Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: An Examination of Clergy in Anime

As we’ve pointed out here several times, anime has a hard time portraying Western religion, and it can range from incorrect to just plain weird. For this week, I’m going to talk about two specific clergymen in anime that exemplify the concept that trusting the clergy is not the best idea.

Spoilers for Soul Eater and D. Gray Man ahead.

Our first subject is Justin Law from Soul Eater. Justin Law is one of Lord Death’s weapons. Justin is dressed like your typical clergyman, except everything is Lord Death themed. Now, if you’ve only watched the anime, you are going to be confused from this point on and you should probably stop reading right now. In the manga, Justin Law turns out to be a traitor and defects to Asura. When that happens, all of Justin’s Lord Death-themed attire turns Asura themed. Usually, I wouldn’t think much of a character defecting to the bad guys’ side. Thinking about it, it happens in almost every anime at one point or another. But I think there is something to be said when the only blatant traitor turns out to be the guy dressed as a priest. When it could have been anyone, having the priest switch sides makes it seem like they are not to be trusted.

And when you pair Justin Law with Apocryphos from D.Gray-Man, we have a theme of betrayal. Oh sure, he looks like a really nice guy in the photo to the left, but not so much when he shows his true form, aka that creepy looking guy to the right. Right now, Apocryphos is trying to hunt down and absorb Allen Walker. At first he appeared as the guy on the left, reassuring Allen that he wouldn’t be executed. Then, he turned around and said “let me absorb you”. Why?  I honestly have no idea. I think it’s something to do with protecting the heart of innocence, which is Apocryphos’ job. But let’s be real here: would you trust the guy on the right? I’m personally scared of him. If you think he’s trustworthy, go knock yourself out and be his BFF. I’ll let you do it.

I’m sure there are a gazillion more examples of clergyman acting like crazy people and therefore being people you can’t trust, but those were the two most prominent people I could think of who embodied the point that I was trying to make: don’t trust the clergy because they will betray you.

D. Gray-Man: What is this? I don’t even…

So D. Gray-Man got reviewed a while back in Manga Mondays, but not by me. I’ve followed the series for a while now. I’ve watched the anime and read the manga online. But after this month’s chapter, I need to share my feels.

What on earth is going on?!

That feel started during the Kanda backstory arc where the drawing style changed dramatically for no good reason and I couldn’t tell who was who for the life of me. It stopped during that random flashback where Cross was there because the art style switched back to normal. It made me happy to have my favorite promiscuous gentleman back in the manga correctly drawn.

Then Link came back, which made me even happier. I have a strange love for the Link who helps Allen and is cool and awesome, not the Link who enjoys being a slave. So imagine my discontent when Link has realized that he is the slaviest slave that ever slaved and is (seemingly) totally cool with it. I am not cool with it! Stop being so silly, Link! It’s unbecoming!

And then this month’s chapter happened with a random lady, some kid in a tree, and some other kid under the lady’s skirt… da hell is this? And then something happens to Johnny. I love Johny. If you don’t love Johny, then you are reading this series wrong! Also, now the drawing style is a combination of the original style and the new creepy one. So that means I think I know who people are, but I’m not sure.

But I think a lot of things are easily fixable. Here is my list:

  • Bring Cross back. We know he’s not dead.
  • More Komui and more Lavi. These two were the comedians of the series and they haven’t had any major presence in who knows how long.
  • Give us at the beginning of the next chapter a one-page summary of what is going on/what has been happening. Because I don’t know. I’m not sure anyone else knows either.
  • Johnny is not dead.
  • Go back to the old art style completely. I’m sure I’m not alone in hating that new random ass style and the conglomerate of the old and new style.