The “V” word.
Ugly. Raw. One to be avoided at all costs.
Something I never allowed myself to be, something I never wanted to be.
This is a special feature post in celebration for the FINDING GOD IN ANIME: A DEVOTIONAL FOR OTAKUS release. I hope this post encourages you, but before we get to the gritty, let’s learn more about the release. I have three pieces in this devotional and love it all to bits!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Being a Christian can be tough. Being an otaku can be tough. But being both at once?
Sometimes it seems easier to become Hokage rather than explaining your faith and passions to others. That is why we otaku have united in this devotional: To encourage otaku like you spiritually and through a medium we all cherish.
In this devotional, you will find God in the animes you know and love. Each devotional presents spiritual lessons found in animes ranging from the world-famous Attack on Titan to fan-favorite Haikyu!! to beloved classics like Cowboy Bebop. Each piece will feature a different theme such as:
Human Will vs. The Holy Spirit in Yona of the Dawn
Choosing to be Free in Free! Swim Club
Not by My Might in My Hero Academia
…and many others! We believe that God can be seen throughout His creation—even in places where people might not intend! So pull out your cosplay and snuggle close with your plushies as you join us in Finding God in Anime.
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
Laura and Moriah’s life consists of giving each other manga recommendations until they see whose TBR pile will fall on them first. Rest assured they’re both still safe…until another manga releases. In the meantime, they enjoy sharing beautiful pictures of Japan and trying to make each other laugh with anime memes. They both have an appreciation for cute stickers, samurai, and pins. If they’re not chatting about all things otaku, you can find them trying to write their next story or surviving on ramen and pocky after their latest manga order.
Celebrate the release of Finding God in Anime by participating in the manga photo challenge on Instagram! During the month of June, the organizers will be spotlighting a variety of manga that have had an anime adaptation by showcasing them using #MangaFestival in their posts. Each title prompt is an anime that is featured in the devotional. Grab your favorite manga and get ready to celebrate!
THE “V” WORD
When I was young, I avoided being vulnerable. I watched TV and read books and that seemed to be a popular thing: girls were supposed to be badass and tough. So, I tried to be tough. I tried to be strong. I tried to shove emotions away.
It didn’t work.
I struggled. I hated who I was. I didn’t believe anyone could care about me. I pushed away abuse and trauma. I tried to be somebody else. I tried to avoid vulnerability–unless I was creating art. And there were a few times when my mom read my poetry and saw my artwork and freaked out because of how dark it was. I even had online pals read it and message me, asking if I was suicidal or anything. I never intended to concern anyone with my art, in written form or sketching. But it was the only safe place I could be vulnerable and allow myself to process emotions.
Around this time, I discovered another fictional world: anime and manga. It was refreshing. I saw female characters that didn’t shove emotions away or brag about their personality being “tough”. I watched characters show vulnerability and choose courage and hope… instead of allowing fear or numbness control their lives.
That was around six or seven years ago. I stopped watching anime and stopped reading manga as much. I started self-publishing, creating novels and building my author platform. And this year, I submitted to the Finding God in Anime devotional… I submitted three pieces. Three pieces that rocked my entire world.
Almost every piece made me cry, and I do not cry while writing (I’ve killed characters in every Infidel novel and in Golgotha and shed no tears)… But I poured my heart into these devotionals. My heart. I didn’t hide behind a fictional character. I didn’t use a fake name. I didn’t shy away from being vulnerable. These three pieces aren’t long. But they shook me to my core.
I was forced to look back. As I wrote these devotionals, I was forced to look back at the tween who had locked herself up in her room listening to dark music and writing stories about characters who craved belonging. I was forced to look back and remember the hope I had found in my favorite shows like Free! Swim Club and more.
These devotionals allowed me to be vulnerable in a way I have never been before. These devotionals made me look back and give glory to God at how far I have come. Thirteen-year-old me watched Free! and understood Haru’s emptiness. I didn’t expect a future for myself, ever. I didn’t have dreams. And now? I’m surpassing my dreams. I’m shooting high. I have family and friends who love me. I’m following the Lord. And I have hope inside. And faith.
Yes, I still listen to dark music, and yes, I still write and draw things that probably freaks my mom out… but I’m no longer a shell of a person. I’m alive. And I’m here to help other people find the Light, too.
This devotional is dear to my heart because I put my heart into it, 100%, raw, and vulnerable. And I pray it helps you.