the amount of wars, until the next war-mongerers take control.
Of course, it's all a cartoon, set in some vague futuristic time, and we all know it isn't *real*. The characters are products of a few people's imaginations (oh, right... imaginations are evil. I was reading the original drafts of your imagination article, and you listed several bible verses which, summed up, say that.)
Now, on to the yaoi arguments. In the series, none of the characters is described as gay or straight. There are vague relationships between the pilots and each other, and between the pilots and various females on the show. They can all be interpreted however someone wants. If people want to read in Heero and Relena getting married or involved otherwise after the war, great. (I, personally, can't stand Relena.) If other people would prefer Heero and Duo shacking up after the war, that's fine with me, too. I know, it's not fine with you. The bible has all sorts of laws against homosexual relations, and today's climate of acceptance is a sign of persecution of Christians. Sorry, I just don't see that, but that was the subject of my previous letter, which I never received a response to.
I recommend you don't visit my angelfire website. There be fanfictions, including shounen-ai (male/male love, without graphic descriptions.)
You can't kill me. I have a cat.... Cult of Shinigami's Incense Bearer and Green Thumb
From Jennifer Scaringe: Hi, I'm an anime fan and I'd like to respond to a recent Gundam Wing article. I'm a college student and have been an anime fan for about two years, and I've found it to be a very intellectual, well-done anime. In fact, after watching the show, my friends and I often would go to dinner and discuss some of the issues raised by the show.
<<No matter what the reason, repetitive images of violence will desensitize a viewer -- child or adult -- to many forms of violence. The lynching that took place in the South during the days of slavery illustrates what can happen when people feel justified in taking revenge without going through the legal proceedings guaranteed in our Constitution. >>
I've never doubted that violence does desensitize people to an extent. The problem comes about with the context. Like everything else in this world, violence can be taken out of context. The problem is with people looking at it and not taking the time to *think* about it: what the violence means, what its consequences are, etc.
The whole theme of the plot of Gundam Wing was that the Earth and Colonies were caught in an endless cycle of violence: Earth terrorizes the colonies, the colonies fight back (in a move engineered by the five mad scientists), and they keep fighting and fighting until the end of the series, where the main characters finally realize, "Hey, this really isn't that great".
Treize, who seemed to be leading the war, (leading the Earth's army), had been a pacifist from the beginning, pulling the strings to stage this terrible war that would be so *meaningless* that humanity would become sick of war and move into a new era of peace. In the end, the scientists also try to stop this meaningless war and usher in the era of peace, telling Duo that in this way, they could "atone for their sins" (by that, they refer to starting the entire cycle of revenge and counter-revenge in the first place).
It is this context that surrounds the violence that keeps the show from becoming a classic 'shoot-em-up' testosterone ride. In the end, the characters realize that their fighting, while meaningless and 'miserable' in itself, can serve only one end-purpose: to get people to realize the need for peace. This is also gone into in further detail during the second-to-last episode, when the pilot Quatre fences with Dorothy and they discuss their *seemingly* opposite outlooks on life: Quatre is ruled by kindness whereas Dorothy seems to love war and the fighting instinct in humans.
Now, whether or not you agree that the end justifies the means (i.e., having one big war now to end all possibility of future wars) is another matter. Like with most things on Gundam W, different characters take different stances on the issues, leaving the ultimate decision up to the viewer.
I think this is part of what makes the series so beautiful; but the crux of the matter is that the violence becomes meaningless if you don't think about the consequences and the context (both in the show *and* in real life). What matters here is that Gundam becomes a way to open up dialogues.
Parents, if your kids are fans of Gundam and you're worried that he or she might turn onto violence, sit down and *talk* with your child about what it all means. Ask them what they learned from the series, what they think about it all. (There are at least two Gundam W sites I know of that post monthly discussion questions, asking fans for input on different issues--"Dark Eyes: A Shrine to Quatre Raberba Winner", and "Shrine to the Women of Gundam Wing"; and a few more where the hosts post their own essays on issues in the series. Perhaps these might be good starting points. Again, avoid the sites with "yaoi" content).
<<And the large volume of angry, threatening mail we receive because of our beliefs show how eager many anime and rpg fans now are to take the revenge they crave. This danger attitude threatens both our freedom and our safety in this land. >>
I think the reason that you're getting so many angry letters from anime fans might not be that they are more aggressive in general, but that they've had to deal in the past with much more violent opposition than what you have here in this site. When "Generic Christian Website A" is screaming that anime and rpg fans are all Satan worshippers and will all burn in Hell, basing his arguments on false facts and excaggerations, the anime and rpg fans (who are a minority in the first place) often have to resort to screaming back just so they can be heard.
So when "Generic Christian Website B", while being nicer in general about the whole thing, still expresses doubts about those forms of entertainment, the anime and rpg fans will often continue screaming back. It's just what happens after being faced with decades of hate and misunderstanding they've met up with. (to quote an episode of Gundam W, "Aren't you doing the exact same thing OZ did to you? [i.e., start a terrorist war]" "Yeah, we're just doing what you taught us.") (And fans of anything tend to be really picky about the facts, so if someone messes up the facts, they can expect to be countered rather quickly).
However, I don't think you ever need worry about your physical safety at the hands of anime/rpg fans :) Being one myself, I've noticed that we tend to be loud when annoyed, but we don't tend to get violent. At least, that's my experience.
From Berit: Thank you, Jennifer, for your explanations. I haven't worried about our physical safety -- only about our computer. We have received a lot threats from would-be hackers and others. Besides, we have apparently been removed from some search engines because angry anime fans have reported us as people who spread hate. It's a bit ironic. We don't hate anyone, no matter how much they disagree with us.
Your reference to "atone for your sins" brings up one of my concerns about the influence of Gundam Wing on Christian faith. Like many other shows today, it takes Biblical phrases and concepts and puts them into a non-Christian context. This changes their meaning. So if a Gundam fan tries to read the Bible, he is more likely to interpret it in the light of the context where he first encountered that phrase rather than in the context of the Bible itself.
As for using Gundam Wing stories "to open up dialogues," please see my comments on the dialectic (or consensus) process in at the end of my article titled "The Giver: Serving the Greater Whole."
From Connie: In response to Jennifer, you said the following:"As for using Gundam Wing stories "to open up dialogues," please see my comments on the dialectic (or consensus) process in at the end of my article titled "The Giver: Serving the Greater Whole."
I read that footnote, and I don't believe it is 100% accurate, though I'vebeen out of public school for 6 years, and elementary school is long lost to the recesses of time. Dialectic is not defined as 'consensus,' at least not by the Oxford American Dictionary. It is defined thusly: "(n) investigation of truths in philosophy etc by systematic reasoning." It has nothing to do with reaching a group consensus.
From Berit: The Hegelian Dialectic process is essentially the manipulation and directed evolution of truths and information through three interacting factors: Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis. One person shares an idea or piece of information (Thesis), then another person shares a contrary opinion (Antithesis). Other members of the group would have other ideas -- either Thesis and Antithesis) Now the goal is to dialogue until some kind of agreement is made. Everyone has to compromise a bit, except those who happened to fall in the middle already. Together they reach a new Thesis. Tomorrow, after reading a shocking hypothetical story together, they group members have some new ideas which challenge yesterdays Synthesis. Again they Dialogue. This time -- as all the other times -- they end up a little closer to pre-planned conclusion of the pre-trained facilitators. Read more about it in Chapter 3 of Brave New Schools.
That said, I want to raise this point: Suppose you (generic) have a son who enjoys watching television shows that are largely violent, like Gundam Wing, GI Joe, or whatever other ones there are. It is a wonderful opportunity for you, the parent, to sit down with your child and find out if he thinks violence is the answer. If he does, you then have the ability to tell him that, no, violence is *not* the answer and discuss your beliefs with your child. Is there ever anything wrong with discussing your beliefs and values with your child?
Depending on the child's age, you could simply say "It isn't good to hurt other people," or "It isn't right to hurt other people because..." and give your reasoning, including Bible verses, if that's part of your reasoning. Young children tend to do well with simple statements like the first; older kids tend to want good reasons.
Keeping the lines of communication open between parent and child is important. Television shows, movies, news reports, and books are all good springboards to initiate discussion with your children. Yes, you may find that your child (teen most likely) does not want to be part of the church, but you could also be missing out on great opportunities to find out what's going on in your kid's head and tell him your beliefs (and, implicitly, what you expect him to believe) respecting whatever the subject is.
If you enter into the dialectic process with your child, he or she may never again accept accept any absolutes -- either fact or Biblical Truth. The goal of the dialectic process is to teach the habit of mental compromise. See MIND CONTROL.
I like anime, RPG's, and video games, but I don't let any of them takecontrol of my life. Obsession with anything is unhealthy at any age. My main priorities are my husband, my cat, and my friends. I still make it to anime club meetings once a week to watch anime for 3 hours, and I'm subscribed to a Gundam Wing fanfiction mailing list, which generates a ton of mail that is mostly replies and summarily deleted. I wouldn't say I'm obsessed. I don't "live" for anime, D&D, or Playstation games. I don't think most fans do, either, though there are some, like the teenager who wrote in the other day upset because his mom had forbidden anime, who take "hobby" into another level. These are not the norm. Thanks for your time.
From Chris2: These are just TV shows. They do not make people evil, by any stretch of the imagination. They are works of *fiction*, which is not real. While live-action fiction can sometimes be confused for reality by children, the fact that these shows are animated removes them from reality. Children cannot necessarily emulate something that is animated, since it is fantastic.
Then why do corporations spend millions on ads using fantasy themes? Because entertaining fantasies can do more to sell and product or an idea than a less captivating "reality".
Regarding Gundam Wing, I'm pretty sure there are no giant robots for children to fool around with. As for the 'yaoi' in Gundam Wing, this is solely a product of some of the show's fans, and was not in anyway the intent of the creators of the show. Each of the lead male characters, bar one, has a female companion who they appear to have some relation with.Also, Gundam Wing is part of a series of anime shows released over 20-odd years that are highly succesful in Japan. It has obviously had no derivate effects on the Japanese now, has it?
How can you know?
As for religion, the "God of Death" and religious references run in the show's uncut version at midnight, where I am sure no child will stumble upon them. There is a cut version run during the day, in which the main character is called "The Great Destroyer" instead. The show's overall message is slightly different from it's predecessors-everybody basically is fighting for peace, and not for the goal of destruction. In fact, in the end of the story, weapons are discarded completely.
Now please, stop this anime investigation. We anime fans are not deriving anything evil from these programs. If you must attack values in entertainment, please leave anime alone. You have no doubt learned that this is an extremely sensitive topic, and you have either offended or worried a large group of people. Now, there are other forms of entertainment you should take on, for instance, the Farrely brothers movies ("There's Something about Mary" "American Pie")or the large number of overly violent action films that are crowding our theathers and video shelves.
From Jayne: Gundam Wing is a well-known and popular anime series. After looking at your section (the outline of the series more specifically) I saw that you thought it was kind of, well, unChristian or something like that. The pilots also symbolize parts of humanity and human nature. Duo wears the priest's collar because he was raised in a church and he also does it kind of as a tribute. I think he would symbolize the spirit and soul. Wufei would be passion, Heero would be body, Trowa would be pain, and Quatre would be emotion.
Duo is always talking about being Shinigami which isn't so strange considering the fact that he was the only one to survive some kind of disease in his home colony. Wufei is always striving to be better and stronger, showing his passion. Heero could be pain and body, or all five since he's the main character, because he's silent and calculating. Trowa seems to show all sympoms of some one who was bady abused and still living the pain.
Quatre is very emphatic and emotional which is probably why he was driven to insanity by the deaths of his closest family members. No, it's not from a Christian perspective, but most of the creators probably weren't Christians anyway.
About the G-Wing symbolization, that's from my point of veiw, and people say I tend to dig too deep, but Gundam Wing contains a lot of raw emotion about war, peace and a little bit of God. It's a really deep series. Thanks for taking the time to read this if you did.
From Heather MacCloud: I recently went to your christian website. I'm not a christian. I was at one time but I'm not now, the religion as a whole disgusts me.
Now, on to more pressing matters. I was reading your comments on Gundam Wing and felt compeled to respond. I'm a fan of GW, and I don't like the way you jumped to conclusions about a series you obviously don't understand. What struck me most was the way you made a mockery of the character Duo Maxwell. Yes, this character does wear a preist's collar and yes, he calls himself Shinigami, but he doesn't worship Shinigami.
If you actually looked into the series any, you would know that in the Japanese series no reference to ANY religion is made. Duo wears the collar in honor of the priest that raised him, that's also why he has the braid, and the last name Maxwell, by the way. HE does this for the same reason christians put flowers on grave stones. Shinigami is more of a code name to him.
You'll note that in the series he calls himself Shinigami, never once does it mention that he worships Shinigami. By watching the OAV (Original Animated Video) we learn more about Duo's reasoning for calling himself Shinigami. In it you find out that the true purpose on the pilots mission to Earth was not to stop Oz, but to destroy the Earth itself.
Duo doesn't want to do this, nor does his mentor or any of the other pilots and thier mentors. So Duo tries to destroy his Gundam, because without the Gundam he can't go to Earth. His mentor knew about this and disarmed the self-destruct mechanism before Duo tried to carry out his plan. Then waits for Duo to carry it out, he comes up to Duo whose now realized something's wrong and is laminating over the fact that he still has to carry out the mission to destroy Earth.
Dr. G, Duo's mentor, walks up to him at that point and the two talk. Duo tells G that he doesn't want the Gundam and himself to be tools in a mass murder and G reachs into Duo shirt and pulls out a gun. G asks Duo if he was going to kill him. Duo says yes, and himself to to stop the mission. (And before you jump me on this, God doesn't seem to mind it when the people in the bible do the same thing. Samson is a good example of this, and so is Moses.) Dr. G then gives Duo back the gun and tells him to take the Gundam, go to Earth and find a man named Howard. Howard will help him carry out a new mission.
Dr. G says "Go to him as the God of Death (Shinigami)" It's a code name, not a god to Duo.
As for the line about him believing in Shinigami. Well, there are twothings about that. 1) That's not in the series, it's in a comic by the name of Episode Zero that has yet to be released the the US. and 2) He was a kid that had no contact with any kind of church and probably didn't even know God exsisted until Father Maxwell took him in. Duo was an orphan raised on the streets of one of the L2 colenies (think 18th and 19th century England for the poverty level and living conditions) Only the rich were well taken care of, everyone else lived in squaller. He'd never had any prior contact with God, all he knew was death. He hadn't been in the church that long and it's doubtful he really understood anything about God. When Sister Helen asked him about God, he responded with all he knew, which at the time was death. No young child that has seen what Duo had is going to suddenly believe in God overnight. Up to that point everyone in Duo's life had died, now what reason does he have to believe in a God that let's everyone he loves die?
Kids are selfish, it's in their nature, they think about themselves a lot, especially if they don't have anyone else to show them how to act. Duo's responce is natural for a child with his background.
I've read the summery on your page and found several key points were left out and there is some incorrect information. Gundam Wing is a complex story and I'm won't take the time to expand on it in this e-mail. However I will point out one misprint truely effects the characterizion of Duo. It's the scene in the Episode Zero comic, the correct translation of the scene is this:
Nun: You say there's no God?
Duo: Yeah. If there's really a God, He should stop the war. (Duo is a war orphan, war and killing are all he knows)
Duo: *Sitting on the priest's lap.* If there wasn't any war, there wouldn't be war orphans like me. (this is the logic you'll find from any non-christian child in a war torn nation. Duo is both)
Priest: Duo... God doesn't start wars, people do. People have to end what they start.
Duo: Hmm.... So it doesn't matter if there is a God or not, huh? (again, this is a logical concusion for a non-christian, given the priest's statement)
Nun: That's not true!
Duo: I think the only God in this world is the god of death (Shinigami).
Nun: Duo... You don't believe in God, but you believe in Shinigami?
Duo: *Cheerfully.* Yeah! 'Cause I've never seen a miracle, but I've seen lots and lots of dead people!
You can see in this that Duo in asking the same questions that any unsaved person would. Only, because of his background, and because the Japanese are mostly non-christians Duo has come to a different base conclusion than he would had this been an American cartoon.
The point behind this e-mail is this. You should not be using Anime as your scapgoat to blame the US's lack of Christianity on. I'm not a christian, not becuase of Anime or D&D, but because of christains themselves. I can't stand the hypocricy, the two-facedness, and all the other negative quatilties that enbody christians today. Anime is a Japanese thing, it's part of their culture.
America and christians are supposed to be tollerant and respectful of the culture of others. Jesus Christ himself said that we were to love everyone and treat our neighbors with the respect we want them to be show us. Yet if something of ours is cencored or modified by another country and still said to be something of ours, we correct them. But we cencor and edit Anime until it's not even the same show that was shown in Japan. Instead of saying this is wrong, and evil and corrupting our children, you need to take a look at christianity and realize that it's not anime and D&D but the christians themselves that turn people off.
And no, the Japanese are not "messed up" as you said on your page. I find that statement racist and just another reason I'm ashamed to have ever called myself a christian. If you truly wish to find a scapegoat, then turn to American films and cartoons, not anime. Anime is part of another culture that you obviously don't understand. Yet you don't seem to be saying anything about movies such as "Scary Movie" that blatently shows men's penises, shows smoking pot, and makes a joke out of murder. I'm ending this letter by asking you this. Why do cite another culture as the reason for christianity's problems, when there are more things in the US itself to worry about?
And, why must you try to find a scapegoat, when the real problem is with christains themselves?
You are putting words and ideas in my mouth that I didn't say or think, Heather. I neither believe nor say that the Japanese are "messed up." I know well that the world's biggest export of immoral entertainment is the USA. I have never called for banning or censorship of any form of entertainment. Could you please show me the passages that gave you that idea -- so that I can clear up any misunderstanding. But for now, let me repeat my introduction at the top of this page:
"Since I can't find it on our cable network, I can't review it. But I will post comments from others who have watched it. May God give you His wisdom and discernment as you read and research this new feature."
I have merely been posting other people's comments on this topic. I made it clear from the beginning that my responses would only be based on the descriptions I received from all of you. I have taken the letters at face value and answered questions the best I could with limited information. However, it doesn't take long to see if some kind of entertainment -- including Gundam Wing -- clashes with a person's belief.
In other words, I have not tried to summarize the story or evaluate the characters for any purpose other than to help Christian families make wise choices that agree with God's guidelines. What you described to me does not.
From Autumnwind: [The first part of the letter is in the Harry Potter page.]
Now then, on to Gundam Wing: I strongly disagree with Jerint's review of Gundam Wing- well, maybe not disagree, but know otherwise on a few of his points, and maybe I can offer a differing opinion of some things.
Jerint states that Shinigami is the God of Death in Shinto. This is not correct. Shi = Death. Ni = From/Of (I think). Gami = This is where I doubt myself. "Kami" is the Japanese word for death. However, the character Duo Maxwell is an American, and the difference in spelling COULD be attributed to his mispronunciation of "Kami". It's realistic- I don't know many Americans who are fluent in the Japanese language.
So you see, Duo was "trying to be cute" when he came up with this alias. Duo was raised in an American (Christian) orphanage, and would probably have very limited knowledge of the Shinto religion. The gods of death in the Shinto religion, however, are: Amatsu Mikaboshi- some may disagree with me on this one. His name means "August Star of Heaven" and is classified as the god of EVIL, but for argument's sake I'm including him here in the "death" section.
Amida- This is the actual "lord of death." He didn't control a realm of dark, dank places of suffering, but he rather oversaw a place rather akin to the Christian heaven, where the devout and the good went upon their death.
Autumnwind, it is interesting that almost every pagan civilization -- Hittite, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, Shinto, Hindu, etc. -- has had a lord of death. It seems that Gundam Wing is building on all kinds of myths and characters that fit into the category God tells us to "have nothing to do with."
Ekibiogami - god of illness. Iki-Ryo - god of malice.
"Shinigami" was never, and still is not, worshipped by the followers of Shinto. It was a name made up by the writers of the Gundam Wing scenario to develop Duo's character.
On the presence of "yaoi": *cough* *cough* Okay, this is a subject one can't touch with a 10-foot-pole without offending SOMEONE. There ARE yaoi implications in the American version of Gundam Wing, and most "yaoi fans" use these particular events to justify their claim that the pilots are gay. However, I can offer some rebuttals to this:
Heero: Heero was raise to be inhuman, the "perfect soldier." The other pilots could be counted as his friends, but the "perfect soldier" can't have friends. Emotion is weakness to him. I think that it'd be natural for him to constantly move to save the other pilot's lives (especially Duo's- I'll explain that in a second), because they've managed to break down the wall around his heart. Add to that the fact that Relena is almost ALWAYS on his mind, and a particular line at the end (WARNING! SPOILER!!!)
Zechs: You could have killed me. Why didn't you kill me?
Heero: Because it would make Relena sad.
Now, wait a sec- Heero's spent a good chunk of the series trying to KILL Relena, and then he's concerned with Relena's emotional welfare? Heh. Well, it doesn't necessarily provide concrete evidence that he's straight, but it does put a rather large dent in the "he's gay" arguments.
Duo: His earlies memories are of a plague that took his protector, Solo.
He didn't have any memory of his parents or his name when Solo died of the plague. He loved him like a brother. When the orphanage was destroyed, everyone he loved there- all his friends and Sister Helen, whom had become a maternal figure to him- were slaughtered. He held Helen while she died. Then comes along Heero and the others and he sees the potential for friendship. Duo's way too outgoing to reject them (he was taught the OPPOSITE), so he latched onto the other pilot's and hung on for dear life. Duo is scared silly to lose one of them (his friends).
THAT'S why he appears to "obsess" over them, not necessarily because he is gay, but because they are his FRIENDS.
Quatre: The boy was they youngest. He was the youngest and the only male offspringe in the family. He was the youngest and the only male offspring in a family with TWENTY-EIGHT sisters. I think he probably picked up some "effeminete" habits while growing up. Quatre wasn't raised to be a manly-man: It would have been impossible and the product would be a VERY gender-role confused young man. He was taught, by example, that emotions don't need to be hidden. I personally like a man who can cry. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's gay, just that his sisters had an impact on his personality development.
WuFei: He was married. He was a member of a Chinese clan and he was married. Since (and this just may be a stereotype, because I don't know for sure) homosexuality is punishable by lynching in China, I doubt WuFei'd dare to be OPENLY gay, if he is.
Trowa: I don't have an argument for this one, other than the fact that so far, I've seen NO behaviors from him that could be interpretted as "gay."
By the way, any fan feedback for this would be appreciated. I always like hearing other viewpoints. ^_^
I don't have much feedback, but then, I'm not a fan of Gundam Wing. Perhaps others will provide the feedback. However, I appreciate this information. It should help Christian families make wise choices.
From LadyUne: I wasn't sure how to respond as i couldn't find any links except for this email, so i apologise for being wrong, however i have to say i do find some of the comments quite ludicrous. I happened upon here quite by chance, looking for wav files for Gundam Wing, but i read the comments.
I am a 17 year old student in the UK, i'd say i do well in my studies and am a well balanced person.
Gundam Wing does not promote death at all, i would say it more is against the ideas of war. The key concept to the anime is Relena Peacecraft's ideals of total pacifism. These ideals are thought of as impossible dreams but Relena (even though i despise her character) sticks by these ideals and the Sank Kingdom is perceived as a flickering flame of hope. As far as i can see this programme is actually very important, i know it is merely a cartoon but i think it portrays interesting ideas and concepts about how we view out existences and our needs to fight. The whole purpose is the search for peace, and the point is made of removing borders for that is often the cause of conflicts.
The peace it promotes is an illusion. Conflict, jealousy, ambition, hatred.... all these traits which lead to conflict and war are part of our human nature. Today's attempts at "conflict resolution" through sensitivity and consensus groups redirect that hatred toward new "enemies" such as me and my uncompromising views. The Bible summarizes it well:
"...they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace." Ezekiel 13:6
"For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace." Jeremiah 8:11
I also have to say religion is a major cause of conflict, historically most wars have been fought over religion. Even today, the Gaza Strip in Israel, Northern Ireland, all conflicts borne out of a failure to simply agree over minor differences in very similar religions. It is the stubborness to accept that others can live perfectly fine without religion or with a different religion that makes so many hate religion.
Please see Biblical versus Cultural Christianity
The characters in Gundam Wing do not rejoice in battle, they feel they have to as the only path to secure peace.
The issue of Shinigami, well when Duo says that he believes in Shinigami because he has seen much of his work i think he has a point. This is often a complaint of people, why are there wars if there is a god who is supposed to love us so much? Yaoi, well it is implied to an extent, and i can understand it but my personal view as i am not very pro-yaoi is that these boys probably have never had any true friendships in their lives before. This i feel is particularly true of Quatre and Trowa, Trowa has a very mysterious past and it is likely he was abused as a child. Many have pointed to the clothes he wears as some sort of symbolism of locking himself away. Quatre shows kindness to Trowa, probably the first and he responds to his first ever real friend. To me no real Yaoi is implied and it is very sensitive showing the importance of kindness and true friendships.
There really is very little in this show that can be perceived as 'bad'.
Yes certainly it is not for the very young, the political sophistication to an extent is beyond the reach of the young, it to me is one of the more intelligent programmes on at the moment. For anime as a whole, it presents worthy messages, we have to remember cultural relativism and these are produced in Japan so christian references are not likely to be many.
But cultural relativism is a big problem. It prompts those who say they are Christians to evaluate the world and its thrills according to their feelings and popular opinions rather than by God's Word. So it undermines the faith of our children.
Nothing in anime is harmful, no more harmful than any other television show. Over here young children watch a show called 'Bad Girls' about a women's prison in London which is 'gritty' with themes of violence, neglect and homosexuality and they are not affected but it is at the end of the day tv. Yes television can affect behaviour but those people are in the minority, as i write i am reminded of the Eminem lyric about the high school shootings in Denver 'and they blame it on Marilyn (on Marilyn).. and the heroin. Where were the parents at?
The father of one of the two boys who did the shooting said that his son was "his best friend." They did a lot of things together. He didn't know that his son had a shadow-life in an imaginary world based on the visual images from violent games and shows. Keep in mind, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which the UK ratified, binds the hands of parents. They are not allowed to maintain wise boundaries for their children. It was designed to "free" children from the safe boundaries of traditional values.
And look where it's at Middle America, now it's a tragedy' and i do to an extent agree. We are too quick to blame the media for society's problems when the causes often lie elsewhere.
I will deal with this in an article next month..
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