This panel is run by The Anime Academy. They also ran the panel about Anime and Video Games into Movies panel that I attended the last part of.
The first show they talk about is Oh My Goddess. They start out by giving a quick synopsis of the show. I actually watched this a few months ago on Hulu and enjoyed it. The brief summary of the show is that the main character, Keiichi accidentally calls the Goddess Hotline and eventually gets a hold of Belldandy and his one wish is for her to stay with him forever. Eventually Belldandy’s two sisters Skuld and Urd end up coming to live with Keiichi. Their main commentary is that the devil is so hot that it seems less wrong to worship the devil. Skuld is the daughter of the devil and God and is half goddess half demon.
Next up is Tales of Symphonia. There are two worlds. In one world there is a girl that is supposed to become an angel to make their world prosperous again. Eventually you find out that you’re not regenerating the world but reversing the mana flow. You also find out the goddess is actually a guy and he’s trying to make the girl into a vessel for his dead sister.
Tales of the Abyss. The main character is being driven by the sentience of sound. Lorelai is the church of sound. There’s a stone that can predict things and eventually the religion causes the world to slowly decay from people overusing the stone. The church then uses it to start creating acts of destruction and one of the main characters thinks the only way to free the people is to destroy the world and recreate it with clones.
In Final Fantasy X there’s a villain called Sin which the panelists call a “devil whale.” Every summoner defeats Sin and then Sin keeps coming back. The game gets really convoluted.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt is up next. It’s a recent show with the two main characters as angels whose namesake items turn into demon slaying weapons. This is most definitely not a kid’s show and would not be suggested for anyone under the age of 18. The reason they’re doing all this is that they got kicked out of heaven and are working their way back into heaven by collecting heaven coins. Panty’s side quest is to sleep with as many men as she can while Stocking eats a lot of sweets. Their demon counterparts are Scanty and Kneesocks and have similar powers of transformation. Each episode is a parody of something American like parodies of Michael Bay Transformers and 90s Transformers. There’s also an episode where characters get turned into South Park characters. The show has influences from South Park, Drawn Together, and Powerpuff Girls.
The next show is X 1999. It’s a CLAMP series and is incredibly violent. At the last scene of the movie one character cuddles a severed head in heaven. The story is about the dragons of heaven want to protect the Earth while the dragons of Earth want to destroy and reset everything. The main character’s best friend ends up being the leader of the opposing side. There are some strong Judeo-Christian themes in the show.
Black Butler – technically this is not a church but just a show being crazy. The antagonist is an angel who wants to wipe everyone’s memory to cleanse the world.
Next up is Nuns with Guns which only gets a brief nod.
Trinity Blood is another show I watched on Hulu. The panelists call it Trigun with vampires. The only two factions are vampires and Catholics. The pope is a 14 year old who does not really have much power. The character designs for many of the characters have very ornate outfits with large hats.
Next is Hellsing. It’s one of my favorite mangas and I read it right after the original anime came out (which was terrible). Alexander Anderson is a priest who is obsessed with killing Alucard the main vampire (Dracula spelled backwards).
Dogs – Bullets and Carnage is another show I need to read/watch at some point. One of the characters is a blind priest who is a “lolicon” (likes little girls) while another character cannot touch girls.
Then they touch on Chrono Crusade where Rosetta joins the church just to use their guns and uses their resources.
Next is Trigun and they talk about Nicholas D. Wolfwood. The Wolfwood in the manga is different from the one in the anime. Wolfwood is a traveling priest and he carries a cross that is actually a giant weapon.
They then talk about Inuyasha and discuss Miroku who is a priest. He’s lecherous and is also a swindler. “He was Brock before Brock was Brock.” Kikyo is then shown but they’re running short on time so they’re rushing through.
The next show is the “Church of DBZ.” They do a quick rundown of Kami, Piccolo, Dende, Grand Kai, Supreme Kai North, West, South, East, and Supreme Kai, Old Kai, etc.
The last show is the “Church of Bleach” where they run out of time but were going to do a reaper showdown including Ichigo, Grell, Botan, Ryuuk, and a few others.
I was a bit disappointed with the panel. I expected more of an analysis of religion in anime but a lot of the time was spent just going through various shows and giving a brief synopsis of each one and then just talking about the show. There wasn’t much discussion aside from the occasional mention of some religious elements. The initial synopsis of the panel seemed really interesting but it was more of a introduction to a various shows that contain characters who are part of the church or there are some religious themes in them. It’s just my personal opinion since a lot of audience members around me really liked the panel though.