I am an avowed fan of animé. I enjoy watching it. And, yes, I have become quite used to the big-eyed look that is common to the genre. Frankly, it is quite fun to relax with an afternoon of animé in Japanese with subtitles. You see, I like hearing the original voices and the energy and emphasis in the original voices as it gives me a better idea of what the original creators intended. Yes, I am a dedicated animé fan.
But, because I was a missionary what also incredibly interests me is the difference in cultures that is reflected in the animé. As with most cultural differences, some are simply different while some are shocking to our Western eyes. As any missionary can tell you, the difficulty is in trying to discern which differences, even the shocking ones, are allowable in a Christian context and which ones you must ask the other culture to forego. Given some of the missionary experiences of the 19th century, it is clear that missionaries have at times confused their particular civilization with Christianity. But, let me give you two examples of that of which I speak.
New Tribes Missions regularly works among tribal peoples. I have been to visit at least one of their camps in an Amazonian area of Bolivia. There they encountered tribal people who dressed (or maybe I should say not dressed) in ways that were totally not acceptable to Middle Eastern culture many centuries ago. But, actually, the same can happen the other way. I can remember going to a bank in Arequipa, Perú and offending people because I was dressed in a pair of shorts. I was asked by the guard at the door whether I was coming from sports or going to sports. I never again went into a bank as an adult customer dressed in anything but long pants. I was the one being too morally loose in that situation. I showed my legs in an inappropriate context!
The Japanese have a different conception of the body than we do and of romance than we do. So, a middle-school / high-school romantic relationship is inappropriate in our culture, but appropriate in Japanese culture. The Japanese have public baths, and showing partial nudity in a series designed for young adults is both acceptable and not considered to be anything near child sexual abuse. Showing full nudity is, of course, wrong wrong wrong. But, catch that the point of when it becomes wrong is farther toward showing skin than in our culture. Now, here is the rough part that all missionaries have to learn. The difference neither means that they are wrong or that we are wrong. It merely means that the line is in a different place. Both cultures agree that not-yet-adults need protection, but there is a difference of opinion on where the protection line is.
Besides the pure enjoyment of animé, it also reminds me that different cultures have different ways of seeing life. This means that when I read Scripture or when I read the Church Fathers or when I read later theologians, I cannot fully understand them without knowing something of the culture from which they came. If I simply take an ancient writing at face value, without checking what the culture was like, I have a high probability of totally misunderstanding what the Church Father was really saying.
And, finally, I really enjoy watching animé, particularly when I can come up with a scholarly reason for doing so. GRIN.