Saturday, December 3, 2011
“Where Hope Begins” – My Last Day (anime) – 2/10 Snowballs
Going to church no more makes you a Christian than standing in a garage makes you a car. ~Garrison Keillor
Review Status: Complete (1 Episode/1 Episode)
Licensed: Yes, this is licensed in the US. It can be viewed legally on Youtube and other sites.
Art: This looks really good, with a great color palate and very lovely animation. Too bad it’s wasted on this.
Summary: The story of Jesus’ last day, as told through the eyes of one of the men he was crucified with.
Review: As I can tell you from my previous experience with the anime Steamboy, great visuals cannot translate into a good story. This anime is similarly troubled, with good visuals and a short runtime working for it, but everything else working strongly against it.
The biggest issue is that this adds absolutely nothing to the story. If you’re familiar with it, then there’s nothing in here that will give you insight or add a new dimension to Jesus’ death. Jesus is tortured, criminals and Jesus are crucified, Jesus and criminal go to heaven. The only way this might touch you is if you are familiar with the entire story that’s behind what’s happening, why this is such a big deal and what the implications of the storm and the cross and the burdens are- which are most definitely not told in this short.
So who exactly is this anime for? People who don’t know about Christianity? If the aim is conversion, then this is going to miss the mark completely, with the message “Believe in Jesus, because He is life insurance”. The only reason you should become a Christian is to go to heaven. Period. The only thing one should do to be Christian is to believe in Jesus. There’s nothing more to it, which, considering how big the Bible is with stuff that is not about Jesus’ death, seems to be missing the bigger point about being Christian- that you should also try to live like Jesus.
Part of the reason it suffers from such a shallow message is the way it chooses to tell the story. It chooses to dwell on Jesus’ suffering, all the blood and bruises and whatnot that He went through when He was tortured. It does not go into the ‘why’ of it at any point. When there is nothing meaningful to supplement the sight of people being whipped, beaten, and stabbed, then I call it as I see it- torture porn. If I wanted to watch torture porn, I would watch Hostel, where the violence is just as meaningless as presented here. Or even Passion of the Christ, which is just as soulless with the same material.
Having a non-traditional view of Christ’s death is an interesting, fresh idea that’s completely wasted. The only thing that comes from it is that you see what the criminal was convicted of in flashback. There’s no insight as to why he chooses to believe in Jesus or is moved by His suffering, nothing that would give theological meat to this bare-bones story. It almost hurts to know how much potential this had beyond the obvious message at the end.
Overall, this fails on every level to be a good representation of Christianity and is one of the worst choices in Christian entertainment you could make.
Recommended: Not unless you’re a Jesus completionist and must read and see everything about his life ever made. Other than that, 16+ due to the violence.
Other titles you might enjoy:
Blankets (graphic novel)
Jesus (movie- live action)
Jesus Christ: Superstar (movie- live action)