Biblical anime

Biblical anime DEFAULT

What should be the Christian view of anime?


The term anime—the Japanese word for “animation”—generally refers to animation that comes from Japan. Strictly speaking, anime is just another medium used to convey a story or artistic idea. While the actual art style in the form of angles and shading, etc., is morally neutral, there are some more ambiguous points to be addressed regarding anime. The same goes for anime’s printed counterpart, manga.

To begin with, Japanese culture is very different from Western culture. While Western culture has historically sprung from monotheistic roots and embraced a Christian moral code, Far Eastern cultures such as exist in Japan lean toward mystical superstition and polytheism. Specific to Japan is Shintoism, a religion that deems the Japanese islands and people divine. According to Shintoism, the Japanese people are direct descendants of the many gods and spirits (kami) living throughout the islands.

Shrines to the different gods or spirits are common in Japan, and the themes of Shintoism are also very common in anime and manga. Some anime thrives on the topic of religion, using Japanese culture as a setting for fantasy adventures in which the spirit world and humanity mingle, either pleasantly or unpleasantly. Given the mystical foundation of Eastern culture, anime also tends to employ elements of the occultsuch as tarot cards, incantations, and more. Personal honor and success are also common themes in anime. But a focus on personal honor and personal success can lead to pride, which clouds our need for God (Psalm 10:4).

Another thing to consider is anime’s reputation for permeating violence and sexual content. While not every anime movie is extremely sexual or extremely violent, most examples of anime do come with varying levels of salacious and/or violent content, ranging from light innuendo and slapstick violence to full-on porn (though this is its own subcategory, called hentai) and gore-fests.

As Christians, we’re supposed to dwell on “whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute” (Philippians 4:8). Additionally, Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” For the Christian, guarding what comes and stays in our minds is very important. We are to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).

While there can be a lot of questionable things in anime, there are strong Christians who enjoy the medium. They appreciate the style, the futuristic settings, and the imaginative storytelling in anime. And they might see and be encouraged by some biblically approved themes present in anime such as self-sacrifice, kindness, loyalty, endurance, and courage.

Other Christians, however, might decide that something with so many lurid landmines is not worth the time required to navigate it safely. Or they’ve been convicted against placing themselves in positions to be exposed to something that could hurt their spiritual walk.

What should be the Christian view of anime? Carefully. What might be beneficial for one person could be devastating for another person (Romans 14; 1 Corinthians 10:24–29). Be aware of what the Holy Spirit might be saying. If He’s saying to stay away, then stay away (1 Thessalonians 5:19; Ephesians 4:30). But if you have no conviction against anime, and you’ve thoroughly searched your heart and motives, then approach with caution and bear in mind that you are called to, “whether . . . you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Recommended Resources

Prince of Media: The Anime Cartoon Attack by D.J. Harris

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Topical Bible Questions

What should be the Christian view of anime?

Note:  This page has been replaced by a reformatted and more up-to-date listing.

One question Christian anime fans frequently ask is, “Is there such a thing as a Christian anime?”  As I mentioned in the FAQ, besides Tezuka Osamu’s collaboration with the Vatican, The Flying House, and perhaps another exception here or there, the answer is “no.”

But, that doesn’t mean that “Christian anime” is an oxymoron.

It’s not unusual to see Christian symbolism in anime.  Some series even place a central focus on these symbols, though some (like Neon Genesis Evangelion or Toaru Majutsu no Index) controversially depict these elements.  Instead, anime can be viewed through a Christian lens.  Although the series may not refer directly to the Christian God or to Jesus, important themes in Christianity are ever-present in anime, including grace, sacrificial love, being just, seeking to do what is right, turning the other cheek, and finding that there may be a higher being in the universe.  Below are series that feature these qualities, press us to think further about faith, or feature Christian characters in a fair light.

This list will expand as I watch shows which I think are befitting of it.  The newest additions are Fruits Basket, Chrono Crusade, and Sakamichi no Apollon (added 5.8.12).

Mining Spirituality in Anime

Eden of the East

Though the title may indicate a religious anime, the series is more of a mystery, romance, and action story, which touches of comedy.  This intelligent show follows a young man, Takizawa, who has lost his memory and is caught up in a game to become the “Savior” of Japan.  Vocabulary related to religion, particularly Christianity, abounds in the story.  One can also find strong symbolism regarding some of the characters.  Eden of the East contains some violence, foul language, and brief nudity.

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Haibane Renmei

Perhaps the most overtly Christian series on the list (for as much as that means), this series focuses on angel-like entities known as haibane, who are born into a world where they work and live among human townsfolk.  This beautiful work can easily be viewed as a Catholic vision of the afterlife and features heavy emphasis on the ideas of sin, grace, forgiveness, and love.  It’s a powerful work that I believe should be at the top of a Christian otaku’s viewing list – indeed, it’s a become a classic for any fan of anime.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica

What starts out as a slightly atypical magical girl show becomes one the most inventive, daring, and powerful anime in recent memory.  This intense journey into the consequences our choices bring is heavy on violence and death and contains foul language.  But nothing is gratuitous and the show is purposeful, emphasizing the themes of friendship, sacrifice, and hope.  It’s a moving series, but be aware – it doesn’t shy away from some very dark themes.

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Espousing Christian Themes in Anime and Manga

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket, though a manga aimed at adolescent girls, has touched the hearts of guys and gals of all ages.  Besides being a quality series (and one that was quite popular during it’s release in North America), the series features themes that speak right to the heart of Christianity, particularly humbleness, sacrifice, and love.  Several of the writers here at Beneath the Tangles have emphatically recommended the series, which in 2019, was remade.

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Kino’s Journey

Anime episodes are often self-contained, and this is especially true of Kino’s Journey.  The fable-like story follows the title character as she travels from country to country in an unknown world.  The show is wonderful at expressing the human condition in all it’s sin and depravity, but it also reveals the beauty of the world and of people.  There is also a particularly powerful moment involving a Christlike sacrifice that plays a very important role in the series.  The show contains a lot of violence, though little (or none) of it is graphic.

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Ookiku FurikabutteOokiku Furikabutte (Big Windup)

A baseball anime?  Oh, it’s much more than that.  One of the best series in the genre of sports anime, Oofuri is chock full of themes that are ripe for application in the Christian life.  The show explores ideas such as courage, character, friendship, strength, transformation, and selflessness, while emphasizing an ever-present theme in sports anime: the process of growth.

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Vash the Stampede is the hero of Trigun, a man wanted for enormous destruction (of entire towns…and of part of the moon!).  Starting out in a slapsick manner, the series becomes more and more serious as it goes along.  Vash is pacifist who will not kill; his foil and frequent partner, Wolfwood, calls himself a priest, though he is more than willing to take lives.  Their interaction and their beliefs are ripe for discussion, as the series asks tough questions for such a fun show.  Every episode features gunplay and violence, and there is foul language in the series.

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Christian Characters in Anime

Chrono Crusade

Although I didn’t particularly enjoy this series, Chrono Crusade does at least one thing right: it generally avoids the temptation that other series featuring the Catholic church succumb to, painting the institution as a good one and actually presenting some theologically appropriate ideas.  The main characters fight demons and the show emphasizes the power of love and sacrifice.

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Samurai Champloo

This critically acclaimed work follows two swordsmen as they accompany a young woman on her search for a mysterious “samurai who smells of sunflowers.”  Full of substance and stylistically unique, Samurai Champloo is a powerful series from the creator of another classic, Cowboy Bebop.  Christian characters play a major role late in the show, and themes of forgiveness and justice are heavily present.  Not all Christians in the story are “good people,” with many being flawed and others outright hypocrites, though I feel the series treats them fairly.  You may want to avoid Samurai Champloo if bothered by foul language and extensive violence.

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Kids on the Slope

Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)

Sakamichi no Apollon immediately gathered a following because of it’s unique storyline featuring teenagers coming of age in the 1960s and bonding through jazz and the pedigree of its director (Shinichiro Watanabe, who also directed Samurai Champloo).  However, many viewers were surprised by an additional element – the Christian faith shared by two protagonists in the series.  The animators approach their faith is approached in a sensitive manner.

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Note:  Our eight recommendations page has been replaced by this reformatted and more up-to-date listing, which is also replicated under our anime recommendations page.

Below are our staff’s selections for series that we recommend to Christian viewers.  Growing from our original list, the series given below contain information about the shows that you may find pertinent as you select which series to watch or to show your families. The list is ever-growing, and we invite you to give your own recommendations in the comment section below. At the bottom, we’ve also included other recommended anime with few details, divided by age appropriateness.

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop)
Clannad (Clannad)
Kino’s Journey (Kino no Tabi)
Haibane Renmei (Haibane Renmei)
My Ordinary Life (Nichijou)
Now and Then, Here and There (Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica)
Trigun (Trigun)


Bunny Drop
Usagi Drop

Daikichi’s grandfather has just died and the young professional’s family can’t stop bickering – not about what to do with Grandfather’s possessions, but what to do about the old man’s six-year old illegitimate child, whom the family has just discovered.  Even without any experience of his own, and seemingly not a family man at all, Daikichi makes the decision to rear the little girl, and what follows is one of the most simple, sincere, and heartwarming series in all anime.

(2011 ~ 11 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy series that are moving
(+) Like shows centered around modern family issues
(+) Like cute kids

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Dislike angular, sketchy art styles

Biblical Themes:
(+) Emphasis on sacrificial love
(+) Demonstration of concern for the helpless

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Slight alcohol consumption and discussion of Rin’s parentage may trouble parents

Read articles about Bunny Drop. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Clannad & Clannad: After Story
Clannad & Clannad: After Story

Tomoya is the kind, but delinquent son of an alcoholic single father.  Nagisa is the shy and sickly, but determined daughter of loving parents.  When they meet one day on the road to school, little did they know that their lives, and that of the group of friends they would make, would become intertwined in tale that is both romantic comedy and fantastical.  One of the most beloved franchises of recent years, Clannad and its sequel, After Story, starts like most series in the genre, introducing a male protagonist and a series of female characters, each with very different personalities, who might somehow become the object of our hero’s affection.  But Clannad transcends the others by taking the viewers on an extraordinary journey past high school and into real life, including the pain, loss, and tragedy that can beset and paralyze us.

(2007 ~ 47 episodes, 2 OVAs, 1 movie)

Watch if you:
(+) Are a romantic at heart
(+) Like zany comedic moments
(+) Enjoy long series that cross multiple genres

Skip if you:
(-) 52 episodes is too long for you
(-) Like your stories firmly grounded in realism
(-) Don’t want to cry

Biblical Themes:
(+) Strong emphasis on love toward family, friends, and even enemies
(+) Themes of love and redemption

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Mystical content plays major role throughout
(-) Some alcohol consumption and violence (mostly comedic)
(-) Brief bad language

Read articles about Clannad. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Kino’s Journey
Kino no Tabi

Anime episodes are often self-contained, and this is especially true of Kino’s Journey.  The fable-like story follows the title character as she travels from country to country in an unknown world.  The show is wonderful at expressing the human condition in all it’s sin and depravity, but it also reveals the beauty of the world and of people.

(2003 ~ 13 episodes, 1 OVA, 2 movies)
(2017 REMAKE ~ 12 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like something you can watch an episode at a time
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) Enjoy a mixture of drama, social commentary, and action

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Prefer an extended, driven, continuous story
(-) Dislike a simplistic, exaggerated art style

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Moral dilemmas that can be related directly to pieces of Scripture

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Minor language
(-) Obscured, occasional blood and frequent violence

Read articles about Kino’s Journey. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon (original / 2017) or Right Stuf (original / 2017).

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Haibane Renmei
Haibane Renmei

Haibane Renmei focuses on angel-like entities known as haibane, who are born into a world where they work and live among human townsfolk.  This beautiful work can easily be viewed as a Catholic vision of the afterlife and features heavy emphasis on the ideas of sin, grace, forgiveness, and love.  It’s a powerful work that should be at the top of any otaku’s viewing list, much less any Christian otaku’s viewing list – indeed, it’s a become a classic for any fan of anime exploring deep and emotional themes.

(2002 ~ 13 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like to stray from the generic anime path
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) Enjoy strong characters and symbolic imagery

Skip if you:
(-) Get bored easily
(-) Prefer more standard storytelling types focusing on action or romance (there is neither)
(-) Need all loose ends tied together by the end of the story (it leaves much room for interpretation by the end)

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like love and sacrifice
(+) The repercussions of sin
(+) Unconditional forgiveness
(+) Contentedness over materialism

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Minor language
(-) Minor blood and disturbing pain (first episode briefly)
(-) Partial nudity (brief side shot of main character naked from an obscured angle; not of sexual nature)

Read articles about Haibane Renmei and visit our study website. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon.

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My Ordinary Life

High school students.  Unrequited love.  An elementary-aged inventor.  Exasperated robot assistant.  Deer-wrestling principal.  Rich boy who rides a goat to school.  Um…what?  These characters and a number of others fill the world of My Ordinary Life, a great example both of the comedy and slice of life genres in anime.  What sets Nichijou apart, perhaps, is two-fold – it’s a creative series that constantly goes for surprising and unexpected gags and it’s a very clean series that can be enjoyed by the family.

(2011 ~ 26 episodes, 1 OVA)

Watch if you:
(+) Schoolgirl slice of life (a la Azumanga Daioh)
(+) Zany humor
(+) Relatable characters

Skip if you:
(-) Want a continuous story
(-) Prefer realism

Biblical Themes:
(+) Wholesome humor

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Very mild homosexual themes (Mio’s manga)

Read articles about My Ordinary Life. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Now and Then, Here and There
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku

Perhaps one of the most, if not the most, controversial title on this list. Now and Then, Here and There plays itself off to be, at least in the first episode, the most generic of shounen (aimed toward teenage boys) out there, taking place in a middle school setting at a kendo club. However, don’t let the generic setup deceive you, as this anime is nothing like your generic shounen. Now and Then, Here and There is a short, 13-episode anime that provides one of the most inspiring main characters ever to grace anime from the Christian perspective, witnessed as he works through dozens of deplorable situations that would make any less committed person simply give up and give in. Despite a great amount of questionable implied content, the anime itself is actually relatively clean in comparison, particularly considering the wonderful underlying themes that can be drawn from it.

(1999 ~ 13 episodes)

Watch if you:
(+) Like serious stories exploring difficult situations
(+) Brutally honest social commentary
(+) Want a different take on the shounen genre
(+) Like post-apocalyptic science fiction

Skip if you:
(-) Like happy endings
(-) Prefer more standard shounen

Biblical Themes:
(+) Sanctity of life
(+) Faith that God will bring you through a situation
(+) Sacrificial love
(+) Redemption and forgiveness
(+) Standing up for ideals in an oppressive culture or situation

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Child soldiers
(-) Implied child rape and torture
(-) Blood and violence
(-) Brief partial nudity (young child, harmless and not of sexual nature)
(-) Mild language

Read articles on Now and Then, Here and There. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon.

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Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magika

Almost like superheroes for young girls, the “magical girl” subgenre, unique to anime, features girls who fight off the forces of evil, gathering power by transforming into vibrant outfits.  A dark series, Madoka Magica is infamous for turning magical girl conventions on their head, while focusing on the significant themes of sin, hope, and salvation.

(2011 ~ 12 episodes, 3 movies)

Watch if you:
(+) Like psychological horrors
(+) Want to watch something that will make you think
(+) If you enjoy a dramatically unfolding plot

Skip if you:
(-) Dislike bright colors/big eyes character styles
(-) Prefer “contained-within-an-episode” stories
(-) Aren’t ready to handle major “feels”

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Discussion of concepts central to scripture (ex. sin and redemption)

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Very mild homosexual inferences, emphasized further in later, separate films
(-) Jarring violence presented in sometimes unrealistic manner

Read articles about Madoka Magica. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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The western-style science fiction series traces the travels of Vash the Stampede, the most wanted man on a dry planet in desperate need of an alien energy source.  When two young women, representing an insurance agent, finds the infamous outlaw, they’re stunned by his seeming ineptitude, silly personality, and womanizing.  Vash shows his true colors, though, as he tries to live out his mantra of “Love and peace,” even in the company of a violent “priest” and a growing menace who is seeking Vash, and doesn’t mind killing innocents to get what they desire.  Trigun balances the fun of an action-comedy with a plot that explores ideas central to Christianity, such as mercy, salvation, hope, and forgiveness.

(1998 ~ 26 episodes, 1 movie)

Watch if you:
(+) Enjoy equal doses of comedy and action
(+) Like superhero-style stories
(+) If you enjoy a dramatically unfolding plot

Skip if you:
(-) Dislike frequent violence
(-) Do not like science fiction or westerns

Biblical Themes:
(+) Christ-like sacrifice
(+) Emphasis on themes of non-violence and forgiveness
(+) Frequent discussion of the sanctity of life

Content to Look Out For:
(-) Frequent non-graphic violence
(-) Some language
(-) Mild sexual references
(-) A “priest” character who is a violent gunslinger is a major character

Read articles about Trigun. Stream legally for free here or purchase on Amazon or Right Stuf.

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Other Recommended Anime

The anime below is recommended by staff for Christian viewers, though again, your mileage will vary on what you deem is appropriate to watch. We’ve divided these anime in roughly four age appropriate groupings: AA for all ages; 7+ for ages seven and older; PT for preteens (some as young as nine or perhaps not until as old as 12); or 17+ for ages 17 and older. But we emphasize that our thoughts on these ratings may differ from your own.

Rating: AA

Bananya+ (stream / purchase)
Working Buddies (stream)

Rating: 7+

Girls und panzer (stream / purchase)
Hiraku no Go (stream / purchase)
How to keep a mummy (stream)
Iroduku: The World In Colors (stream)
The Journey Home (stream)
Miss Bernard said. (stream)
Sands of Destruction (stream / purchase)

Rating: PT

Angel Beats (stream / purchase)
Cowboy Bebop (stream / purchase)
Death Note (stream / purchase)
Dragon Ball Z (stream / purchase)
ERASED (stream / purchase)
Fate/Apocrypha (stream)
Kotoura-San (stream / purchase)
Log Horizon (stream / purchase)
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet
My Hero Academia (stream / purchase)
Planet With (stream / purchase)
The Promised Neverland (stream / purchase)
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai (stream / purchase)
ReLife (stream / purchase)
Rurouni Kenshin (stream / purchase)
Seki-kun (stream / purchase)
Silver Spoon (stream / purchase)
Snow White with the Red Hair (stream / purchase)
SSSS.Gridman (stream / purchase)
Sword Art Online (stream / purchase)
Toradora (stream / purchase)
Violet Evergarden (stream / purchase)
World Trigger (stream / purchase)
Working!! (stream / purchase)

Rating: 17+

Gate (stream / purchase)
Rurouni Kenshin: Trust and Betrayal (stream / purchase)

Featured illustration by sat-C (reprinted w/permission)

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The Animated Bible Series - Season 1 - Episode 3 - Job - Michael Arias

4 Anime Series that Are Secretly Christian

(Warning: The following contains minor spoilers!)

Are you a devoted Catholic Christian who just happens to be looking for an excuse to kick back and enjoy some cartoons imported from the Land of the Rising Sun? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

As anyone who has come across the amusing Facebook group Catholic Anime knows, there are quite a few Catholic fans of Japanese animation busily perusing the web and making goofy memes featuring their favorite characters. What these fans may not know is that there are actually some anime series out there that consciously make use of Catholic themes and symbolism – some overtly, some subtly.

(Note: I argue that Catholic themes feature strongly in the series listed below. I do not argue that they are necessarily appropriate for all ages. If you’re looking for something family-friendly in the anime genre, I highly recommend the films of Studio Ghibli.)

Without further ado, let’s explore!

4) Samurai Champloo

This semi-historical series chronicles the adventures of three companions – Jin, Mugen, and Fuu – traveling across Tokugawa-era Japan in search of the mysterious Sunflower Samurai. Along the way, they encounter obstacles ranging from corrupt government officials, to Dutch fans of Geisha, and even a family of vengeful pirates. The series features an amusingly anachronistic soundtrack composed of hip-hop tunes along with its historical setting in the late Edo Period (mid-1800s).  It also includes action sequences featuring “martial arts” reminiscent of hip-hop dance culture.

So what does any of this have to do with Catholicism? Well, in this case it has less to do with the story’s themes than with a little-known chapter of Japanese history.

The series finale – the three-part episode Evanescent Encounter – features a subplot concerning a group of persecuted Japanese Christians, one of whom is of great significance to a main character. Not much is said in dialogue about this persecution, but what we glimpse via flashbacks effectively hints at the martyrdom that this group, like their real-life historical counterparts, suffered at the hands of their Tokugawa persecutors. An earlier episode also addresses the reality of persecuted Christians, and even includes a historically correct scene in which Japanese villagers are lined up and ordered – under threat of the sword – to stomp on an image of Christ to prove their loyalty to Japan.

The martyrs of Japan are a rather neglected group in the history of Christianity.  It’s satisfying, then, to see them featured in a highly rated series produced in the very country in which they were subjected to such awful oppression.

3) Cowboy Bebop


Widely regarded as one of the greatest anime series of all time, Cowboy Bebop takes place in a distant future in which humanity has colonized the vast regions of outer space. It follows a motley crew of bounty hunters – Spike Spiegel, the main protagonist and a former syndicate member; Jet, Spike’s partner and an ex-cop; Faye, a female bounty hunter with a mysterious past (duh!); and Edward, a young hacker – who live together as family on their spaceship, the Bebop, working together to bring down the most dangerous criminals in the solar system… for a price.

The show’s main antagonist is the aptly named Vicious, a sword-wielding figure from Spike’s past, and a purely diabolical individual. Through Vicious, overtly Catholic themes of good and evil become the series’ ultimate focus: When we meet Vicious in the episode Ballad of Fallen Angels (Get that?), it is to the sound of Ave Maria being sung in the background; Spike’s first confrontation with Vicious takes place in an abandoned – and ornate – church; Many of Vicious’s spoken lines evoke theology (“When angels are forced out of Heaven, they become devils.”), and Vicious is repeatedly described as a “serpent” (in case the symbolism wasn’t already clear enough).

The confrontation between Spike and Vicious, framed in the context of an eternal battle between virtue and the diabolic, and masterfully directed by Shinichiro Watanabe (who would go on to direct Samurai Champloo) in a style reminiscent of John Woo, helps make Cowboy Bebop by far the most popular series on this list, and arguably the best.

2) Death Note


As the title should imply, Death Note is by far the darkest entry on this list, and it also happens to be one of the more popular anime series in recent years. It follows a brilliant but disillusioned young man named Light Yagami who one day finds a notebook with a series of bizarre instructions printed inside. The first instruction states simply, “The human being whose name is written in this notebook shall die.” With some assistance from a Shinigami (or “god of death”) named Ryuk, Light embarks on a hubristic mission to reshape the world in his own image, with the ultimate goal of enthroning himself as God – and passing judgment on anyone who gets in his way.

While it is unclear whether it is the writer’s intention, Light Yagami works perfectly as a human metaphor for the Devil. Remember, for example, that “Lucifer” translates as “Light bearer” and that Satan’s sin was that he wished – like Light – to become God. Light’s gradual development as he strives for this unholy goal provide a vivid illustration of the Catholic understanding of evil. The series is also full of subtle nods to Christianity in the forms of symbolism and music. Just seconds into the first episode, we are treated to a traditional Kyrie, which is then featured in various forms throughout the series (usually accompanying the show’s supernatural story elements). Crosses, crucifixes, and a burning church are just a few more visual hints of the series’ central message.

Spoilers for Death Note should be avoided at all cost, but suffice it to say that the story as a whole can be taken as a stern warning: “Judge not, lest you be judged.”

1) Trinity Blood


Your parents may remember a show from their youth called Father Dowling Mysteries, in which a Roman Catholic priest investigates crimes and is often accompanied by a nun as his sidekick. Well, add vampires and Japanese animation, and you get Trinity Blood.

Is Trinity Blood the best series on this list? Nope, but it is far and away the most Catholic.  The main character is Abel Nightroad, a Catholic priest and a “Crusnik,” a vampire who feeds on other vampires.  His companion is the young nun Esther Blanchet, who accompanies him on peacekeeping missions that (obviously) usually end up turning into action-packed battles. Pretty much every major male character is also a priest, and many of the female characters are nuns (or, weirdly, a Cardinal – but we’ll let that slide). Even the Pope (the Pope!) is a recurring character with his own subplot, for Pete’s sake (pun intended)!

Trinity Blood is openly respectful of the Catholic Church as a peacekeeper and as a force for good in the world (although I’ve been informed that, as of the time of this writing, Pope Francis has yet to inaugurate the Vatican’s anti-vampire branch). Fr. Nightroad’s vampirism is framed as an effective metaphor for the fallen nature of Man. He struggles constantly and sometimes succumbs to his wicked urges, but this is always followed by the possibility of repentance and a renewed commitment to battle the forces of darkness.

*As a side note, whoever animated this series has a serious crush on classical European (read: Catholic) art and architecture.

If Japanese anime were more popular, American Atheists might have sued to get Trinity Blood removed from Netflix by now (or at least put up an annoying billboard complaining about it).


Ok, so Japanese anime isn’t for everyone, and if you’re not a fan, nothing on this list will convert you (pun intended, again).

But at the very least I hope that you find it gratifying to know that even in Japan, where the number of baptized Catholics is dismally low, a small portion of Catholicism’s message can still be heard – if only through imperfect channels.

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Michael Saltis

Michael Saltis is a graduate of the University of Dayton. He lives, works, and occasionally finds time to write in Akron, Ohio.


Anime biblical

In the Beginning: The Bible Stories

In the Beginning: The Bible Stories (手塚治虫の旧約聖書物語, Tezuka Osamu no Kyūyaku Seisho Monogatari, lit. Osamu Tezuka's Old Testament Stories) is an anime television series based on The Bible's Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) created by Osamu Tezuka. The series was a coproduction between Nippon TV, Tezuka's Tezuka Productions, and Italy's government-owned broadcaster, Radiotelevisione Italiana (RAI). Although the series was in production during a period of several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was not aired in Japan until 1997, on the satellite channel WOWOW. The series has also been aired on TV in the United States (on the Catholic-oriented Eternal Word Television Network), Italy, Spain, and Germany. Australian Christian Channel in Australia.

In the Beginning marked the fourth time Bible stories formed the basis of a Japanese-animated television series, following the two Superbook series and The Flying House, which were made for Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network by Tatsunoko Production in the early 1980s.

In the Beginning features episodes devoted to most of the major Bible stories of the Old Testament, including the stories of the Creation, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark, Abraham and Isaac, Joseph, Moses, David, and Solomon, with the final episode featuring the birth of Jesus Christ. As with the second Superbook series, some stories were stretched out over several episodes. Unlike Superbook and The Flying House, however, no contemporary characters from modern times were inserted into the stories, save for the series mascot and viewpoint character, Roco the fox (whose appearances were removed in the English dub).

Tezuka's manga work frequently included religious themes, and because of his long-running manga Buddha, he is sometimes perceived as having been a devout Buddhist, but in fact, Tezuka was largely agnostic.[1]

The theme music, an ending theme called "Rainbow Blue", is performed by Reimy.


In the Beginning grew out of a request that Osamu Tezuka received from the Vatican by way of RAI in 1984, requesting that Tezuka produce an animated version of the Old Testament. Tezuka spent two years working on a pilot film for the project based on the story of Noah's Ark, both writing the scenario for the film and working in the production of the animation itself. However, Tezuka died in 1989 before the film was finished. The remainder of the production for the pilot film and the subsequent 26-episode television series was supervised by director Osamu Dezaki.


  • Director: Osamu Dezaki
  • Screenplay: Osamu Tezuka/Tezuka Production Co., Ltd.
  • Character Designs: Osamu Tezuka, Shinji Seya
  • Animation Direction: Masaki Yoshimura, Akio Sugino, Junji Kobayashi, Hideaki Shimada
  • Music: Katsuhisa Hattori
  • Production: Tezuka Production Co., Ltd. / Nippon Television Network / Radiotelevisione Italiana

Voice cast[edit]


  1. ^Schodt, Frederik L. The Astro Boy Essays. Stone Bridge Press, 2007.

External links[edit]

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