The online blogosphere has long been familiar with posts on Japanese-style film animation “anime.” For writers like Hannah Vickers, however, blogs are an expression of faith and fandom.
“My first love is stories,” Vickers said. “I don’t know why, but when I was younger I wanted to sit down and watch my favorite TV shows so I could then write analysis articles on them. Then, when I was a junior in high school, a friend showed me ‘Sword Art Online,’ and I thought, ‘This is amazing.’”
Out of this initial exposure to the film style, Vickers began watching what presented itself to her. She combined her interests and began writing analysis articles on anime.
“First I watched everything on Netflix,” Vickers said. “Then I thought, ‘I’m a Christian. Am I allowed to watch anime? Can Christians watch anime?’ So I did a Google search: ‘can Christians watch anime?’ What came up was a blog called Beneath the Tangles.”
The Beneath the Tangles blog is written by a group of Christians. In their posts, not only did Vickers find that Christians are allowed (even encouraged) to watch anime, but there are Christian themes in anime.
“This was a breakthrough!” Vickers said. “I transferred my articles from Tumblr onto a WordPress account. I started writing about anime more and more. That turned into writing about God in anime; then it turned into using anime to share the Gospel. It morphed.”
The name for Vickers’ blog also morphed. She had originally used the title Vintageinmyveins; this became Otakuinmyveins.
“Otaku is the Japanese word for nerd or geek,” Vickers said.
Vickers developed an appetite for anime that fed itself at a pace of about twenty four episodes per week. As she read blogs for anime suggestions, a certain writer’s posts began to stand out to her.
“One of the writers on Beneath The Tangles was a lady whom I admired,” Vickers said. “I thought she was a wonderful writer—a very smart person. I was looking for a college and so I asked her ‘Where do you go to college?'”
Said writer happened to be Alexis Miller, Creative Writing major, graduating class of Corban ’16.
“Usually, I keep that confidential, as I blog under a pseudonym,” Miller said, “but I decided it was fine to make an exception. It turns out that she was looking at schools in Oregon and somehow hadn’t heard about Corban until I told her. I happily answered her questions about Corban, including those about the Christian culture on campus and, almost as important, the status of geekdom on campus.”
This referral from a fellow aniblogger was influential to Vickers’ school choice, as was the University’s mission statement.
“I found that Corban had a media arts major, and I thought of how it could really propel me in the direction I wanted to go.”
Now, as a freshman media arts major, Vickers has found her blogging augmented by Corban.
“My Bible classes give me a new spin on my faith,” Vickers said, “and that gives me more material to work with when I’m analyzing anime. I’ll learn about a new concept in a class, and then I’ll go watch an anime—looking for that concept. Corban broadens my worldview, which gives me the ability to broaden what I talk about.”
Vickers hopes to continue her blogging as a way to share the gospel through Christian themes identified in anime.
“If we believe that God created everything in the world, then everything reflects God in some way or another,” Vickers said. “When we create art, we’re reflecting God’s story (whether we know it or not).”