Opinion

Salvation in Anime with Some Religious Insights

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Published on January 6, 2021

So Anime antagonists have made a move. But according to them it’s not anything evil. It’s way beyond the concept of good and evil. They say it’s the next phase of humanity when we’ve conquered life and death. It’s our Salvation.

anime religion

But many of these salvation in anime I’ve witnessed, they follow some patterns. Like I already said one of them: conquering life and death. And it’s pretty relatable since all our advancement seem to be useless in front of mysteries of life and escaping the inevitability of death. And the day we conquer them, the humanity will surely enter the whole new phase. Or maybe it will turn out to be our salvation.

That’s one thing but observing these salvation patterns with some religious insights in mind can be something pretty interesting. Observing the Salvation in anime with those insights which are most probably the source of those salvations and to witness those beliefs with the amazing visualization by this media takes us deep into both of them.

So the religion whose insights I will be entailing in this article will be Hinduism. The reason for that would be I don’t have that much understanding of other religions as much as Hinduism. But no need to worry because the ideologies of many other religions are same to that of Hinduism. Just some terminologies will change but the rest of the things will be pretty much same. Some also inherit the derived ideologies and beliefs of Hinduism.

But I won’t be discussing all of the Hinduism and the 330 million gods and goddesses. That would be a bit tough job and it will make this article a little bit lengthy. It’s another matter that I’m not capable of that but we’re already drifting away from ‘Salvation in Anime’. See? So I’ll explain the core belief as fast as I can so that we don’t drift away from the other side too much. So, Hinduism believes in one universal soul which is called Brahman which is the source of all reality.

The reality in which we exist is just like some droplets repelling out of the ocean, universal soul, Brahman. And the goal of a Hindu’s life is to find its way back to the Brahman. Journey from the “unreal” to the “real”. If that soul manages to do that then it will be free from the cycle of death and rebirth. Wow, it seems like we ended up on the same point where we started, discussing about conquering life and death. But Hinduism doesn’t talk about exactly conquering them. It talks about being free from it. And that is salvation.

anime Salvation

As I already said these ideologies can be similar to that of many other religions and a lot of anime have taken reference of that. And by a lot, I mean a lot. You can take example of Evangelion’s Chamber of Guf or also known as Door of Guf, taken from Jewish mysticism. It’s described as the door of world’s beginning and the end. Or also Akasha of Fate series, the location of the Akashic Records which is the source of all events and phenomena in the universe. It stores and archives information of all events and possibilities, past, present and future of the world existing outside of time. They carry striking similarities to Brahman of Hinduism which is source of all reality and where souls return for salvation.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
(Chamber of Guf, Neon Genesis Evangelion)

 

Akasha
(Akasha, Nasuverse)

The antagonists trigger certain event for the salvation that aims to lead us to the place that is the source and the universal destination for salvation. For Example, Third Impact in Neon Genesis Evangelion and Third Magic, Heaven’s feel used by Amakusa Shirou in Fate/Apocrypha. Though, the Heaven’s feel work in the franchise is not exactly identical to that of third impact but the way Amakusa Shirou uses it in Fate/Apocrypha for the materialization of souls and the salvation by freeing us from the physical body can be seen similar to third impact from Evangelion. Similarly to trigger the Third Impact, Human Instrumentality, everyone was turned into LCL and every human soul is collected within the Black Moon and returned to the Chamber of Guf where the collected souls are merged into single life form. In both events, we’re just transformed as the collection of consciousness.

Third Impact from Neon Genesis Evangelion
(Third Impact from Neon Genesis Evangelion)

But is it really as good as it sounds? It’s not like it won’t have it’s own side-effects. Like, we’re able to love because we have to die at one moment and that moment can arrive at any time. If we’re immortal then we won’t be able to do many things that mortal can do like feel, love etc. This philosophy is roaming around as well so maybe that’s why livings are freed from the physical body for salvation in these events and other anime events of salvation too. Like you’ll have to sacrifice your ‘living’ to conquer ‘death’.

Fate/Apocrypha
(Holy Grail in Fate/Apocrypha)

But these events are eventually halted or reversed by the protagonist for some reasons that cannot be negated as well. Shinji Ikari reversed the Human Instrumentality because he thought it was just one collective unit and was a lonely form of existence. Seig transported the grail to reverse side of the world so that it had no effect on humanity because he believed that it was too early for the humanity for that. Well it’s also true that any individual should not decide the fate of the whole humanity.

Seig transporting the Grail to the Reverse Side
(Seig transporting the Grail to the Reverse Side)
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