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Religious Symbolism in Anime

Anime has such a wide variety of subjects that it explores. There are two animes, Deathnote and Neon Genesis Evangelion that have both subtle and obvious allusions to religion/spirituality. They both posses theological elements, which can be interesting to write about.

Think about these questions:
How do they use various theological elements to add to the overall meaning of the anime?

What seem to be the most interesting symbols and why would you consider them as such?

Does one anime use the symbols in a more effective manner?

  • I was going to add as a suggestion. There's an older anime by ShinichirĊ Watanabe, the creator of Samurai Champloo, called Kids on the Slope. It doesn't suggest anything religious until the end. You find out that one of the kids becomes a Catholic Priest. It might be worth analyzing as well as the anime you've already mentioned. – Passerby 2 years ago
  • Death Note's scene where L washes Light's feet is one of those scenes that actually is a great reference to Bible showing Light as a God. – eeshasharma 2 years ago

Death Note: The Positive Effects of Kira's Global Genocide

Explore the ways in which Light Yagami’s plan for the human race was effective. With the sheer number of criminals dying, what were some of the positive changes that the world saw? In what way could these changes have been sustained if Light was able to maintain sanity through the transition? Find the good in Yagami’s fall from grace.

  • I believe the title Deathnote is generally written as "Death Note." Otherwise great topic (though possibly controversial) about a great show! – Connor Gregorich-Trevor 6 years ago
  • I think the show was pretty clear about how Kira's work created change. Known criminals were removed and future criminals deterred but in the long run it was doing all this through fear. There will always be bad people and with Kira's influence around they would just learn to be smarter about their actions: do crime in secret and not get televised. I think the real question is, would this world have been sustainable? Would it just create worse "villains"? I personally wonder whether Light would have started adding bias to his selections (politicians etc.) and how that would be received by the populace? – Slaidey 6 years ago
  • It was pretty clear that Light was not entirely sane from the beginning, the very first episode of the anime has him declaring himself God. There might be something to be said about the benefits of Light's approach, but that's a very subjective topic. – BoomBap 6 years ago
  • If you want to argue in favour of Light's plan, it might be worth looking at real-world information on the effects of the death penalty and/or vigilantism on crime rates, since that's essentially what the Death Note was. It's one thing to argue that something was helpful in a fictional world, but drawing real-world parallels could make for a more full analysis. – ElijahBassett 6 years ago