A Spiritual Observation of an Anime · Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

A Spiritual Observation of Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World

In the past few months, I’ve consumed more anime than ever before, and I’m proud of it! Since winter, I have got into the habit of watching currently running anime; and let me just say, the experience has been thrilling! As you’ve heard, in many ‘a posts, Erased was the main contributor to the start of all this, but since the show’s ending and the spring season’s beginning, I have found quite a bit of enjoyment in the following series: Mayoiga (otherwise known as The Lost Village), Flying Witch, and perhaps most importantly, Re:Zero -Starting Life in Another World.

The show is a mix between horror and fantasy, and to put it simply, I quite like that about it. It’s compelling, and has that medieval-guild-kind-of-feel to it and it’s what you wished Sword Art Online would be, only better. Anyhow, going through the latest episode of Re:Zero has revealed to me a bit about the Christian faith, so it’s time for another Spiritual Observation of an Anime!

In Episode Six we hear the story of the The Red Ogre and the Blue Ogre, a story I’d heard in Ore Monogatari!!, but have only just come to realize is a legitimate Modern Japanese Folktale.

For those of you who don’t know, the story goes something like this: Once upon a time, there lived a red ogre and a blue ogre. The red ogre wanted to befriend the people of the village his home overlooked, but the people were frightened of him. One day when conveying this to his friend, the blue ogre came up with a plan. He said, “Why I go down to the village and stir up a ruckus? Then you come down and save the villagers from me and they’ll have no choice but to treat you with the upmost honor and respect.” The red ogre liked this plan very much, and as soon as they could, the two ogres went through with it. Well, it worked splendidly, just as the blue ogre had predicted, and from then on the red ogre spent his days in delight, befriending villager after villager. But after a while, the red ogre began to miss the blue ogre, so he went up unto the mountain where they used to live. What he found there was not his friend, but rather a letter written by his friend saying that he had packed up and left because if the secret friendship between the “good ogre” and the “bad ogre” were discovered, the villagers would never trust the red ogre again, and he would loose all he had gained with them. As the story goes, the red ogre was broken-hearted, but never was he to see his friend, the blue ogre, again.

As I was reminded of this story, something struck me. It was the self-sacrificing attitude of the blue ogre towards his friend, the red ogre.

He had foresight on what would happen, not only with the villager’s acceptance of hero, but also with their rejection of a villain. Despite this, the blue ogre still saw his friend through accomplishing his goals. Because of this, in many ways, the blue ogre reminds me much of a Christ-figure. The blue ogre put his life on the line for the well-being of his friend, just like Jesus did in dying on the cross for us. Additionally, the blue ogre sacrificed his own reputation to perfect that of his friend’s, just like Jesus’ blood does for our sins.

Towards the end of the episode, Ram (the pink-haired twin maid) tells Subaru her thoughts on the story –that she thinks the whole thing is foolish and both of the characters made terrible decisions.

Her view towards the story reminds me of the view of many towards Christianity. She can’t understand why the red ogre would give up what he had just to gain so little (a subtle illustration of our sin and perhaps a tie to the Prodigal’s Son). Neither can she comprehend the blue ogre’s self-sacrifice and why he did what he did even though he knew what was going to happen (a picture of the Father’s love and how He lets us go so that we may find our way back to Him).

To those who haven’t experienced the love of the blue ogre themselves, the story can be very confusing.

Two individuals gave up all they had and received nothing in the end; how is that a conclusion people would want to hear? But that’s the beautiful thing about the story, dear friends. The blue ogre didn’t need anything in the end, and the red ogre did. The blue ogre was happy to let his friend have what he wanted and the red ogre came to realize all he wanted was the one who gave him everything; isn’t the blue ogre the kind of friend you would want?

Well, as the scene concludes, Ram asks Subaru much the same thing: Which of the two ogres would you rather be friends with?

Subaru, who perhaps understands the story better than most of us do, chooses both ogres, illustrating both the love of Christ and a love for Christ. He chooses the red ogre, because like the blue ogre, Subaru has a Christ-like love for the ungrateful. On the other hand, Subaru chooses the blue ogre, because like the red ogre, he realizes a need for such compassion in the real world.
Ram doesn’t get Subaru’s answer, and many won’t, but as you continue about your daily life, I challenge each and every one of you to ask yourself –really ask yourself– which ogre you’d rather be friend’s with. And for your sake, I hope your answer is much like Subaru’s –a living example of Christ that realizes a need for Christ. And really, that’s all there is to it.

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