Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers

Note:  This page has been replaced by a reformatted and more up-to-date listing.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 eight shows that contain some or several of these qualities, or which espouse other themes related to Christian spirituality.  This list will expand as I watch shows which I think are befitting of it.  The newest additions are Puella Magi Madoka Magica (4.28.2011) and Ookiku Furikabutte (5.31.2011).

 

The List

Eden of the East

Takizawa and Morimi

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.

Related Links:
Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 1)
Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 2)
Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 3)
Finding the Invisible God in…Eden of the East (Part 4)
Review: Eden of the East – The King of Eden
Review: Eden of the East – Paradise Lost

Haibane Renmei

angel anime halo wings

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.

Related Links:
Orphans That Never Knew Their Names: Haibane Renmei and the Power of Names
Interview with Daniel Cronquist, Writer of Set Apart
Review: Set Apart by Daniel Cronquist
A Guide (No, Two!) for Jumping into
Kure-nai, Haibane Renmei,and the Weight of Sin

Kino’s Journey

Kino's 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.  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.

Related Link:
Secret Santa: Kino’s Journey
Kino-pocalypse Now…Or, It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Ookiku Furikabutte

Art by DraNKa (Pixiv)

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.

Related Links:
Pitch to Contact! Teammates and Character Transformation in Ookiku Furikabutte
Swing With All Your Might! Courage, Loss, and Renewal in Ookiku Furikabutte
“Please Rely on Me!” The Break and Unmaking of Promises in Ookiku Furikabutte

Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica

Madoka Kaname

Pixiv Artist Nuage

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.

Related Links:
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Madoka Madness
Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica 07: From Adam to Jesus
Puella Shoujo Madoka Magica 12: The Hope We Find
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Fashion, Madoka, and Redemption
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Buddha and Madoka
Madoka, Homura, and Yuri Embrace of Grace
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Apples, Magical Girls, and Eden
Madoka Surgical Girl and Pre-Op Usagi Drop
Review: Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Volume 1 (DVD)

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin Himura

Pixiv Artist 1548455

This long-running series is about a ronin named Himura Kenshin who was once the “Battousai,” a manslayer, but has now resolved to live a life of peace.  The idea of living a life of peace and doing what is right, even if it means sacrificing oneself, is a vital theme of the series.  The television show works particularly well in contrast of the first two OVAs, which brutally and violently portray Kenshin’s earlier life.  One may want to avoid the third arc of the show, however, which not only is poorly executed, but which portrays Christianity in a negative life and in which Kenshin supports a view of Christianity as just another religion rather than as “the truth, the way, and the light.”

Related Links:
Rurouni Kenshin to Finally Be Completed?
Christ Meets Kenshin: Apostle’s Sword, Chapter 1
Christ Meets Kenshin: Apostle’s Sword, Chapter 2
Christ Meets Kenshin: Apostle’s Sword, Chapter 3
Christ Meets Kenshin: Apostle’s Sword, Chapter 4

Samurai Champloo

Mugen

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.

Trigun

Vash the Stampede

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.

Related Links:
Nicholas D. Wolfwood/Rez Week on Beneath the Tangles
Nothing Like God: Redeeming Nicholas D. Wolfwood
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: The Gospel According to Wolfwood
While I Was Yet Lost: Wolfwood Meets Grace
The Faith of Yasuhiro Nightow
Spirituality in the Anime Blogosphere: Violence, Grace, and Redemption in Trigun
The Invisible God in…Trigun
Review of Trigun: Badlands Rumble
Fruits of the Spirit: The Kindness of Vash the Stampede

101 Comments on this post.

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  • Anime Nostalgia « The Christian Perspective
    27 March 2011 at 11:55 am

    […] . I googled the question “is there such a thing as Christian Anime?” and found an interesting blog entry concerning that subject and it’s worth considering. I guess what I’m trying to randomly […]

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  • Thursday’s Lab Report #6: Interview With Beneath The Tangles’s Charles | Organization Anti Social Geniuses
    1 September 2011 at 5:38 pm

    […] would be “off limits” to Christians.  For instance, on my blog, I have a page of recommendations for Christian viewers, and one anime I recommend is Eden of the East. Though it’s rated M, […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Chase
    11 February 2012 at 3:15 am

    Angel beats is good to even tho it may not seem like it at the begining.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      11 February 2012 at 8:13 am

      I did a little series on Angel Beats here on the website. It’s a certainly a series that brings up a lot of interesting themes. Thanks for the recommendation!

      Leave a Reply
    • 清子
      23 March 2015 at 6:13 pm

      I have to disagree. Angel Beats may have a thrilling plot, but it is ANYTHING but Christian. I mean, the alliance is all about “defying ‘god'” and escaping the afterlife. Reincarnation, Buddhism, etc. is largely suggested, and they make it quite clear that they are //AGAINST// God/ god/ gods or whatever.

      Leave a Reply
      • TWWK
        23 March 2015 at 6:47 pm

        One of the reasons we didn’t include Angel Beats among our recommendations is precisely because of that – it’s not only written in an eastern religious mindset, it’s also one of a series of anime that focuses on the theme of humanity fighting against an unfair god and even becoming “gods” themselves. So, it goes without saying that Angel Beats isn’t a show for every Christian.

        But just as with most shows we discuss here, there are elements of Angel Beats that are Christian in nature (even if that wasn’t the purpose) and it can help us ponder important aspects of God. We see heavily emphasized the themes of sacrifice, grace, giving, and redemption; we explore what it means to be a loving or spiteful father, as compared to our loving Father; we see that there’s meaning in life that seems to have none and that the plans we have for our lives aren’t often what they end up becoming (and that which they become are so much more meaningful); and that there’s hope for the hopeless. And ultimately, I think these significant themes stand out far more than superficial ones of fighting against “god,” especially so in a series like this where that storyline ends up really making the series much less than it could have been.

        Leave a Reply
  • Thursday’s Lab Report #6: Interview With Beneath The Tangles’s Charles « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses
    11 May 2012 at 5:20 pm

    […] would be “off limits” to Christians.  For instance, on my blog, I have a page of recommendations for Christian viewers, and one anime I recommend is Eden of the East. Though it’s rated M, […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Marimo
    4 June 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I was surprised to see Samurai Champloo on this list…it has a LOT more skanky content than many anime I have seen. It’s well done, sure, but after a while I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore.
    About Kenshin…read the manga if you want a neatly-finished plot. The anime really glosses over the third story arc, which is central to the manga as a whole. Also, the odd mini-arc about the Christians does not exist in the manga.
    These points alone push the manga far ahead of the anime.
    That said, it would be really interesting if someone made an anime about the actual history of Christianity in Japan.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      5 June 2012 at 7:28 am

      Yeah, like I mentioned, the series is not for everybody. I’ve revised this page to put that series in a more proper category.

      And thanks for the recommendation about Kenshin. I have red the final arc in the manga, and it’s pretty amazing.

      Leave a Reply
    • John
      6 December 2012 at 4:00 pm

      That would be very cool. Samurai Champloo does have extreme amounts of sexual nastiness but it does actually touch on certain aspects of the persecution of the hidden Christians if you stick with it long enough.

      Leave a Reply
    • Jonathan
      15 November 2014 at 8:45 pm

      I know this post is really old, but you should watch this video:

      It explains some of the history of Christianity in Japan and how it influences the arc.

      Leave a Reply
      • TWWK
        21 November 2014 at 12:49 pm

        Thanks for the link! The video provides really nice context for the arc and a concise explanation of early Christian history in Japan. I’m glad you posted it!

        Leave a Reply
  • Organization Anti-Social Geniuses » Thursday’s Lab Report #6: Interview With Beneath The Tangles’s Charles
    16 July 2012 at 4:43 pm

    […] would be “off limits” to Christians.  For instance, on my blog, I have a page of recommendations for Christian viewers, and one anime I recommend is Eden of the East. Though it’s rated M, […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Chrissy
    29 July 2012 at 7:16 pm

    Personally, I think D.N.Angel is a good one to look into in a Christian perspective

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      30 July 2012 at 8:05 am

      Interesting selection – it’s certainly an appealing series, has a terrific couple, and is very clean. I bet if I rewatched it, I’d find a lot of themes to talk about. Thanks for the rec!

      Leave a Reply
  • John
    19 September 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple and Romeo X Juliet are probably the two greatest Animes I have ever watched… I may have watched Romeo X Juliet recently, but Kenichi is truly my favorite Anime of all time. Kenichi has some perverted and suggestive parts to it, but overall it is about all the good teachings from the Word. And Romeo X Juliet has similar theme to it, though it is violent and has mild gore, it is still a realistic and reveals a bit of compassion to living for others as well as a great purpose. There are of course many other Animes, but those two in particular came to mind.

    Leave a Reply
    • John
      19 September 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Meant to say ‘greater purpose’ but I believe you understood what I was trying to say… sadly I wasn’t gifted to not make typos.

      Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      20 September 2012 at 10:08 am

      Thanks for sharing! I would’ve never thought of checking out Kenichi.

      I have seen a good portion of Romeo x Juliet – a very pretty and heartfelt show. I have no doubt there are some great themes in there.

      Thanks for the suggestions!

      Leave a Reply
  • Tony
    29 September 2012 at 9:58 pm

    ah my goddess is a good anime series to watch.It gives a lot of good morals in it.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      30 September 2012 at 12:35 am

      Thanks for the rec! You’re right – there’s a lot of good stuff in the series.

      Leave a Reply
  • Leppalo
    5 January 2013 at 9:55 pm

    Higurashi No Naku Koro Ni could be added too. It has a lot of themes about forgiveness, trust, love, and how playing God/Viewing God as sacrificial hungry rather than a loving God can corrupt your morals.The only problem is that it is REALLY violent and is definitely not something easy to stomach. But if you can get through the first season, the second one will be no problem at all (But don’t say I didn’t warn you about the violent content).

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      8 January 2013 at 10:10 am

      Thanks for the suggestion! I made my way partially through the manga long ago, but wasn’t particularly looking for those themes you mentioned. I’ve heard from others, too, that there is considerable depth to it.

      Leave a Reply
  • Heidi
    22 January 2013 at 4:53 am

    How about heallsing? It has heavy Christian theme but no way point back to God nor Lord Jesus ?
    I have been longing so much for a good Christian manga which actually point back to Jesus and has Him as the central of the story …

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      22 January 2013 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation!

      I might suggest you check out the OEL manga from . They are most definitely Bible-based (Catholic in nature) and are all very well done.

      Leave a Reply
    • Kenshinshawnsherlock
      1 April 2013 at 3:50 pm

      Hey, no worries!
      When I finally become a master at drawing, I’ll be making a Manga that’s Christian based.
      You should check out Manga Messiah!
      I haven’t read it, but I know it’s about the life of Jesus in Manga style!

      Leave a Reply
    • Lucy
      14 August 2014 at 12:25 pm
      • TWWK
        14 August 2014 at 10:02 pm

        Oh yes, I know of that manga. It’s been around for a long while and has a lot of fans. Thanks for linking!

        Leave a Reply
  • Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers « If you can't find a miracle, be a miracle!!!
    16 February 2013 at 10:22 pm

    […] Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers. […]

    Leave a Reply
  • Kendall Lyons
    20 June 2013 at 9:19 pm

    TOO awesome of a site here! Love what you’re doing here! Glad I’m not the only one just making it happen in such a huge way!

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      24 June 2013 at 7:55 am

      Thanks, Kendall! Between us, we’ve got animation covered, hehe.

      Leave a Reply
      • Kendall Lyons
        24 June 2013 at 7:59 am

        You said it for real brother!!! 🙂 So nice to know I’m not alone in it!

        Leave a Reply
  • Sam
    11 July 2013 at 5:26 pm

    The opening song of Eden of the East anime is extremely offensive as the lyrics say “If God won’t save me, then don’t waste my time.” I strongly suggest others to pray and ask the Holy Spirit if watching certain animes will not ruin their faith. While everyone has their own degree of faith, it is important to be aware that just because an anime has similar themes present in the bible, does not mean you should ignore violence, sexuality, magic/monsters and so on.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      17 July 2013 at 2:30 pm

      There’s definitely a line for Christians, but I think it’s a shifting one depending on one’s faith. I’m reminded of Paul’s discussion regarding the eating of food sacrificed to other gods – it may not bother the individual eating, and it isn’t sin, but it might bother other Christians and cause sin in that manner.

      Each Christian anime fan must figure out their limitations. I look at Eden of the East and, despite that line (which I had noticed immediately when first watching the series) and the graphic nature of the show, there are a ton of themes and ideas worth exploring. It’s kind of like looking at the Bible – the holy scriptures are full of devils, crooks, thieves, liars, and all manners of sinners, but the book itself is a story of grace and redemption, and it’s necessary to explore the vileness of humanity to express what Jesus did on the cross. Caitlin Glass, the voice actress, has a similar feeling in regards to acting out roles that might be considered “bad.”

      And speaking of how we view anime as Christians, I should reference a post regarding six different levels at which we might approach the medium, or any media.

      Anyway, thank you for the note! I think your point is incredibly important to consider.

      Leave a Reply
  • tony gustavo martinez mora
    17 July 2013 at 6:37 pm

    well im self teaching and learning in software and game programming and design and anime/manga art for my sole purpose of creating a christian anime studio that focuses on the Word of God,and revelations from the Holy Spirit. I really want to stablish a studio in the u.s. That will endure until the coming of the Lord. A huge company with great artists,mangakas,all kinds of talented folks,animators,etc…my other purpose is to develop christian anime rpgs. And to publish our work to daystar tv,tbn,and other christian networks. So pray for me a lot.

    Leave a Reply
  • Maria
    11 August 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Glad I came to the right place because I’m a christian who’s into anime and I just wanted to find something that does not say bad words because I’m against them and that is all I wanted.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      20 August 2013 at 12:02 am

      Great! Luckily, there are a lot of anime series that are family friendly. Christian Anime Alliance does a great job of giving the kind of information in their reviews that I think you’re looking for.

      Leave a Reply
  • Watch Naruto Online
    17 August 2013 at 3:08 am

    That’s a nice anime recommendation list you got there. I totally recommend Madoka Magica it’s the best current magical girl anime ever! it’s not your average magical girl anime you see cause it contains some dark elements in this series

    Leave a Reply
  • "Legend of Korra", Eastern Views, T.V & Ethics: What Can Christians learn from Anime? – Page 4 – Christian Forums
    18 October 2013 at 10:57 am
  • annonymus
    28 October 2013 at 11:33 pm

    is Azumanga Daioh also included in this list.I think you’ll say yes,for friendliness,and togetherness value,and also some another Christianity value.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      6 November 2013 at 10:03 am

      Azumanga Daioh certainly espouses a lot of biblical values involving love. Thanks for the recommendation. 🙂

      Leave a Reply
  • Toyu
    21 December 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I have seen some of the anime mentioned above in the comments, like angel beats and Higurashi. Only one anime comes to my mind when it comes to self sacrifice, finding the truth, endurance, and fighting against the greater evil. Phantom: Requiem for the Phantom. A excellent anime when it comes to showing the good and bad bonds that humans forge and just as easily break, as well as preservering against evil. The ending itself was a bit shocking, but now that I think of it, it was the sad correct way for them to fade from our world. Has violence, blood, death, some cuss words here and there, but overall, it’s a very fine and in my opinion, religious, anime.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      21 December 2013 at 8:06 pm

      That’s a very interesting recommendation. Tonally, few anime that I’ve seen are as painful and dark, but there are certainly elements that strongly match those that Christians espouse. That’s also a very interesting critique about the end – I’ll need to give some thought to that…

      Leave a Reply
  • Jean Still
    23 February 2014 at 12:22 am

    Seikon no qwaser, oh god I’m evil MUWA HAHAHAHAHA

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      23 February 2014 at 7:53 pm

      EVIL indeed.

      I feel the need here to say, I would highly recommend you wiki or google this show before you watch it, as this show is ALWAYS my example of how strange and horrible anime can be. 😛

      Leave a Reply
  • Toyu
    25 February 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I forgot to mention this anime before. I am not sure if it is a Christian anime as there is violence and stuff that is not family friendly in it, but it does a excellent work in showing humanitarian values and hopefulness in the darkest situations, and one of the characters is like Jesus in more ways then one. The anime is called Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shinchinin, which I can roughly translate as “The story of 7 boys, compound 2, cell 6”. Again, this is a really rough translation of the title from Japanese to English, but if you google rainbow nisha, the full title should appear in the drop box, hope that helps. Highly recommend that you watch it with several tissue boxes and a close comfort, like a pet or a friend.

    Leave a Reply
  • Allister
    3 April 2014 at 12:40 am

    I’m seeing a lot of recommendations, but how about fullmetal alchemist brotherhood (and the original)? Would it be considered a good one to add to this list? Or is it too….hmm how should I put it…non-Christian…if that’s the word I’m looking for lol :p

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      7 April 2014 at 7:28 am

      That’s an interesting recommendation. Certainly, there’s a dark tone to the series and lots of actions features that don’t jive with Christian teaching. However, I do think that the show is full of strong themes worth exploring, and of course, it’s simply an excellent series (Brotherhood at least – I’ve seen less of the original). I have written one article about FMA (you can find it by searching on the site for Winry), but the perhaps the biggest reason that it doesn’t make this list is because I’ve never finished the show! 😛

      Leave a Reply
  • Shannon Hill
    3 April 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I have two particular favorites that I would love to hear your take on. D.Gray-man and Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood. I am able to find some very meaningful links to Christianity, but hearing your thoughts would help me in solidifying some points that are hanging loose in my theories. (Sorry, I know you get a lot of recommendations and this is just another on your plate! >_< But let me also just say you are always very polite in your responses to recommendations!)

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      7 April 2014 at 7:24 am

      To tell you the truth, I’ve only watched about half of FMA:B and haven’t seen D.Gray-man at all. FMA used to trouble me once because of its tone, but I now see it as a series that’s ripe with wonderful themes to explore. I could see us easily churning out a dozen posts on the series.

      I’d like to hear some of your thoughts about these shows!

      Leave a Reply
  • K-chan
    15 April 2014 at 2:13 pm
    • TWWK
      20 April 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Thanks for the kind words!

      Unfortunately, this list contains only series I’ve personally seen, and I’ve yet to see Saint Tail. Will you tell us a bit about why you’d include it?

      Leave a Reply
      • K-chan
        20 April 2014 at 10:05 pm

        You’re welcome!

        And sure! If a “Christian anime” exist, Saint Tail is it, IMO. Saint Tail features a Robin Hood-esque story where a young girl named Meimi steals from thieves and returns the stolen goods to their rightful owners. Her friend is a young nun-in-training who guides her in her adventures. It’s very cute and is a mahou shoujo (magical girl) type anime, like Sailor Moon. The story focuses on friendships, kindness, justice, and romance. Meimi is quite against using any violence or unlawful methods to complete her tasks, apart from the stealing itself, of course. She even says a short prayer before and after her transformation (see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fZM1e8M1Nk), though this is ironically omitted from the English dub.
        Overall, it’s a quite enjoyable anime.

        Leave a Reply
  • Looking for a list of animes with GOD centered theme.
    21 April 2014 at 11:19 am

    […] How about these? Eight Anime Recommendations for Christian Viewers | […]

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  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
    9 June 2014 at 10:42 pm

    If you’re interested in anime with religious undertones you may be interested in Neon Genesis Evangelion. The series makes use of some Christian imagery and constantly (albeit subtly) implies a tone of omnipotence throughout the series. It has some interesting commentary on science and religion but you really have to pay attention to the series to get that out of it. It’s also probably not the best show for younger viewers though. It’s not the most violent show ever but it becomes very psychologically disturbing as it goes on (most of the main characters are mentally scarred in some way and suicide is a frequent theme). Still it’s one of the must-watch classics of the medium and anybody who’s interested in anime should watch it. Even if you don’t like the show it’s worth watching just how how influential it is. I’m not an expert on Christianity and the bible as I’m not a believer myself (I just really like the show and have looked in to some analysis of the symbolism and meanings) but from what I’ve heard from my Christian friends, most of them seem to like it.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      10 June 2014 at 2:46 pm

      Thanks for the rec. NGE is definitely a classic series and contains many allusions to religion. On a personal level, Evangelion was an important to me as any series in making an anime fan out of me.

      On this site, we’re really looking at themes associated with Christianity. In that way, Evangelion isn’t largely different from, say, Usagi Drop. Although NGE is covered in symbolism, we’re looking less for that (leaving these ideas in the hands of more expert folks who have analyzed Evangelion to death) and more for ideas like grace and sacrifice. That’s not to say, though, that Evangelion doesn’t represent these themes – on the contrary, as I’ve written several articles on Evangelion (and I have a draft somewhere about Shinji that I need to finish as well!).

      That said, it’s a must-see for anime fans, though I agree with your caution about it being intended for slightly older audiences. Thanks for your excellent recommendation!!

      Leave a Reply
  • bloop
    10 June 2014 at 9:43 pm

    Revolutionary Girl Utena has an ending which espouses very Christian values.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      11 June 2014 at 7:33 am

      Thanks for the recommendation. Some of our long-time readers here have also recommended Utena to us (and some of our staff have seen it). Unfortunately, though Murasaki Lynna and myself worked on trying to develop a series of posts on the series while reviewing it, neither of us made it through. Perhaps one of us will revisit it sometime in the future.

      Leave a Reply
      • Anthonius Veit
        12 June 2014 at 4:30 pm

        Is true that the series is yuri?

        The movie seems to have some scenes, according to what I’ve read. But I’m not sure about the series.

        Leave a Reply
        • TWWK
          12 June 2014 at 4:52 pm

          Since I’ve only seen a third of the series, perhaps someone else can chime in with a better answer. From what I’ve seen the series is definitely not yuri. However, a central relationship in the series is ambiguously yuri and has been imagined/defined as a significant yuri relationship in anime.

          Here’s an article about Utena that refers to its yuri overtones (though I think it focuses on the manga rather than the series), written by one of the expert voices on the topic here in the U.S.:

          http://okazu.yuricon.com/2004/01/30/yuri-animemanga-revolutionary-girl-utena/

          Leave a Reply
          • Anthonius Veit
            13 June 2014 at 1:47 pm

            Thanks.

            Reading that article made me more wary of watching that series. According to it, I don’t see many redeemable things about that production.

        • Murasaki Lynna
          13 June 2014 at 1:10 am

          Personally, I wouldn’t say that the series is yuri…at least, not explicitly. From what I remember, the relationship between Anthy and Utena does have very romantic connotations, but is kept ambiguous throughout the series. You are correct, though, that in the movie (Which is not a continuation of the series, but an entirely separate adaptation of the story.) Utena and Anthy are undeniably portrayed as a romantic couple.
          In addition, there is a female character who is in love with another female character, but her love is unrequited.

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    • Murasaki Lynna
      13 June 2014 at 1:43 am

      I would be inclined to agree with this, but unfortunately, when I last watched the series a year ago, I felt like I couldn’t properly write a review or analyse it because…It’s rather confusing. It’s full of very ambiguous symbolism, and it seems the director at one point said that any and all interpretations of said symbolism are true, which doesn’t help anyone who wants to understand what’s going on. Although I still hope to revisit it, after putting it off for over a year, I know I may never get around to it.

      That being said, I can say that objectively that it is a very good series, has some quite deep and interesting themes, and I enjoyed it in spite of its vagueness, so I think that some Christians would definitely enjoy it if they’re okay with the sexual undertones (Which increase exponentially in the third season) and with a story where almost no questions are ever directly answered.

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      • Anthonius Veit
        13 June 2014 at 1:50 pm

        According to the article TWWK linked, I think these elements outlined in it overshadow and ruin the production.

        Leave a Reply
  • Baub
    9 July 2014 at 5:30 am

    Surprisingly I find Trigun a very good pick.Rin deals with very deep subject matters.I would like to see a slice of life with bible believing Christians in it.A lot of anime I had to cut out because I found them distracting and I had to make a stretch to justify them.

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  • anony
    13 July 2014 at 10:21 am

    madoka?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!? THAT SHOW SHOWS NOTHING BUT HEARTACHES AND MORE VIOLENCE DONE AGAINST INNOCENT GIRLS!!!

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      13 July 2014 at 10:55 am

      It’s true that viewers watching this series need to approach it with a critical mindset, and that’s it not for less mature viewers. And neither is it a holy grail of anime – there’s reason to be critical of the show. My recommendation is based on significant themes of self-sacrifice, grace, and love that pervade the show and which ultimately define it.

      Certainly, take any recommendation here with if grain of salt, and consider that not everyone will enjoy every series featured here, nor will they see of identify with some of the reasons why we’re giving our thumbs up for them.

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  • Trystan
    13 October 2014 at 9:16 am

    Have you ever seen Cluster Edge? It does feature violence and at the beginning it can be hard to figure out where the series is going but in the long run its themes are about why it is wrong for humans to play God and the consequences they face when they try to do so.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      13 October 2014 at 7:41 pm

      I hadn’t even heard of Cluster Edge before you mentioned it. I just read a synopsis – seems like a really interesting series. Thank you for recommending it!

      Leave a Reply
  • David A
    13 October 2014 at 9:57 am

    I don’t think Madoka is very recommendable. While not explicitly yuri, the symbolism is there. From the declarations of the author, to what some VA’s and the character designer has said, is more obvious is a “disguised” yuri anime.

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    • TWWK
      13 October 2014 at 7:47 pm

      Hmm…well, this is how I look at it, and not to speak for all our writers, but I think we all probably look at series in this similar way. While anime may contain elements that are “sinful,” that doesn’t mean that those series are not full of godly truth which we can cull out. The Bible itself, after all, is full of sin – it shows on full display the sinfulness of mankind. Imagine if it was animated? It would receive a hard R rating!

      And further, the Bible shows us something else. In the Book of Jude, the writer brings in extrabiblical material – that which isn’t inspired by God, and yet it was useful for teaching. Although Madoka is created without any sense of reflecting Christ, and though it, in fact, better reflects Buddhism, that doesn’t mean we can’t see God all over it.

      In truth, I think most media reflects the gospel in some way precisely because we’re all designed by God to have a longing for Him and his grace, and we all fall short of his glory, whether we know it or not (or whether we’re willing to admit it or not). And so in a work like Madoka, we can see imagery never meant to glorify God that, when we analyze it, does glorify God. Most unusually, a series that contains questionable content (and surely any Christian who feel that it might cause them to sin to watch PMMM should avoid it) points to the glory of God’s grace. That’s the power of God – His fingerprints, His grace, His glory can even be seen in an animated series created in a country that has very few Christians.

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      • David A
        13 October 2014 at 8:24 pm

        But a more adequate depiction of sin, gives elements and context that indicate how bad it is, instead of celebrating it. Here, for example, one important moment of the series, (the “space hug”), references two older yuri series. Is about juxtaposition of elements, and how sin is portrayed. Not only what is seen at a first glance, but the symbolic elements, and what the staff has said, plus the additional material, these help construct a more complete view of what they possibly intended.

        I’ve seen during recent months the very troubling combination of yuri and moé… what is produced by that? acceptance, appreciation, even obsession.

        Another thing… the what has became of many fandoms after 7 years… more or less the time I’ve been observing and participating in some fandoms. The situations is terrible.

        God bless you!

        Leave a Reply
  • dob
    24 January 2015 at 12:44 pm

    What you should have Ao No Exorcist in this list! It’s very Christian. You should also have one piece. They use crosses more than any anime I’ve seen plus they have had conversations on belief in God. Like you don’t believe in God? Why not?

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      27 January 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Thanks for the recommendations! Unfortunately, not a lot of the writers here have seen One Piece.

      Leave a Reply
    • Jayson
      17 July 2015 at 1:17 pm

      One piece is good at pondering more significant questions like that. And Blue Exorcist is more about redemption and changing one’s destiny, pulling it out of the Devil’s hands. The thing I don’t like about the anime is that it makes Satan look innocent and kind hearted in nature, when he speaks with the mother of the twins, and the whole idea with “humans and demons getting along in one world” like their just some race that are treated so horribly rather than traitors to God.

      Leave a Reply
      • TWWK
        24 July 2015 at 12:26 pm

        Blue Exorcist definitely leads to a bit of a conundrum, though I’ll say we’ve featured a few posts about those really wonderful ideas (and less troublesome ones) expressed in the series.

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    • Jacob
      24 November 2015 at 6:42 pm

      To address the controversy on Blue Exorcist, it is important to look at the Catchecism of the Catholic Church, as the “Christians” in the anime are Roman Catholic. First off, as previously addresed, it treats demons as some reconciliable race that humans may coexist with. Not the case. In fact, such Ideals that were espoused by the philosopher Origen were deemed heresy. Demons are fallen traitors who have been condemned to suffer in hell for all eternity. Two, it openly attempts to reconcile Buddism and Christianity, uniting many concepts, and even having the school, which is a “Catholic” academy, promote Buddist techniques, which could be penelized with excommunication, or literally, being permanately kicked out of the Church until personally reconciled by The Holy Father, The Pope. Which leads us to our Thrid major controversy, depiction of the Papacy. The Pope is depicted as a person of ultimate doctrinal dominace, which is also false. Contrary to popular belief, The Holy Father has a great many restrictions on the decrees he may impose. It is also an elected position, not an appointed one. Four, Priests are not allowed to have childeren, not even adopted ones. A part of this is because Priests are not supposed to have their love for God torn between him and a child/spouse, like Abraham. Five. The show has prominent demonic imagery and had “Priests” teaching their students to summon demons. The summoning of anything is evil. Dark. Demonic. It is a violation of all Christian Creeds and laws. This is the show’s fifth and greatest offense against the Christian, and in particular Catholic, faith. I could go on about the other things the show gets wrong, and you are right, it does have some good points too, but I feel that the things it does wrong far outweigh what it does correctly.

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  • Andy
    29 January 2015 at 4:25 pm

    A liked samurai champloo. There may be sexual themes but at the same time, it addresses actual problems. Sex trafficking and brothels are actual real world problems. If we just ignore them just because we are disgusted then what type of person are we? The show never applauded them, they were often used in an antagonistic situation. If they supported them then it would be bad, however meh I have seen much worse in popular magazines and tv

    Leave a Reply
  • Lavernia-Deathscythe
    21 April 2015 at 11:25 am

    I’m happy to see PMMM in here! It’s actually my favourite anime and yes, the third movie may be quite controversial but I think that the whole franchise can show themes of hope triumphing over despair.

    *SPOILERS AHEAD!!!*

    In the third movie, yes, Homura does turn into the devil, but they’ll probably make another movie.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      29 April 2015 at 12:21 pm

      I guess a fourth movie is still up in the air, but the third movie – and the whole thematic elements of PMMM as a whole – seem to indicate that there will be a redemptive, hopeful last act.

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  • Antonio bravo
    17 May 2015 at 2:58 pm

    The World Masterpiece Theater has a lot of christian values on their anime. I mean for the love of god, The christian Channel smile of a child has 2 of their WMT anime. SFR and Little Women.

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  • Jonathon Dischner
    30 May 2015 at 4:32 pm

    go on youtube and type my last day, a literally Christian short anime film.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      1 June 2015 at 1:29 pm

      A movie that’s an actual anime, developed by an anime studio, which I hope adds to it’s credibility when shown to Japanese audience. We’ve discussed this powerful short a number of times here on the blog.

      Leave a Reply
  • John
    13 July 2015 at 11:25 pm

    Kids on the Slope. Beautifully produced slice of life anime. Two of the main characters are Christians!

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      24 July 2015 at 12:22 pm

      It is a beautiful series, and one featuring Christians to boot. If you search through our Kids on the Slope tag, you’ll notice that we’ve definitely paid some attention to this series.

      Leave a Reply
  • Jayson
    17 July 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Hellsing is a very interesting anime, looking deeper into the mind of a person with a lot of changes in their life. It’s not really all too Christian in nature, but the organization the two main characters work for is Christian, as is the director of the organization. It is extremely violent, and it does take a good look at redemption, although so subtle it’s easy to miss.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      24 July 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation! It’s really those thematic elements, like the redemption idea you mentioned, that we’re looking for now as we make recommendations. I suggest you might take a look at our updated page, linked at the top of this one, which contains recommendations more along those lines.

      Leave a Reply
  • Zai
    18 October 2015 at 11:52 pm

    So ra no wo to features the song amazing grace, its really good, and only brief nudity, but the story is really good, i recommend 😉

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      19 October 2015 at 2:38 pm

      I’ve definitely heard good things, though I’ve only seen a couple of episodes. Thanks for the rec!

      Leave a Reply
  • ephraimsauthor
    24 October 2015 at 2:08 am

    Okay, so you all realize that every one of these anime were created from secular perspectives? Not Christian? So any Christian themes you see are not actually Christian. They may be good, but they are not Bible-based making them secular–not Christian.

    And FYI Rurouni Kenshin is probably one of the most Buddhist anime I have ever seen.

    Leave a Reply
    • TWWK
      24 October 2015 at 7:43 am

      OH yes, we realize this. We’re not of the perspective that Christians should only watch media that is specifically Christian-centered or Christian-created. If so, we could barely watch any anime. Instead, we approach media with the idea that many parts of it can be enriching when watched FROM a Christian perspective. Thus, all these recommendations (and I would suggest you look at the updated page instead) are shows from which we can gain some insights about Christian faith by thinking more deeply about those ideas that are so important to us. For example, with Kenshin, we don’t dwell on Shinto rituals or ideas about reincarnation; instead, we think about why Kenshin is so committed to repentance and how grace enters the picture once we realize our sins. Things of that nature.

      Thank you for your comment and take care!

      Leave a Reply
  • Kat
    2 November 2015 at 10:15 am

    I know this post is old-ish but here’s some issues I have personally.
    Many of these animes either have pretty dark themes, violence, sex or sexual fanservice, and quite a bit more. I’d put an age range and warnings on each anime listed since I actually found a really young friend of mine looking here to find a good anime. Yes, most of these have Christian/religious themes, but it doesn’t make it okay to watch the other…stuff… since God has issues with many of those things too.
    Otherwise, I’m glad you mentioned animes with Christian themes, I didn’t know they existed.

    Leave a Reply
    • Luminas
      2 November 2015 at 11:24 am

      Well to be perfectly fair, the Bible itself has both dark themes and violence as a major part of the book. It talks extensively about the immorality of human nature, has an ambiguous stance on war, and the Song of Solomon is basically an extremely vivid and actually rather lurid metaphorical description of how good sexual intimacy in the marriage context can be. Whoever thinks of it as a morally sanitized book has probably never read it.

      There are a couple commentators on here who seem to state that any excessive depiction of violence or sex is morally objectionable to the Christian…but this seems odd given the book itself.

      Media that outright delights in or glorifies sinful things might be objectionable (And a lot of anime do do this) but does the mere depiction of something necessarily glorify it? The movie Schindler’s List depicts highly horrific things….that actually happened, and views these acts through a lens of total condemnation.

      It seems as though every Christian I’ve met has a slightly different opinion on this issue, so I’m actually….curious about what everyone’s take is.

      Leave a Reply
    • japesland
      2 November 2015 at 3:08 pm
  • neponna
    28 November 2015 at 6:50 pm

    Thanks for these I going to look at them but for now I like it be back soon

    Leave a Reply
  • mithrandirolorin
    9 May 2016 at 9:40 pm

    While I”m not bothered by it many Christians may object to Madoka building up to an Apotheosis.

    As an Evangelical Universalist I rather like the more straight Magical Girl shows, where the villians are usually redeemed in the end. Sailor Moon didn’t do that consistently but Wedding Peach and PreCure are awesome.

    Also as a Gay Affirming Christian I always like me some Yuri, Lily of the Valley.

    Leave a Reply
    • Japesland
      10 May 2016 at 12:56 am

      I can definitely sympathize with that concern, though I would also agree that it doesn’t bother me, personally! I find that Christians who are not bothered by surface level complaints (often the partial nudity in the opening or the yuri subtext) often find this theme to be more intriguing than cumbersome. In fact, while many might not agree entirely with the final solution or fit it into their worldview, it causes them to think more deeply about it! That’s a success in my book!

      Thanks for reading, and welcome to the community!

      Leave a Reply
  • Cappy
    21 May 2016 at 2:54 am

    Fantastic list!

    Would you ever consider adding Evangelion and Maria the Virgin Witch to the list?

    Leave a Reply
  • deartotheheart
    6 July 2016 at 3:35 am

    I am unsure if someone else already mentioned these series but Le Chevalier D’Eon somewhat features Catholic aspects within the historical plot but the one I most highly recommend you watching and including in this review is Sakamichi no Apollon. It is so impressive with such fantastic music, art, and story but also because of its themes of friendship, temptation, betrayal, courage, regret and maturity. What’s more is that two of the characters are Japanese Christians and one even becomes a priest 🙂 I think it’d be perfect for a review like this as an appropriate coming of age series I think other Christians might especially enjoy because not only is Christianity even included but presented in a positive and realistic light

    http://www.animelands.com/dub/kids-on-the-slope

    Leave a Reply
    • Japesland
      6 July 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Thanks for the recommendation! Kids on the Slope is definitely a unique anime, especially from the religious perspective because of its Christian characters. We’ll definitely keep it in mind for future anime recommendations considerations, though we like to think of our list more as “Christian essentials” than a fluid list.

      Leave a Reply
  • Deanna
    15 July 2016 at 4:56 am

    My kids have gotten into the series Bleach. My oldest (21) introduced them to it and I never thought much about it until I caught my two youngest (9 & 10) watching it at 2 am. Got me concerned. What is your take on this? We are Catholic and my oldest has stopped going to church. I’m afraid of anti religion and anti family themes being introduced to very young and easily influenced minds.

    Leave a Reply
    • Japesland
      15 July 2016 at 4:33 pm

      You bring up some very complicated and very real concerns, and I will do my best as someone without children myself to give responsible advice. Take it with a grain of salt, however.

      Having been in a similar situation as a son many years ago, the first thing that I would say is that I would not “pull the plug,” as it were, immediately, as I believe that would end up creating unnecessary animosity on the part of your children (if they are really as into Bleach as it sounds like they are). I remember staying up into the wee hours of the night in middle school watching anime without my parents knowing, and it’s difficult to say whether that had a positive or negative impact on my outlook in the short-term, but in the long-term God ultimately led worked my experiences into ministry opportunities like Beneath the Tangles, for which I am now the executive editor. Had my parents taken it away suddenly, I would have definitely resented them for it, even if it may have only been for a short time.

      While I would say that what I’ve seen of Bleach is generally benign, that is all up to interpretation, and I’m not sure where you stand on a number of issues like obscured cartoon nudity, or coarse language in Japanese (I’m not sure what the English dub is like).

      I think the best way to approach the situation with your younger children is to try watching a few episodes with them. If, after watching, you think they are mature enough to handle it, then simply lay down some ground rules as to when they can watch it and why they can watch it (why certain fictional themes may not agree with Christianity directly, but are simply good fictional storytelling and not at all real). If you think they are too young for it, then having seen it you will be able to give hard, tangible reasons as to why they cannot watch it, which you can better explain instead of relying on hearsay.

      Rewinding a bit, while each and every anime is different, at Beneath the Tangles we attempt to explain why some have pro-Christian themes even without meaning to. Some anime may have anti religion or anti family themes, but I don’t recall Bleach being an offender of either of those categories. In fact, many anime are quite pro family, in my experience (if I am interpreting that correctly). Perhaps it would be worth checking out our newer recommendations pages found in the menu bar at the top of the page?

      My final note regards your 21 year-old son. That is a prime time to become an anime fan (many seem to become fans during high school and college years, for whatever reason), and also prime time to become skeptical of faith and religion. Because of this, whether it is causation or correlation (I would elect that it is more likely the latter), many anime fans also struggle with the idea of Christianity. I’ve been there, so it’s very possible to come out of that phase even stronger in your faith, but I can’t guarantee that, of course. Perhaps you could invite him to check out our site? We have two Catholic writers on staff, “Medieval Otaku” and “JoshW” who might have some overlap with your son’s experiences or thought process.

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