Anime, Philosophy and Religion

Kaz Hayashi, William H. U. Anderson (Eds.)

by Devon P. Levesque (Queen’s University), William H. U. Anderson (Concordia University of Edmonton in Alberta), Michelle Chan (Hong Kong Shue Yan University, China), Tara Etherington (University of Toronto), Steven Foertsch (Baylor University), Kaz Hayashi (Bethel University), Graham Lee , Martin Lepage , Alberto Oya (Instituto de Filosofia da Nova, Portugal), Amar Ramesh Wayal (VIT-AP University), Drew Richardson (University of California Santa Cruz), Anik Sarkar (Salesian College, India), Christopher Smith (University of Florida), Issei Takehara , D. Y. Turner (Queen’s University), Barışkan Ünal , Anupama A. P. (VIT-AP University)

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“Anime, Philosophy and Religion” is an eclectic collection of essays, well-written and informative. Some of these break new ground, while others helpfully add to the discourse. Chan's chapter on “Promised Neverland” and Smith's chapter on “Hoseki No Kuni” are especially notable.

Adam Barkman
Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University and editor of ‘Manga and Philosophy’

Can words bring a magical effect the way a visual experience can? Yes, this compilation of essays by Hayashi and Anderson on “Anime, Philosophy and Religion” has brought a visual treat—whether it is of Jesus, Buddha or Tengu. This collection of essays deals—not only with anime and the anime subculture—but also with subjects such as tradition, gender and romance. The discussion on varied themes deepens the reader’s comprehension and experience of fantasy and reality. It is like the dramatic sojourn that takes the reader to another world with its wings of aesthetic pleasure and spiritual enlightenment. It is highly recommended as a “Never Miss A Reading”.

Prof. Dr. C. Shanmuga Priya
Head Department of English and Foreign Languages
SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Tiruchirappalli, India

Anime is exploding on the worldwide stage! Anime has been a staple in Japan for decades, strongly connected to manga. So why has anime become a worldwide sensation? A cursory explanation is the explosion of online streaming services specializing in anime, like Funimation and Crunchyroll. Even more general streaming services like Netflix and Amazon have gotten in on the game.
Anime is exotic to Western eyes and culture. That is one of the reasons anime has gained worldwide popularity. This strange aesthetic draws the audience in only to find it is deeper and more sophisticated than its surface appearance. Japan is an honor and shame culture. Anime provides a platform to discuss “universal” problems facing human beings. It does so in an amazing variety of ways and subgenres, and often with a sense of humor. The themes, characters, stories, plotlines, and development are often complex. This makes anime a deep well of philosophical, metaphysical, and religious ideas for analysis.
International scholars are represented in this book. There is a diversity of perspectives on a diversity of anime, themes, content, and analysis. It hopes to delve deeper into the complex world of anime and demonstrate why it deserves the respect of scholars and the public alike.

List of Contributors

William H. U. Anderson
Concordia University of Edmonton

Chapter 1 History of Anime: Periods, Genres and Industry
Barışkan Ünal
Journalist and Independent Researcher

Chapter 2 Spatial Trialectics and Indian Spiritual Philosophy in Tezuka’s Buddha and Morishita’s Buddha: The Great Departure
A. P. Anupama
VIT-AP University
Amar Ramesh Wayal
VIT-AP University

Chapter 3 Metamodernity, American Transcendentalism and Transhumanism in Japanese Anime
Steven Foertsch
Baylor University

Chapter 4 (Re)Making the Monsters of Everyday Life: Minzokugaku and Yuki Urushibara’s Mushishi
Drew Richardson
University of California Santa Cruz

Chapter 5 The Refashioned Tengu: Tradition and Contemporary Romance in Black Bird
Tara Etherington
University of Toronto

Chapter 6 Where is the Real Me? Encountering Transhumanism and Cybernetic Divinity in Serial Experiments Lain
Anik Sarkar
Salesian College Siliguri

Chapter 7 Philosophy, Soul, Politics and Power in Dragon Ball Z
Issei Takehara
Independent Researcher

Chapter 8 The Avatar Aminated Series: A Queer Reading of Embodied Power
Martin Lepage
Independent Researcher

Chapter 9 The Pokédex, Knowledge Production and the Technocratic Colonial Project in Pokémon
Devon P. Levesque and D. Y. Turner
Queen’s University

Chapter 10 The Promised Neverland: Exploitation of the Religious “Others”
Michelle Chan
Hong Kong Shue Yan University

Chapter 11 Machines to Pray for Us: The Mechanization of Religious Labor in Ichikawa Haruko’s Hōseki no Kuni
Christopher Smith
University of Florida

Chapter 12 Dragon Ball: Love and Renewed Life
Alberto Oya
Instituto de Filosofia da Nova

Chapter 13 Isekai Typological Themes and Jesus Parallels
Graham Lee
Independent Researcher


Kaz Hayashi did his Ph.D. in Old Testament at Baylor University. He is an Associate Professor of Old Testament at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA. He has a passion for biblical archaeology and historiography and has been on several digs in Israel. Kaz was born and raised in Japan and has a passion for anime.

William H. U. Anderson did his Ph.D. in Biblical Studies and Theology in Postmodern Literary Critical Circles at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Bill is Professor of Pop Culture, Philosophy and Religion at Concordia University of Edmonton in Canada. He is the author of 'Qoheleth and Its Pessimistic Theology: Hermeneutical Struggles in Wisdom Literature' (1997) and 'Scepticism and Ironic Correlations in the Joy Statements of Qoheleth?' (2010). Bill has worked interdisciplinarily throughout his academic career, and this is his fifth edited volume with Vernon Press in the Philosophy of Religion Series.

Anime, Anime Industry, Cinema, Film, Genre, History, Isekai, Japan, Japanese Animation, Mecha, Miyazaki, Periods, Tezuka, Toei, TV Series, Sh?jo, Sh?nen, Studio Ghibli, Buddhism, Physical Space, Social Space, Spiritualism, Third Space, American Transcendentalism, Ergo Proxy, Hegemony, Metamodernity, Meta-Subjectivity, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Psycho-Pass, Serial Experiments Lain, Sword Art Online, Transcendentalism, Transhumanism, Folklore, Japanese Native Ethnography, Minakata Kumagusu, Monsters, Yanagita Kunio, Yokai Minzokugaku, Tengu, Shinto, Gender, Hybridity, Japan, Manga, Refashioning, Romance Fiction, Bish?nen, Divinity, Identity, Integration, Posthuman, Singularity, Compatibilism, Determinism, Dragon Ball Z, Ethics, History, International Affairs, Philosophy, Politics, Airbender, Avatar, Cartoons, Gender, Normativity, Power, Queer, Television, Tradition, Colonialism, Friendship, Knowledge Production, Pokédex, Pokémon, Technology, Cannibalism, Exophagy, Japanese Studies, Promised Neverland, Religions, Secularized Religions, Aging Society, Artificial Intelligence, Hybridity, Population Decline, Robots, Agape-Charis, Dragon Ball, Love, Piccolo, Son Gohan, Son Goku, Vegeta, Worthy Opponent, Fantasy, Genre, Isomorphic, Jesus, Subgenre, Typology

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Anime, Philosophy and Religion





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm

Publication date
September 2023